What Are the Benefits and Side Effects of Ginger Water?

Medically reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD on May 24, 2017Written by Taylor Norris on May 24, 2017

Overview

Native to Southeast Asia, ginger is common in food and medicine around the world. The ginger plant is rich in natural chemicals that can promote your health and wellness.

Ginger water, also known as ginger tea, is one way to enjoy the benefits of ginger. Read on to learn more about ginger water benefits, uses, and side effects.

Benefits

As with a lot of herbal medicine, more research is needed to better understand and prove uses for ginger and ginger water. There are many anecdotes about uses for ginger water that can’t be guaranteed healthy or effective. However, there are several potential benefits backed by limited research.

Anti-inflammatory

Inflammation is one of your body’s natural self-preservation functions. Germs, chemicals, and poor diet can cause too much inflammation and harm your body.

Inflammation has become a very common experience for a lot of people. Diet and lifestyle changes may be necessary to fight chronic inflammation.

Consuming ginger may help prevent and heal inflammation. One study found that ginger could reduce allergic reactions, in which inflammation can play a role.

A small study also showed that people who took daily ginger supplements had less muscle pain after working out. Muscle pain can be caused by inflammation.

Antioxidant

The antioxidant properties of ginger may help to prevent:

Antioxidants fight reactive oxygen species (ROS), which cause oxidative stress and damage your cells. Your body naturally makes ROS, but some lifestyle choices, like drinking large quantities of alcohol, smoking, or experiencing chronic stress can make you produce too much ROS. Consuming foods and drinks with antioxidants, like ginger water, can help prevent and fight the negative side effects of ROS.

One study found that that ginger could prevent or slow down kidney failure. Ginger may also slow the growth of tumors, and one study found evidence that ginger may help control some types of cancer.

Antinausea and digestion aid

Cultures around the world regularly take ginger to help ease indigestion, vomiting, and nausea. Studies are inconclusive as to how effective this is.

Balance blood sugar

One study found that ginger improved fasting blood sugar in people with diabetes. These and other findings show promise that ginger can help treat health concerns caused by chronic diabetes.

Cholesterol

A recent study showed that ginger reduced heart disease markers like arginase activity, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and triglycerides in rats give a high-fat diet.

Weight loss

Ginger water may help promote weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. One study showed that ginger suppressed obesity in rats on high-fat diets. And another study found that men who drank a hot ginger beverage after eating felt more full for longer. Balanced blood sugar can also prevent you from overeating.

Hydration

This benefit is mostly because you’re taking your ginger in water. Staying hydrated is very important for supporting every aspect of your health. Many of us simply don’t drink enough water each day. Starting your day with a glass of ginger water, or finding another regular time to drink one each day, will help you hydrate.

Read more: How much water do you need to drink? »

Risks

As with any herb or supplement, ginger may interact poorly with other medication you take. Side effects from ginger are rare but can include the following if ginger is consumed in excess:

  • heartburn
  • gas
  • stomachache
  • burning in the mouth

Don’t consume more than 4 grams of ginger in any given day in any form.

People with heart conditions, diabetes, and gallstones should especially talk with their doctor before taking ginger as a supplement. You should also talk to your doctor about the safety of taking ginger if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or about to have surgery.

Is ginger water safe during pregnancy?

Researchers have looked at the role ginger may play in helping treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. One study noted that the evidence supports the efficacy of ginger for the treatment of pregnancy nausea, but that there may be safety risks for some women. A systematic review of studies, however, found no adverse effects caused by ginger consumption in pregnant women.

Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements or herbs during pregnancy. In some cases, diet and lifestyle changes may help reduce nausea in pregnancy:

  • eat regular, small meals
  • avoid greasy or spicy foods, since those may upset your stomach
  • sleep at least seven hours each night
  • stay hydrated

Can ginger water work as a detox?

Detox rituals aim to slowly rid your body of toxins over time. Some people use ginger water mixed with lemon juice as a detox. There is only anecdotal evidence to support this use.

Since ginger may fight germs, illness, inflammation, and cancer-causing molecules, taking a little bit every day can support your overall health. Ginger is a natural root, so drinking it will also give you added nutrients.

How to make ginger water

Fresh ginger is the best source for making your own ginger water. A lot of products contain ginger or artificial ginger flavor, but you’ll get the most benefits from ginger water you make yourself. Plus, it’s easy to prepare.

You can find fresh ginger in the produce section of the grocery store. It’s a beige-colored root, typically a few inches long.

To make ginger water, you’ll have to cook the ginger in water and make a tea. You can leave the skin on the ginger since you’re not going to eat it straight and many of the nutrients are right beneath the skin.

You can use more or less water or ginger depending on how strong you want the ginger water to be. The ratio of water to ginger below is equivalent to 1 gram ginger extract.

  1. Wash the part of the ginger root you’ll be using.
  2. Use a zester to grate 1/2 teaspoon of ginger.
  3. Boil 4 cups of water on the stove.
  4. Add the ginger once the water is boiling.
  5. Remove the ginger water from the heat and let the ginger steep in the water for 10 minutes.
  6. Strain the ginger pieces from the water and discard the ginger.
  7. Drink ginger water hot or cold.

Ginger water is delicious with a teaspoon or less of added honey or lemon juice, but don’t go overboard with added sweeteners. If you think you’d like to drink ginger water every day, you can make a bulk batch and keep it handy in the refrigerator.

Dosage

Doctors recommend consuming a maximum of 3–4 grams of ginger extract per day. If you’re pregnant, don’t consume more than 1 gram of ginger extract per day. Ginger is not recommended for children under the age of 2.

The following are all equivalent to 1 gram of ginger:

  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon grated raw ginger
  • 4 cups water steeped with 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

Less raw ginger is needed when making tea because certain nutrients in ginger concentrate when heated.

Takeaway

Consuming ginger can support your health and may also help treat many health problems. Drinking ginger water is also a great way to stay hydrated, which is important for your overall health.

Talk with your doctor about any supplemental herbs you want to try. And if you’re interested in ginger, start by making your own ginger water from fresh ginger root.

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