Looking to spice up your life? We know of no one more up to the task than Ginger Spice. In all its sippable glory, ginger tea boasts a wide range of possible benefits.
The possible benefits of drinking ginger tea: In brief
Ginger tea aficionados will tell you that ginger tea might provide the following benefits:
- Reduced nausea and vomiting (especially during pregnancy, and from motion sickness)
- Help release trapped gas
- Balance your blood pressure and boost your heart health
- Provide some pain relief
- Assist with sore throats and colds
- Relieve pain from arthritis
- Reduce your risk of cancer
But way more research needs to take place before we can definitely say that ginger tea helps with any of the above.
On the bright side, it’s delicious and generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Ginger root has played a lead role in traditional Indian and Chinese medicinal practices for over 5,000 freakin’ years, so ginger *must* have some pretty good effects, right? Well, kinda. But does science have its back — and do those benefits carry over to its tea form?
Let’s check out ginger tea and see if it really does “Wannabe Your Lover.” Sip-a-sip-aaaaaah.
People have long linked ginger with relieving that icky feeling of nausea and helping you keep your cookies down. And honestly, even though more reliable studies need to happen before we can give it a definitive yes, there does appear to be some truth behind the claim.
A 2016 analysis of studies concluded that ginger was a safe, pretty effective, and inexpensive way to manage nausea and vomiting in those who are receiving chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
The study authors said that more research is necessary to find out the ideal dose for reducing nausea — they looked at research on ginger extract and whole ginger, and tea doesn’t provide quite as much. It’s hard to know whether it would have similar effects.
Also, chemo has different side effects for different people. They might experience extreme heartburn, which could make ginger tea pretty tough (or impossible) to tolerate.
Drinking ginger tea may or may not help to settle your tum, but It certainly won’t hurt you to try. According to the above analysis, the FDA is cool with you having up to 4 grams of ginger per day, and that amounts to a heckin’ bunch of tea.
Yeah, we’re going there.
Trapped gas can trigger ouchies in the gut and chest. You can get to the point where you’re just longing for a rip-roaring release. Farts are, as they say, better out than in. And who might be able to help with the “out” part? Why, look, it’s our old friend ginger!
A 2019 review of studies found that ginger extract helped to accelerate “gastric emptying” (yup), especially if you have some artichoke extract as well. These old buddies tag team your gut, with ginger helping to clear your stomach, and fartichoke extract (it was right there, sorry) working their magic on the bowel.
Again, an extract will likely give you a stronger dose of ginger’s compounds than tea, so it’s hard to say whether its tea form is likely to help with trapped gas. But the research is promising, and it doesn’t hurt to try. (Unless you’re in an elevator with Beyoncé. Then maybe wait until after she reaches her floor.)
A 2017 study found a correlation between daily ginger intake and a lower incidence of high blood pressure and chronic heart disease. And while “correlation” doesn’t mean “ginger definitely reduces blood pressure,” it’s a promising find. In the study, the higher a person’s intake of ginger was, the lower their blood pressure became.
And ginger tea is a pretty easy way to get ginger in ya. It might not be enough on its own to see these blood pressure effects (the study didn’t look at tea specifically), but drinking the tea might contribute to ginger’s cardiovascular benefits.
Remember those ancient Indian and Chinese practitioners who were merrily using ginger as medicine 5,000 years ago? One of its primary uses was as pain relief — and good gracious, Holmes, it looks like they were onto something.
Scientists have been running ginger through their tests to see if it really does have pain-relieving qualities (if you’ve ever wondered why ginger oil pops up in a Swedish massage, that’ll be the reason).
And the authors of a 2020 review of randomized, controlled trials concluded that they’re cautiously optimistic about ginger’s pain relief opportunities. Of the randomized, controlled trials included:
- Six found that they can relieve pain during dysmenorrhea, or severe cramps and pain when Aunt Flo visits.
- Nine touted taking ginger by mouth or rubbing it on the skin as effective for managing osteoarthritis pain in the knee (but one other study found that it did not make a significant difference to pain levels).
- Four trials found ginger to be effective for reducing delayed onset muscle soreness after full-on workouts.
- One study backed Swedish, ginger-oil-infused massage over a traditional Thai massage for relieving chronic lower back pain — but the reviewers accepted that they can’t determine whether this is down to the type of massage or the oil used.
Although ginger tea probably isn’t going to be quite as strong as oil or extract, there’s a possibility that it could help you if you’re in pain.
Ahh, if it’s a herbal tea and it doesn’t claim to heal sore throats and colds, is it really a herbal tea? Well, ginger might actually have some heft in this department.
A 2015 study that compared Iranian traditional medicine with modern scientific understanding filed cold and sore throat relief under ginger tea’s benefits. However, the study is quite a sweeping review and doesn’t really go into the nuts and bolts of how ginger pulls this off.
Ginger is, by its nature, a bit spicy. And while you may feel like that’s the last thing your poor respiratory system needs, it might actually do a fine job of blasting your sinuses clear and helping you deal with that pesky phlegm.
It could even help with reducing the amount of time people spend in intensive care with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and improve asthma symptoms, according to a 2020 systematic review.
That weird-looking root you see in the supermarket is actually an anti-inflammatory.
This means that if you have trouble with stiff joints (because they’re inflamed), ginger may help. According to a 2018 review, ginger powder supplementation reduces inflammatory markers throughout the body for folks with osteoarthritis. And it might help you move around with less pain. Heck yeah!
This is another ginger benefit that scientists as still looking into. Even though results are promising, it may not totally replace your pain meds just yet — and ginger tea is certainly no blast of ginger powder like they used in the study.
But if you’re already taking meds for arthritis, having an additional cup of ginger tea won’t do you any harm.
In a problem as complex and tricky as curing cancer, there are no quick and easy answers.
But a 2018 review suggested that, in different studies, ginger extract helped to not only inhibit further growth of tumors but also helped to prevent them from forming in the first place.
It’s an area that needs a lot more study, as tests have taken place mostly using lab mice and cell samples — we just don’t know if the same applies to us humans. But ginger could have some promise. Time (and science) will tell whether ginger really can help humanity bust cancer.
Are there benefits to making honey ginger tea?
It’s pretty common to see ginger tea recipes that suggest plopping some honey into the mixture. But aside from making it taste pretty nice, does it really have any benefit?
In a small way, yes! Honey is another ingredient that has played a role in traditional medicine for centuries. And, just like ginger, honey might boast legit properties which can possibly help with diabetes management, reduced risk of cancer, and asthma relief.
As with ginger, more research needs to take place before we fully tout honey as a wonder cure, and the *tiny* amounts of honey you put in your brew are unlikely to make a huge difference.
Plus, different types of honey have different nutritional yields. Your local supermarket’s own-brand honey might not have as much of an impact as Manuka honey, for example, which provides a unique antibacterial compound called methylglyoxal (MGO).
But in the meantime, it’ll definitely make that tea taste nicer. So if it’s your thing, spoon it in!
How to make ginger tea at home
Buying teabags is so last year. How do you get the really good stuff — homemade ginger tea?
Well, it’s actually pretty simple! Here’s how to make your perfect winter warmer:
- First, grab your ginger root, and give it a good wash (unless you like the taste of dirt in your tea). Cut off about an inch of the root, and slice it as thin and fine as you can without endangering your fingers.
- Pour your water in a pan (you want about one cup per serving). Let the slices of ginger have a good swim.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer on reduced heat.
- Tell Siri to set an alarm for 5 minutes, or 10 if you want a strong cup.
- Take off the heat, pour the mixture through a sieve.
- Squeeze in some lemon juice, if you fancy. Or add a drizzle of honey. Alternatively, just leave it as is! Ginger packs a punch all by itself.
- Drink that shizzle.
You know how it goes with medical stuff: just when you find something that’s kinda healthy, there’s an inevitable catch waiting for you. So let’s get this over with: what’s ginger tea going to do to you?
Well, not very much. A large 2020 review of 109 randomized, controlled trials checked ginger for any unwanted side effects.
Some participants in the included studies reported feelings of nausea and bloatedness, and others experienced diarrhea and heartburn. Most of the symptoms people encountered weren’t severe.
However, if you’re taking ginger to manage the morning sickies during pregnancy, you need to be more careful. Research suggests that it’s best not to go over 1 gram of ginger per day.
You might want to keep an eye on your measurements if you’re making your own tea. And ginger tea in general is a hard swerve close to your due date, especially if you have a history of miscarriage or bleeding.
Is there a best time to drink ginger tea?
Ginger tea is pretty mild. You’re not going to come to much harm if you drink it at any time of the day.
However, if you have probs with your sleep, you might want to keep your ginger tea as a morning and afternoon treat. Ginger is still spicy by nature, and a 2021 review linked spicy foods to sleeping probs.
There’s a heck of a lot to love about ginger. If modern medicine backs up what traditional medicine has been saying for centuries, there’s a possibility that it really helps us with heart health and cancer prevention, as well as less concerning conditions like nausea and flatulence.
But even though it generally has very mild side effects (if any), that doesn’t mean you can go full ham on it. Stick to 4 grams a day. If you’re pregnant, reduce that down to 1 gram, and avoid it when you get closer to your due date.
Whether the science checks out or not, in the meantime, we can just enjoy a cup of the ginger stuff on a chilly afternoon. Viva Forever!