Wild Ginger | Asarum caudatum

Family: Aristolochiaceae

Parts Used: Leaf & Root

Appearance: The wild ginger has large green heart-shaped leaves that arise directly from creeping rootstocks. It is a low growing and sprawling plant that can be found interspersed between tree trunks, moss and deadfall. The roots are grey-brown and not much ticker than the petioles. The leaves are dark bright green, often velvety, and smell like ginger when crushed. The plant blooms in mid-spring, forming little 3-petaled flowers, which are mauve to brown and carry long tails. They grow at ground level and are often hard to locate within the brown mulch of the forest floor. Wild ginger loves to grow in deep, dark ravines along the coast of old-growth forests (so it might be hard to find!).

Photo by PiPi

Photo by PiPi

Harvesting Methods: Gather the leaves and dry loosely in a brown paper bag. The roots should be cut or twisted in bundles 3-4 inches long and also dried loosely in a brown paper bag. Break the roots up only when you are going to use them. The dried leaves should last up to a year (make sure they still have a spicy ginger scent) and the roots can be stored whole for several years.

Medicinal Uses: Wild ginger is a very warming plant, so prepare to sweat while you're enjoying its spicy flavour. This plants help to open the pores and promote fluid flow, making it ideal for a slow-onset, clotted and crampy menses. It will also initiate secretions during hot and dry head colds and bronchial problems.

Preparation: Visit the 'Medicine Making' page for more details

  • Make a tea out of the fresh or dried leaves and drink 1 cup up to 3x/day

  • Make a tincture out of the roots, if fresh use a 1:2 ratio and if dry use a 1:5 ratio in 60% alcohol, taking 20-50 drops up to 3x/day.

  • Drink the leaf tea hot or use the tincture in hot water to help promote its heat generating effects

Cautions: Consult your healthcare provider to ensure wild ginger is safe for you.