There are only two things I know about ginger: it is used in cooking and treating sore throat. When I was young, my parents always asked me to peel and chop ginger for the dish they were cooking. One time I asked them about the role of ginger in cooking. They told me that ginger gives food unique aroma and it removes unwanted smell from meat. In Philippine movies and television, ginger tea, locally known as salabat, is portrayed as effective treatment for sore throat. One more thing I learned about ginger is that the edible brown part is not actually a root but a rhizome, a specialized underground stem. I learned it from my botany class in college. Through the internet, I learned that ginger has more health benefits.
Ginger, scientifically known as Zingiber officinale, is one of the most popular and widely used spices in the world. It has been used by Asians as food and medicine for thousands of years. Its distinct aroma makes it a favorite spice for food. Volatile oils and phenolic compounds such as gingerols and shogaols are among the active substances found in ginger. These substances provide beneficial effects to human. Let us look at the various health benefits of ginger tea.
Ginger Tea Health Benefits
Ginger tea is one of the best remedies for stomachache, indigestion, dyspepsia, diarrhea, colic, spasm, flatulence and other gastrointestinal problems. (1)
Ginger tea is a popular remedy for menstrual crump in women. (1)
Ginger tea is used to prevent or treat nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, morning sickness, and chemotherapy. Some people prefer ginger tea than prescription drugs that have unwanted side effects. (2)
Ginger tea has anti-inflammatory properties. It is used to reduce pain caused by muscle aches, arthritis, and rheumatism. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger is attributed to the substance called Zingibain which blocks specific enzymes involved in the production of inflammation-causing compounds called prostaglandins. (1) People who hate side effects from synthetic drugs like ibuprofen use ginger tea as natural analgesic.
Ginger also contains active substances that have blood thinning effects. Blood thinners improve blood flow by changing the consistency of blood. Ginger tea, however, should not be taken with other blood thinning medications. People with bleeding disorders should not also take ginger without first talking to a physician. (2)
Ginger tea is used for various respiratory illnesses such as cold, cough, flu, bronchitis, and asthma. It aids in the removal of phlegm from the throat. (1)
Ginger tea is good for sore throat or throat infection. Ginger has anti-bacterial properties.
Preliminary studies show that ginger may lower blood cholesterol levels. (2)High blood cholesterol is associated to various diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
Ginger contains antioxidants that help detoxify our body. Antioxidants neutralize highly unstable free radicals in cells. Free radicals are highly reactive compounds and can damage important cellular structures such as the DNA and cell membrane. DNA damage is linked to cancer and other diseases.
How to Prepare Plain Ginger Tea
Wash and peel a small piece of ginger
Cut into small, thin pieces
Pour one cup of water in a saucepan and bring it to boil
Then put ¾ teaspoon of the chopped ginger
Lower the fire, cover the saucepan, and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes
Strain out the ginger and pour the tea into a glass
Optional: Put some lemon and honey (3)
References and Further Reading