Ginger Root Tea: Are There Health Benefits?

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.

Nutrition Information

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.

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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.

Anti-inflammatory Effects

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:

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Although ginger can soothe some digestive problems, it can cause issues in susceptible people. Most reports are of bloating and indigestion.

Pregnancy Concerns

Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use herbal medicines without consulting their doctors.

Coplications 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. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 24, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Arthritis and Rheumatism: “Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis.”

Annals of Pharmacotherapy: “Interactions of Warfarin with Garlic, Ginger, Ginkgo, or Ginseng: Nature of the Evidence.”

Cancer Nursing: “Does the Oral Administration of Ginger Reduce Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting?: A Meta-analysis of 10 Randomized Controlled Trials.

Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery: “Herbal medicine in Pregnancy”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Ginger root.”   

Gastroenterology Research and Practice: “Ginger and Its Constituents: Role in Prevention and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Cancer.”

Journal of Medicinal Food: “Ginger — An Herbal Medicinal Product with Broad Anti-Inflammatory Actions.”

Mayo Clinic: “Ginger for nausea: Does it work?”

Nutrition Journal: “A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting.”

The World’'s Healthiest Foods: “Ginger.”

University of Rochester Medical Center Health Encyclopedia: “Ginger.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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