Ginger Tea Benefits: 11 Reasons To Drink This Ancient Remedy
If you frequent sushi restaurants, then you’ve probably been served (pickled) ginger, a zesty plant that is provided to cleanse the palate between dishes. Many Asian recipes will call for some form of root ginger, so chances are you’ve already tried it. The ginger plant originates from China, and it stems from the Zingiberaceae family, which means that it’s similar to spices like cardamom, turmeric, and galangal. Ginger eventually made its way over to Europe, and even became a staple in the Royal household (Queen Elizabeth I reportedly made the very first gingerbread man — a holiday tradition that carried over to the U.S. as well).
Ginger is super versatile, and can be minced, chopped, shredded, crystalized, dried, candied, ground-up or juiced — and its flavor adds a peppery sweetness to any savory or sweet recipe — including tea.
Ginger tea: What is it and how is it made?
You can make your own DIY ginger tea by taking raw ginger or even ginger powder and adding it to your mug of hot water (you can also add honey or agave to sweeten and mellow things up — ginger can be strong!). That’s it! Just ginger, hot water, and sweetener if you’d like. Some will add a squeeze of lemon as well. Ginger tea is also caffeine free, which is perfect for those who are trying to cut down on all things caffeine.
You can also buy convenient ginger tea bags like Tea Drops’ Citrus Ginger dissolvable tea pods drops (they’re Chrissy Teigen’s favorite). Tea Drops gets the recipe just right, with the perfect amount of fruitiness, zest, and sweetness. Plus, you don’t need to worry about having ginger root on you at all times (yay for convenience!).
Dr. Carrie Lam, MD, FAAMFM, ABAARM tells us that “Ginger has a bold, earthy, citrus taste to it that is quite distinct. Just like any tea, you can make it taste stronger or weaker by the amount of water you add to it and how long you steep it for. The ginger nutritional benefits you get from consuming ginger or drinking it as a tea are quite remarkable.” Which leads us to...
The health benefits of ginger tea
According to Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, ginger (which is also known as sheng jiang or gan jiang in Chinese medicine) has been used as a natural remedy to treat illnesses and ailments for over 5,000 years in China and India. Ginger is the most popular spice in the world, and millions swear by its unique properties — especially during flu season. Many people use ginger as an alternative medicine to prevent colds and other sicknesses and as a way to build immunity as it is loaded with vitamin C. It’s important that when colds are going around, we’re our most healthy selves so that our bodies have the best chance possible to fight against illnesses. During critical times (when the flu is going around, or even just stress!), it’s so important that we think preventatively in terms of the food we eat. Embracing the effects of ginger is such an easy (and tasty) way to stay as healthy as possible.
Here are some health benefits of ginger tea that are science and research backed.
1. Boost your immunity
A test-tube study shows us that ginger has anti-viral properties, this specific study found proof that ginger had helped protect against the human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV), meaning it’s not a bad idea to eat some fresh ginger or drink ginger tea if you feel like you’re getting sick. Even better, it’s great to use ginger as a preventative measure, especially during flu season as it's rich in antioxidants.
2. Relieve motion sickness
Ginger isn't just a grand booster for your immune system, but some studies have shown that ginger works as an effective supplement to treat nausea, with some reports claiming ginger is more effective than over-the-counter medication (some of which incorporate ginger as an ingredient). Many people who experience motion sickness in cars, boats, or ships swear by either taking ginger supplements (in pill form) or drinking ginger tea.
Why exactly can ginger help in preventing motion sickness? According to one study, it’s hypothesized that “ginger ameliorates nausea associated with motion sickness by preventing the development of gastric dysrhythmias and the elevation of plasma vasopressin.”
3. Alleviate morning sickness
Some pregnant women with chronic morning sickness experience relief after consuming ginger, and this isn’t just a placebo effect. A recent published group of studies that were conducted from 1991 to 2009 proved that when administering 250 to 1,000 mg ginger capsules daily, the subjects reported feeling better than the subjects who took placebo capsules for the same amount of time.
Amanda Webster, a certified holistic nutritionist tells us, “I always gift a box of ginger tea to my expecting clients because, from a personal standpoint, it was my saving grace when I was pregnant.” You can find ginger tea at your grocery or health food store, or if you want something extra special, you could always gift Tea Drops’ Citrus Ginger. The ginger will make any mom-to-be feel better (and the subtle sweetness makes the tea feel like a dessert — it’s a win-win!). Plus, the packaging is super cute.
4. Powerful anti-inflammatory supplement
Some who suffer from chronic inflammation find that consuming ginger helps. Especially with those who have osteoarthritis, there have been studies that demonstrated a reduction in symptoms after consuming ginger extract. Ginger contains gingerol and shogaol which both are rich in anti-inflammatory properties and can help ease joint-pain and work as a natural remedy for pain relief.
A separate study gave people two grams of ginger supplements for 11 days to determine whether it would help the 36 patients with their muscle pain (another form of inflammation). The study proved that “daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain.” So the next time you go too hard at the gym? Brew yourself some ginger tea or toss some raw ginger in your post-workout smoothie.
5. Lower blood sugar for diabetic patients
In a 2015 study, researchers found that ginger “may have a role in alleviating the risk of some chronic complications of diabetes.” Consuming ginger was found to improve blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.
6. Alleviate period cramps
Could ginger *really* be the magical cure for period cramps (also known as dysmenorrhea)? Yes! In a 2012 study, 120 students with mild to severe menstrual cramps were split up into two groups. One was prescribed ginger (500 mg) for their pain, the other was given a placebo. The group that was given real ginger showed a “statistically significant effect on relieving intensity and duration of pain.”
7. Stop indigestion
One of the most common reasons people take ginger is to soothe an upset stomach or their chronic indigestion issues (like bloating, IBS, or simply feeling uncomfortably full). IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) can be especially frustrating since there’s no exact cause, or even rhyme or reason. There’s, unfortunately, no known cure for IBS, so those who suffer from IBS often resort to supplements or switching up their diets to alleviate symptoms. One of those supplements is ginger, which has shown to help empty stomachs faster and help reduce inflammation in the digestive system. When food sits in your stomach for longer amounts of time, it can cause discomfort. After a meal, some folks will brew a hot cup of ginger tea to help aid their digestion system and feel less full or bloated.
Those who practice Chinese medicine sometimes even fuse ginger with licorice because of their combined effect on the gastrointestinal system, according to Tsao-Lin E. Moy, L.Ac., MSOM from Integrative Healing Arts Acupuncture.
8. Improve brain function and prevent Alzheimer’s
Several studies have shown that using ginger as a supplement helps prevent cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and can even improve brain functionality of elderly folks. One study was done in 2013 and tested ginger on rats. The group that was given ginger “demonstrated that the administration of GRE [ginger root extract] reverses behavioral dysfunction and prevents AD-like symptoms.”
Another study, which was published in 2011, showed that specifically middle-aged women who took a ginger supplement demonstrated faster reaction times as well as working memory.
9. Lower cholesterol levels
In a 2008 study, 45 patients were given ginger and 40 were given placebos. After the study was completed, researchers found that the first group showed a reduction in triglyceride, cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, and very-low-density lipoprotein. Not only did the ginger help the patients in the first group, but it helped a lot. “Mean changes in triglyceride and cholesterol levels of the ginger group were significantly higher than the placebo group,” the study concluded. As high cholesterol can lead to heart disease and other cardiovascular problems, a cup of ginger tea can keep your ticker beating beautifully.
10. Fight certain types of bacteria
In a study published in 2012, researchers tested garlic and ginger extracts against five gram-negative and two-gram positive drug-resistant bacteria samples. The study found that both ginger and garlic have “effective anti-bacterial activity against multi-drug clinical pathogens and can be used for prevention of drug-resistant microbial diseases.” While more testing is needed, it definitely doesn’t hurt taking ginger as a supplement — especially if you’re sick and taking antibiotics.
Another study showed that ginger can be effective when used orally (as a mouthwash): A 2008 study found that ginger was able to kill oral pathogens. The next time you want your mouth to feel extra clean, chew on some ginger, or purchase a mouthwash with ginger as an ingredient!
11. Aides weight loss
Sipping on a cup of ginger tea can also help those who are trying to lose weight for better health and wellbeing. Ginger contains the compounds of gingerols and shogaols which are compounds that can help to stimulate digestion, cut down on inflammation, and to effectively suppress appetite.
Gingerols also have an anti-obesity effect as they encourage the body to digest at a faster rate and according to this study, ginger may also be able to help your blood sugar stabilize. The combination of these active properties means that ginger can be an effective tool for those on a weight loss journey.
This study on ginger consumption promoting feelings of fullness in overweight men showed reduced feelings of hunger were associated with ginger consumption meaning that this clever little spice can make you feel full for longer and therefore reduce the need to consume food.
Why ginger tea? Is it better for you than other forms of ginger?
Not necessarily! But some experts prefer ginger in tea form due to its warming properties especially when it comes to soothing a sore throat or when you have a cold and want to stay hydrated with a cup of something steamy. PIQUE Integrative Medicine’s Dr. Nell Smircina tells us that, “Having ginger as a tea enhances its effects since the goal is to warm and harmonize. In traditional medicine theory, cold is a pathogen and it constricts. Think about it: we always like warm and bland foods when sick to our stomachs. Ginger has that same effect. It calms everything by dispelling cold and regulating the system.”
Whether you like going to your favorite Japanese restaurant to get your ginger fix, prefer popping ginger capsules, or love to sip on some ginger tea as a home remedy, now you know that using ginger as a supplement (whichever way you want to) actually works!
Potential side effects
Ginger tea is brimming with amazing healing properties and is one of our favorite immune boosters but like with all-natural remedies, this spicy root can have potential side effects for a small number of people. Ginger isn't harmful and nor does it have any serious side effects that would cause concern. The wellness aspects of ginger seem to certainly outweigh the bad as this humble earthy root gets to work helping with blood-pressure-lowering, improving blood circulation, aiding digestion, boosting immunity, and bringing all those anti-inflammatory properties to the table.
A small number of people may experience the following potential side effects from drinking ginger:
- Stomach upset
- Gas and Bloating
What are your thoughts on ginger tea? Do you love a good cup of this spicy root or do you prefer other types of tea instead? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Medical Disclaimer: While we have delved into the research available on the health benefits of these teas, this is for informative purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Those who have any health-related queries should reach out to a medical professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.