Ginger is many things to many people. To a landscaper, it's a desirable blooming plant. To a child, it's the spice in gingerbread. Sushi lovers use pickled ginger as a palate cleanser. But, many people who love ginger in its other forms have never had a cup of ginger root tea. As a tea, ginger has several health benefits.
Many people living in different countries consider ginger a health food. Ancient texts from India, China, and the Middle East mention ginger and its medicinal qualities. Although studies support its use for several conditions, scientists need more research to understand exactly how it works.
Ginger root is readily available in supermarkets. Under its pale brown skin, it's fibrous and usually cream-colored. You can make ginger root tea by peeling the root and slicing or chopping it. Place the root in water and boil for up to 10 minutes, and then let it stand before drinking. Some people like to add other herbal ingredients such as turmeric, pepper, lemon, mint, or cinnamon.
Although ginger may have medicinal properties, it has little nutritional value, especially when consumed in the form of tea. A quarter cup of sliced ginger root contains:
- Calories: 19
- Protein: 0 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 4 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
Ginger contains some vitamins and minerals, but mostly in trace quantities. It contains small amounts of:
Potential Health Benefits of Ginger Root Tea
Gingerol is the substance that gives ginger its tangy flavor. Scientists have found that gingerol and related compounds in ginger root have some health benefits. When testing their theories, researchers often use ginger capsules, powder, or extract for ease of dosing. Those using ginger root tea could experience the same benefits.
Here are several potential health benefits of ginger root tea:
Relief of Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea
Ginger has a long history of use for soothing digestive problems. Several studies have looked at whether it can ease nausea and vomiting resulting from cancer chemotherapy. One meta-analysis of 10 studies reported positive results. Two other studies found ginger effective when used with anti-nausea medications.
Relief of Pregnancy-Related Nausea
Other studies have centered on the use of ginger for nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy. An analysis of these studies found that ginger was better than a placebo for relieving nausea. However, ginger did not significantly reduce the number of vomiting episodes. The studies also found no dangers associated with using ginger during pregnancy.
Gingerol and the other antioxidants in ginger root may reduce inflammation in the body. Ginger acts similarly to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. In one study of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, ginger reduced pain on standing. The effect was moderate.
Reduced Risk of Cancers
Some studies have shown that ginger could prevent certain cancers of the digestive tract, including liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and cancer of the stomach. Research has included laboratory studies, animal studies, and human studies. Scientists say they need more studies, especially in humans, to show exactly how the substances in ginger might prevent cancer.
Potential Risks of Ginger Root Tea
Drinking ginger root tea could cause problems for some individuals. Before you use ginger root tea, consider these possible risks:
Although ginger can soothe some digestive problems, it can cause issues in susceptible people. Most reports are of bloating and indigestion.
Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use herbal medicines without consulting their doctors.
Complications With Blood Thinners
Some researchers believe that ginger could affect how blood thinners work in the body. Blood thinners can be prescription drugs like warfarin or over-the-counter medications such as aspirin. If you take any medication with blood-thinning qualities, consult your doctor before drinking ginger root tea.