Ginger Tea: Benefits, Nutrition, and Facts

Ginger Tea: Benefits, Nutrition, and Facts


Ginger tea, made from the rhizome (underground stem) of the ginger plant, is a popular and healthy beverage that can be enjoyed hot or cold. Known scientifically as Zingiber officinale Roscoe, ginger has been used for centuries in traditional medicine across China, India, Japan, and other regions to treat ailments like colds, nausea, arthritis, migraines, and hypertension.

Among the 400 compounds in ginger, four phenolic compounds—gingerols, shogaols, paradols, and zingerone—are primarily responsible for its effects. These compounds have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.

While much of the clinical research on ginger is based on supplements and not necessarily on ginger tea or ginger consumed as a food ingredient, ginger tea still contains those beneficial compounds that can affect your health.

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Ginger contains compounds like 6-shogaol, zingerone, and 8-shogaol, which have shown an ability to fight inflammation in several studies. For example, research has found that ginger supplements can reduce inflammation markers in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Some cancers, like breast cancer, are linked to inflammation. In one study, women with obesity and breast cancer who took ginger supplements showed reduced inflammation and improved metabolism, suggesting ginger may offer some protection against cancer. Additionally, patients with early-stage cancer, especially those undergoing chemotherapy with inflammatory effects, may benefit from consuming ginger.

Ginger can also help relieve allergic rhinitis symptoms through its anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects.

Ginger contains high levels of antioxidants, which can help combat oxidative stress, which is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants that leads to cell damage. This oxidative stress reduces antioxidant enzymes and causes inflammation in the body, which can lead to cell aging.

These changes can cause age-related diseases, especially those stimulated by chronic inflammation, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, and others. Ginger’s antioxidants can help neutralize harmful free radicals, which are molecules with at least one set of unpaired electrons. They try to form bonds with atoms, electrons, or molecules to become stable.

Ginger has been researched in clinical settings to treat gastric issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and upset stomach. In various studies, ginger supplements have shown promise.

In one study with healthy volunteers, a combination of ginger and artichoke extract facilitated gastric emptying, the movement of food from the stomach to the intestines. Another study involving patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) found that supplementing with ginger, alongside lifestyle changes, reduced inflammatory markers, improving NAFLD.

Ginger is known for alleviating mild nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. According to a systematic review of clinical studies, it may also help to relieve nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy.

High cholesterol and hypertension (high blood pressure) are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Clinical studies show that ginger can help protect your heart.

A systematic review found that taking more than 3 grams (g) of ginger daily for two months lowered blood pressure in middle-aged individuals. Other studies reported significant reductions in cholesterol levels in patients taking 3 g of ginger daily for four weeks.

Additionally, a systematic review showed that ginger supplements effectively lower triglycerides in subjects with obesity and diabetes, and higher doses significantly reduce total cholesterol.

A small amount of research suggests that ginger supplements may help relieve menstrual cramps. One study showed that adding ginger to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help treat migraine attacks.

Some people may prefer ginger supplements over tea or food for various reasons. Most research on ginger’s health benefits is based on supplements, so there’s a recommended ginger dose. Supplements are also convenient for people who don’t enjoy the taste of ginger or prefer not to cook.

Ginger supplements are available in capsule and extract forms, with dosage varying depending on the form and intended use. In clinical studies, doses range widely, typically from 15 milligrams (mg) to 3 g daily.

Though research on ginger looks promising in some areas, it’s important to note that many studies are small and use inconsistent evaluation methods. Larger, well-planned trials with clear methods are needed to fully understand ginger’s benefits.

Ginger is considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has been used safely in research studies as a dietary supplement. However, it can cause side effects like abdominal discomfort, heartburn, diarrhea, and mouth and throat irritation, especially in large doses.

The effects of consuming ginger during pregnancy or breastfeeding have shown uncertain or mixed results. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and considering adding ginger to your routine, consult your healthcare provider.

Ginger tea can be enjoyed hot or cold, on its own, with meals or snacks, or as a post-meal beverage.

Follow these steps to make hot ginger tea:

  • Slice a one-inch piece of ginger root into quarter-inch slices
  • Combine ginger slices with a cup of water in a saucepan over high heat
  • Optional: Add a cinnamon stick or fresh mint to the tea mixture before simmering
  • Bring the tea to a simmer, then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer for 5-10 minutes
  • Remove from heat and strain through a mesh sieve into a mug
  • Add a lemon or orange slice and honey or maple syrup to taste, if desired

To make cold ginger tea:

  • Follow the same steps for hot tea
  • Let the brewed tea cool to room temperature
  • Refrigerate until chilled or serve over ice cubes in a cup immediately

Ginger tea, made from the ginger root, has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and has been studied extensively. Thanks to its beneficial compounds, ginger shows promising potential in addressing issues such as inflammation, gastrointestinal concerns, and cardiovascular health.

Whether enjoyed hot or cold, ginger tea offers a comforting and healthy addition to your daily routine.

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