Everyone knows the spice ginger. It’s a staple for holiday cookies such as gingerbread and is also a common ingredient in Asian cuisine. Ginger is also popular to drink as a tea. But, did you know that ginger is also a traditional medicine? You may think you’re just enjoying a pleasantly spicy, sweet beverage, but ginger tea may revolutionize your health for the better. In this post, you’ll learn all about the many ginger tea benefits that can transform your body.
If you’re ready to learn all about ginger, what it is, the many ginger tea benefits, how to prepare your very own delicious ginger tea and what you should be careful about, then this is the article for you. We’ve carefully researched ginger and put together a review of everything you need to know about ginger tea and adding it to your diet so that you, too, can enjoy the advantages of this ancient medicinal plant.
What is Ginger?
Ginger is a spicy, pungent rhizome from Asia. It has been used for thousands of years in China as a medicinal plant. The plant itself grows in a group of many stems with ribbed leaves and white or yellow flowers. Ginger grows in tropical climates and has now been cultivated outside of Asia in Africa and Central and South America. (1) The ginger root contains oils that have been linked to many medicinal purposes now recognized by modern scientists, doctors and researchers. The active components in ginger include gingerols and shogaols. Through these potent substances, ginger can change your health dramatically for the better.
14 Ginger Tea Benefits Proven by Science
There are many ways to take ginger, but one of the most pleasant ways is in tea. You can also take ginger supplements or make use of extracts, essential oils or consume fresh ginger on its own. Powdered ginger is probably what you know best, as you’ll find yourself sprinkling it into curries and baking it up into your pumpkin pies. However, a nice mug of ginger tea is one way to make sure you’re getting your daily intake of this powerful rhizome while also turning it into a comforting routine.
What are some of ginger tea’s benefits? Ginger has intrigued scientists and researchers due to the many uses it has in ancient medicinal traditions. Today, the medical community is finally uncovering just some of the many things that ginger can do. Read on to learn 14 scientifically backed benefits of ginger tea:
- Treats Nausea
One of the most common uses of ginger is for treating nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women. Ginger is often recommended for treating morning sickness because the spice doesn’t have many adverse side effects and is safe to take during pregnancy. Another ginger tea benefit may be for chemotherapy patients who also experience nausea. Studies suggest that ginger is effective for this use. Believe it or not, ginger has been found to be as effective as Dramamine and Gravol for treating sea sickness. So, if you’re heading out for a cruise or planning a road trip, pack a thermos full of ginger tea and you’ll be sure to enjoy a puke-free trip.
- Alleviates Muscle Pain
Head out to your workouts, even twice a day, with no fear of muscle pain. Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory properties which may help reduce muscle pain over time. The rhizome also has analgesic properties or acts as a painkiller. Although you may not feel immediate relief, ginger can help reduce muscle pain that progresses day to day by reducing pain felt from one day to the next. For the best results, take ginger regularly. (2,3) This means you should make ginger tea part of your regular routine. Over time your body’s aches and pains will be reduced and you’ll enjoy greater freedom of movement, even if you keep up with a strict exercise regimen.
- Strong Anti-inflammatory
Inflammation is associated with many illnesses including arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and others. The immune system attacks or keeps working to protect us from infection where it doesn’t exist, which causes the body damage to its own tissues. Some foods may promote greater inflammation, such as saturated and trans fats, corn and soybean oil, sugars, red meat, dairy and refined carbohydrates. Other foods and spices including ginger, can help reduce inflammation. (4)
In patients with osteoarthritis, which is a condition associated with inflammation, one study showed reduced pain in patients who took ginger with only mild side effects. This could be related to ginger’s combined anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Ginger also accounted for a 30% reduction in pain for patients with osteoarthritis when compared to control groups.
So, not only does ginger improve your health overall by mitigating the effects of inflammation, it can also be a game-changer in terms of quality of life for people living with arthritis. That’s a compelling argument for taking ginger tea daily!
- Could Lower Blood Sugar
Ginger could be an important natural medicine for improving diabetes or pre-diabetes because it’s been shown to lower blood sugar. In one study, ginger impressively reduced fasting blood sugar by 12%! In this case, ginger supplements were used, however it’s possible that ginger tea benefits individuals in a similar way. Not only can controlling blood sugar help people at risk for or already living with diabetes, but may also help you lose weight. Insulin resistance has been a weight loss concern cited by numerous experts and many diets including the GOLO diet, apple-cider vinegar diet, among others. Getting blood sugar under control can help reduce insulin resistance and the negative health affects with which it’s associated, including being overweight. Add a cup (or 3) of ginger tea to your daily routine and see what a difference it can make in your weight loss journey!
- Reduces Risk for Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading causes of death for both men and women in the United States. That means reducing your risk of heart disease should be a priority. Ginger has been proven to reduce levels of important elements in the body which are risk factors for heart disease. One case showed that ApoB and ApoA-I ratios were reduced by 28% through ginger consumption. Oxidized lipoproteins were also reduced by 23% (5). Another study which looked at the effects of ginger oil on reducing cholesterol levels, a major factor in heart disease. These impressive results show that ginger could be a powerful weapon against heart disease.
- Lowers Risk of Stroke
A stroke is a blood clot that prevents blood from flowing to the brain. The effects of a stroke can be deadly. But, ginger helps us out yet again. Ginger lowers the risk of blood clots associated with both heart attacks and strokes. How? Ginger is a natural blood thinner. The rhizome contains salicylate which is known for its ability to prevent blood clots in a way similar to aspirin, which contains acetyl salicylate acid. But, ginger has fewer side effects than aspirin and may be safer to take. So, don’t reach for your mini-aspirin, ask your doctor about taking ginger instead.
- Prevents and Fights Cancer
Ginger contains powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. When energy is consumed by your body’s cells, free radicals are produced, which is normal. However, excess production of these free radicals can harm the body and lead to DNA damage responsible for many chronic illnesses, including cancer. Thus, the antioxidant effects of 6-shogaol especially are helpful for reducing this damage and lowering the chances of getting cancer. These elements are also responsible for controlling various kinds of cancers. Studies have shown that ginger may even cure breast cancer and control other cancers such as colorectal, gastric, ovarian, liver, skin and prostate cancers. These impressive findings show just how powerful this common spice really is.
- Reduce Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps are no fun, and cause many women to reach for pain medications such as ibuprofen. The bloating, crampy, painful abdomen makes work and life seem impossible. However, one study showed that ginger supplements were equally effective at reducing menstrual discomforts when compared to common analgesics like ibuprofen and mefenamic acid. This natural alternative may set a new standard for women seeking pain relief. Next time you get your period, try having a pot of ginger tea instead of grabbing the bottle of ibuprofen.
- Suppresses Appetite
For those seeking easy weight loss, suppressing the appetite can be a major help. How does it work? Ginger tea benefits your weight loss goals by reducing feelings of hunger for up to 6 hours. People in the study felt fuller for longer than those taking a placebo. To use ginger tea in this way, take hot ginger tea made using about 2 grams of ginger powder just after each meal. This simple solution might give you the extra edge you need to lose weight. Combined with a healthy lifestyle, you can make progress on your road from overweight to just the right size.
- Slows Effects of Aging and Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is an illness associated with inflammation. In general, cognitive decline and aging is related to the inflammation and damage that builds up over time. Ginger can inhibit the inflammatory response that occurs in the brain (6). Furthermore, ginger may be just good for cognitive function. In one study, reaction times and working memory improved for women after taking ginger. Studies in rats show that ginger can help with recovery from brain damage and improves memory impairment. This research shows you can keep your brain as sharp as a tack by taking ginger tea.
- Fights Infections
Ginger may help fight bacterial infections by means of its active compounds including gingerols. This substance is known to help stop bacteria from growing. In one study, garlic and ginger were tested against bacteria that were resistant to drugs. This is certainly promising, since many bacteria are becoming resistant to the first-line antibiotics used by doctors. So, if you feel like you’ve gotten a bug, you may want to try ginger before heading to the doctor.
- Can Improve Digestion
Indigestion is marked by bloating and discomfort. While there are many natural remedies to help improve digestion such as lemon water and flat tummy water, another one to add to your list is ginger tea. This spicy, delicious tea benefits your stomach by helping it to empty faster after eating, studies say. Furthermore, ginger has been found to help break up and expel intestinal gas, relieving discomfort and feelings of bloating. Ginger has been used for thousands of years to improve digestion. This, on top of the scientific evidence, is proof that it works. However, ginger should be taken in moderation, as this spice, due to its strength, is also known to irritate some people’s stomachs.
- Benefits Respiratory System
The respiratory system is susceptible to infections caused by viruses and bacteria. One of the most well-known respiratory viruses is RSV. However, fresh ginger can combat this and other respiratory viruses, keeping coughs and flu-like symptoms at bay. The key element? The ginger must be fresh. Use fresh ginger root to make your tea to gain the anti-viral advantages. (7) Another study showed that ginger is quite effective against streptococcus. Strep throat anyone? If you feel that familiar tingle in your throat, before you call the doctor’s office and cross your fingers you’ll get some antibiotics prescribed, try taking some ginger tea for a few days. It may just fight off the infection and save you from an expensive doctor’s bill.
- Fights Fungus
Just like ginger fights bacterial and viral infections, this powerful rhizome also combats funguses. Ginger was a strong performer in a study of many plant extracts explored for their antifungal properties. The rhizome performed even better than many commonly prescribed anti-fungal medications, knocking out funguses that were resistant to the same medicines. In these cases, along with the tea, ginger may be applied topically together with other essential oils. Tea-tree oil is another well-known anti-fungal you can try along with ginger oil.
Are you impressed yet? This astounding list of scientifically backed evidence in support of ginger tea is quite amazing for a small rhizome. It truly earns the name super food, a status that many other spices and herbs attempt to achieve.
The bottom line on ginger tea benefits?
Whether you suffer from a chronic health condition or not, it’s in your interest to drink this tea. Scientists continue to study the components of this potent spice to discover how each of the mechanisms work and how effective it is. However, the evidence thus-far suggests that ginger offers many health advantages for both treatment and prevention of major chronic conditions and diseases that claim the lives of people every day. From cancer to Alzheimer’s, everyday infections, to pain, stomach discomforts, diabetes and heart disease, ginger has been shown to play an important role.
What’s the best news? Ginger tea is very easy to make and incorporate into your everyday routine. When you consider the wealth of benefits to be had, the small investment of your time and money is nothing.
How to Prepare Ginger Tea for Maximum Benefits
There are two basic ways to prepare a ginger beverage. You can either use powdered ginger which is sold in just about any supermarket as a spice, or you can use fresh ginger root. Either of these options are excellent for creating a delicious tea that will give many aspects of your health a boost.
Here are some tips for preparing a delicious ginger tea to enjoy at any time of day:
If desired, you can add some extras to your ginger tea such as lemon, cinnamon, turmeric, and honey or another sweetener. Some of these ingredients including turmeric, honey, and cinnamon are also known for their many health benefits, so you might get a double or triple dose of goodness if you add these in. Turmeric is great for weight loss and anti-inflammation, so if you’re using ginger for weight loss, consider pairing these two.
Variations on ginger tea include a regular iced tea/lemonade mix with a strong ginger syrup. Others enjoy a watermelon smoothie with a touch of ginger and lemon. Add lemongrass to your ginger tea mix for another pleasant flavor. Some of these combinations may sound a bit odd at first, but once you taste them, you’ll fall in love.
If you enjoy drinking ginger tea and the many health advantages it brings, you may also consider using ginger in your cooking. Ginger is used in many Asian dishes and especially in stir-fries and sushi. Make sure you search for a few recipes and add this delicious spice to your chicken, beef, seafood and vegetable stir-fries.
We suggest that you take ginger tea daily. If possible, drink 1 to 3 cups each day to enjoy the many benefits ginger tea has to offer. Add this root to your grocery list or keep the powder on hand. You can enjoy ginger tea instead of your morning coffee, or as a mid-morning break or just before bed. If you make it part of your routine, you’ll be more likely to take it regularly and thus experience more of the benefits. This tea is soothing and pleasant in taste, not to mention that it will result in drastic improvements in your health.
Remember, although you can drink ginger tea as much as you want, it’s best to be aware of adverse effects. As with any herb or supplement, there may be side effects that impact you even though ginger is typically considered safe. Before you add a lot of ginger to your diet, check through the side effects just in case.
Side Effects of Ginger
Ginger tea’s benefits make a much longer list than the adverse effects. However, nevertheless, it’s always wiser to err on the side of caution and make sure you’re aware of any side effects so that you address them as quickly as possible should they come up.
Some people report mild stomach discomfort, diarrhea and heartburn from taking ginger. This is probably due to the fact that the spice is quite potent, and if taken in excess, could result in these unpleasant effects. If you notice these side effects, lower your intake of ginger and see if the symptoms subside. (8)
Similarly, if you are considering applying ginger to the skin, it may cause irritation in some people. (8)
Take note that if you are diabetic and already taking medication, ginger may interfere with your drugs. Talk to your doctor before taking ginger because, as you’ll remember, it can lower your blood sugar. You may even be able to reduce your dosage of diabetes medicines if you take ginger. But, you should always do this under the supervision of your doctor. (8)
During pregnancy, it’s also best if you consult with your doctor about drinking ginger tea. This tea can be wonderful for curing morning sickness, but due to the sensitive and unique nature of each pregnancy, it’s important to let your doctor know beforehand. (8)
Ginger Tea Advantages are Many
Ginger tea is a powerful tool for combatting many illnesses and maintaining your good health. Whether you are suffering from arthritis or want to improve your cognitive function and prevent cancer, ginger tea can help! The scientific research has shown over and over again that ginger is a safe and effective alternative to many traditional medicines like painkillers, antibiotics and may even be an alternative treatment for cancer. So, get out to the supermarket and purchase some ginger powder or fresh ginger root today! There’s really no excuse.
Are you already drinking ginger tea? Tell us about your experiences with ginger tea in the comments section below. How often do you drink it? How has it helped you? What recipe do you use?