The early afternoon sun burned off the morning mist, giving way to a cobalt sky. The hawks, eagles, and kites flew overhead. A flock of geese made their presence known as they skimmed the tops of the old oak trees. It was the perfect warm fall day for an outdoor concert. LJ walked confidently onto the stage of the longest continuously running jazz festival in the world. The crowd of thousands expectantly quieted. After thanking the executive director for the introduction, he turned his attention to the audience with a smile, “Good afternoon. Since 1958 the Monterey Jazz Festival has been committed to keeping jazz alive. We do this through a series of activities that include our annual 3-day weekend celebration of America’s music and nurturing the next generation of jazz greats through our education programs.”

As LJ spoke, he reflected on his conversation with Annie over a month ago. “I’ve been asked to speak at the Monterey Jazz festival this year to introduce our education programs. I’m concerned about the coughing fits that seem to come out of nowhere.”

“I’ve noticed them too. I asked Rhonda for a recommendation. She says try ginger. It is an ancient herb-type plant with over 400 natural compounds, many known for their anti-inflammatory properties. It is a rich source of vitamin C, B6, folate, iron, potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus, which helps boost the immune system. Edible ginger leaves can be sauteed, stir-fried, used in soups and stews, or steeped to drink. The research appears to support ginger’s positive effects on respiratory inflammation. Many people drink ginger tea with honey and suck ginger cough drops to relieve coughing and sore throat. Hey, let’s grow a ginger plant, but make sure it’s an edible one because some varieties are for show only.”

“Edible ginger’s root stem; the rhizome has health benefits,” mused LJ. “It contains Gingerol, a bioactive compound which aids efficient digestion by assisting food’s movement through the stomach and the intestinal system.”

“Yes,” Annie said. “And because ginger influences the pace of food moving through the digestive system, it aids in alleviating bloating, gas, and constipation. Ginger is also known to ease the nausea of morning sickness due to pregnancy and the side effects of chemotherapy.”

“I want to get through the speech without coughing, so let’s create a game plan.”

Annie nodded thoughtfully, “The Farmer’s market always has fresh ginger; let’s walk over there. By the way, research shows ginger helps slow cognitive decline and boosts memory.

“Really? I could become a fan of ginger very easily. Let’s go,” said LJ.

“Okay,” agreed Annie, “My favorite ginger quote is from Jamie Le Fay,

The flower of the ginger is superb and regal, but if we focus on nurturing the ginger plant to bloom, we cannot harvest its root. Enjoying the exquisite beauty of the plant will prevent us from unlocking its true potential – the nutrients secretly stored beyond the reach of the sun.


Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.


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