Ginger root is a common spice and herbal remedy. It’s abundant, cheap, and it tastes great—and one of the best ways to consume it is as a tea. Many nutrients in ginger make it a potent herbal remedy and science backs up many of the health claims that have been made about it.
Ginger Tea Health Benefits
Ginger is in the same family as turmeric and, like turmeric, it has been consumed for hundreds of years for its apparent health benefits. It possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, and it’s also widely tolerated and easy to add to foods and beverages. Not all of the health claims made about this spice are supported by extensive human trials, but many of them are and others are still very promising.
Some of the most promising health benefits of ginger include:
1. It Reduces Nausea
Ginger tea is commonly prescribed for the treatment of nausea, and it really works. Not only is this great news for anyone who suffers from regular bouts of nausea, but it could have significant implications in the medical field. A 2018 meta-analysis looked at ten trials (incorporating 918 patients) and found that ginger could be an effective treatment of postoperative nausea and vomiting, even though many of the studies had used relatively small doses. (1)
Another analysis, conducted in 2014, found ginger to be effective at reducing morning sickness, while other studies have found large doses to be as effective as some prescription medications. (2) Not only is it effective, but it’s also safe and widely tolerated, which can’t always be said for prescription meds.
2. It is a Potent Anti-Inflammatory
Ginger possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the body, a known contributor to many diseases. It has been studied extensively for its apparent anti-tumour and anti-microbial activity, and while it’s still far too early to say anything, there have been some promising results. (3)
One of the most widely studied compounds is gingerol, which is a potent antioxidant and has shown anti-tumour effects in colorectal cancer cells. (4) However, there have been no extensive human trials to confirm these effects, and as far as we can tell, no significant correlations have been made between ginger consumption and reduced cancer risk.
However, these anti-inflammatory compounds could contribute to overall health and may also help with inflammatory gut disorders.
3. It Could Help Prevent Alzheimer’s
We have previously discussed the ways that sideritis scardica may help with Alzheimer’s and other disorders of the mind. The anti-inflammatory compounds it possesses are thought to be the reason behind these effects, and as mentioned above, many such compounds can also be found in ginger.
This is not something that’s easy to verify, but a few studies show the effects of ginger on cognitive function. One study gave an extract of the root to a group of healthy middle-aged women and noted improvements in memory and other areas. (5) Similar studies have also been conducted on other anti-inflammatory compounds, including the famous memory studies performed with sideritis, suggesting that regular consumption of such compounds (in their natural state and as part of a healthy lifestyle) could reduce the risk of brain disorders and maintain long-term cognitive health.
4. It May Hasten Emptying of the Stomach
Research suggests ginger could help hasten the emptying of the stomach, potentially making it an effective cure for anyone suffering with repeated attacks of indigestion. It doesn’t seem to work in the same way as peppermint, though, and is best consumed with a meal to prevent indigestion as opposed to after a meal to cure it.
Ginger Tea for a Cold?
We have seen ginger tea recommended for a cold and viral infections, and while it’s not going to cure the common cold or any other infection for that matter, it may help with some of the symptoms. It can reduce some of the nausea common with many viruses, and its effects on muscle soreness, digestion, and inflammation may also help with those symptoms.
It has also shown some antibacterial effects, but the studies showing these effects used ginger extracts in direct contact with pathogens, which means ginger tea probably can kill some bacteria, but only if you make a strong cup and then swish it around in your mouth. (6)
There are no doubt many better teas to help you if you have a cold (you could also try a hot toddy), but if you enjoy the taste of ginger tea and find it soothing, then it’s as good as anything.
Ginger or Turmeric?
Both of these roots seem to possess a numbers of health benefits and they also taste great and are easy to add to food and drink. There is no reason to choose one or the other—you can benefit from consuming both, preferably with a few healthy herbs added to the mix. If we had to pick one as being “healthy,” we’d probably lean towards turmeric, simply because its main active compound, curcumin, has shown a lot more promise in medical studies. But both are beneficial.
You may also want to check out dandelion leaf or root, as well as burdock root, both of which may also be very good for supporting overall health and wellbeing.
How to Brew Ginger Tea
There are many prepacked preparations of ginger tea out there, with most major tea brands selling their own variety. The ginger in these teas is either finely ground/powdered or sold in dried chunks. It should still provide many of the benefits you seek, but it’s not as fresh as it could be.
The best way to enjoy ginger tea is to make it yourself from some fresh root. This can be time consuming, but once you get into the swing of it, you’ll be making cups of ginger tea in no time. It’s very inexpensive to brew ginger tea yourself, with one small root making dozens of cups, and you can also experiment by adding other healthy spices like saffron or turmeric, or throwing in some herbs or flowers like globe amaranth.
To make ginger tea from fresh root, just grate a tablespoon, add it to boiling water, and then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes before sieving, pouring, and serving. You can alter the dose to taste, adding honey, sugar, and any other ingredients you think will work.