Tangy with a kick, ginger has been used for millennia to spice food and treat ailments.
Native to Asia, ginger — the flowering plant of the Zingiberaceae family — can add a delightful flavor to Indian or Thai cuisine, or be a part of a holistic herbal regime to reduce arthritic pain. Ginger has a long list of proposed health benefits, and drinking ginger tea daily may help with everything from motion sickness to cancer prevention.
Need proof? Check out our guide on the benefits of ginger tea below.
When There’s Motion in the Ocean
Some research suggests that ginger tea can help calm motion sickness symptoms like dizziness, vomiting, and cold sweats. While ginger is not a cure-all, and not all studies agree on its benefits — studies show motion sickness medication works best — it’s free of over-the-counter drugs’ annoying side effects like drowsiness and dry mouth.
When Your Stomach Is All Mixed Up
Health professionals believe the active components in ginger — volatile oils and phenol compounds like gingerols — can help relieve different types of nausea, including morning sickness, nausea from cancer chemotherapy, and queasiness after surgery. Be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare professional before using ginger after surgery, as it may interfere with clotting.
When You Need to Protect Your Heart
Research has shown that the minerals and amino acids in ginger can have positive effects on the heart. The spice plant may be able to help:
- lower blood pressure
- prevent heart attacks
- prevent blood clotting
- relieve heartburn
- lower cholesterol
- improve blood circulation
- prevent heart disease
When You Want to Shed Pounds
A study from Columbia University involving 10 overweight men found that drinking hot ginger tea could help with feeling full and reduce feelings of hunger, thus acting as a natural, healthy weight management tool.
Other studies have found that ginger can help improve digestion and stimulate weight loss, even with similar effects to weight loss drugs. Ginger may help improve blood sugar control among people with type 2 diabetes, although more research is needed in this area.
When You Need to Relieve Body Aches
Ginger has been used to treat inflammation for ages. One study suggested that the flowering plant may have properties that help relieve pain from osteoarthritis of the knee.
It’s also suggested that ginger tea can alleviate headaches, menstrual cramps, and other muscle discomfort and pain.
When You Want to Ward Off Illness
It’s believed that the antioxidants in ginger can strengthen your immunity and reduce stress. Inhaling the steam from ginger tea can also help relieve congestion and other respiratory issues from the common cold or environmental allergies.
More importantly, research has shown that ginger may actually prevent cancer. One study found that gingerol suppresses colon cancer cell growth; however, this was only seen in mice and needs to be confirmed in human studies. Another showed that whole ginger extract shrank prostate tumor size in mice by over 55 percent.
Make Delicious Ginger Tea at Home
Here is an easy-to-follow recipe for making your own ginger tea. You’ll need:
- 4 to 6 peeled, thin slices of raw ginger (add more slices for stronger ginger tea)
- 2 cups of water
- optional: juice from half of a lime and honey or agave nectar to taste
First, wash and scrub the ginger root. Afterwards, peel the ginger and then slice thinly. Fill a medium pot with 2 cups of water. Place the ginger slices in the water and let boil for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how strong and tangy you like your tea. Remove from heat. Add lime juice and honey (or agave) to taste.
You can also make ginger tea with milk. Boil your ginger root slices in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and add 2 cups of milk. Simmer the milk and ginger for five minutes. Serve in your favorite mug.
What to Keep in Mind
There are side effects to consuming ginger tea, although few are linked to ginger taken in small doses.
People most often report gas, bloating, heartburn, and nausea as ginger-related side effects. And, remember, since ginger is also known to lower blood pressure, people on blood thinners, blood pressure drugs, or diabetes medications should consult their doctor before consuming extra ginger.
Although caution should be taken with how much ginger you consume, ginger tea is still an easy, delicious, and all-natural way to fight disease and promote good health without breaking the bank.
So sit back with your favorite ginger tea, breathe in, sip slowly, and enjoy.