Science-Backed Benefits Of Ginger Tea & The Best Times To Drink It
Known for its spicy, pungent, and peppery taste, ginger is a root that boasts a long list of health-promoting properties. One of the most popular ways to enjoy this nutritious ingredient is to make ginger tea. This flavorful beverage has long been a staple in many traditional forms of medicine—but there's also plenty of modern science backing up its health impacts.
We consulted the research and reached out to nutrition experts to learn more about the top benefits of ginger tea and how to make it a regular part of your rotation.
What is ginger tea?
Ginger tea is a beverage typically made by steeping fresh or dried ginger in boiling water, giving it a sharp, slightly spicy taste and aroma. Premade ginger tea bags are also widely available and are generally pretty affordable, with prices ranging from around $0.10 to $0.50 each.
Ginger has a long history in traditional forms of medicine. In fact, Ayurvedic practitioner Nidhi Pandya tells mindbodygreen that it's widely used in both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. "In Ayurveda, it's used to reset the environment of the gut," she explains. According to Pandya, the system of medicine uses ginger to support the gut microbiome after illness, enhance the absorption of other herbs, and treat certain digestive issues such as diarrhea.
Ginger tea nutrition
- Calories: 2.4
- Carbs: 0.4 gram
- Fat: 0.02 gram
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Protein: 0.05 gram
- Copper: 0.03 milligrams
Like other types of tea, ginger tea is low in most vitamins and minerals, so it's unlikely to make a major dent in your daily nutritional needs. However, its antioxidant profile is where ginger really shines.
Ginger tea benefits
Not only can sipping a soothing cup of ginger tea help you relax and unwind at the end of the day, but it might also bring a few impressive health benefits to the table. Here are a few of the top perks, according to experts and the latest research:
It can help settle an upset stomach.
According to Amanda Sauceda, M.S., RDN, a registered dietitian who specializes in gut health, this is one of the benefits of ginger with the most evidence to back it up.
Studies show that ginger might be especially beneficial in treating morning sickness. In fact, one review found that ginger is safe and effective and could significantly decrease nausea and vomiting4 during pregnancy. It might also help prevent nausea and vomiting5 after surgery, according to another analysis of 14 studies, which found that ginger was more effective than a placebo.
However, Sauceda notes that most of the research is focused on ginger supplements rather than ginger tea specifically. "When you drink ginger tea, you'll still be getting those beneficial compounds, but it wouldn't be in the amounts you'd find in a supplement."
It may ramp up immune function.
Certain compounds found in ginger tea could support immune health6 by altering specific pathways in the body that drive inflammation. Ginger might also have antimicrobial properties7, which could block the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. According to Sauceda, this may be thanks to the presence of several specific compounds in ginger, such as gingerol.
It offers gut-boosting benefits.
Plus, it might even be useful for other issues. According to a 2022 study, supplementing with ginger extract for four weeks was able to help reduce symptoms11 of functional dyspepsia, a condition characterized by stomach pain, bloating, and feeling full quickly after eating. Another study showed that it could help improve vomiting12 in children with gastroenteritis, or stomach flu.
It might enhance heart health.
Ginger tea can be a powerful ingredient to help keep your heart healthy and strong. This is thanks in part to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects13 of ginger, along with its ability to protect against disease-causing compounds known as free radicals. Plus, according to Sauceda, ginger might even help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which are risk factors for heart disease.
While there's not a lot of research on ginger tea specifically, there have been plenty of studies demonstrating the heart-protecting properties of ginger. For instance, one 2022 review showed that ginger could improve levels of triglycerides14 and total, LDL (bad), and HDL (good) cholesterol. What's more, another study found that daily ginger consumption was tied to a lower risk of high blood pressure15, along with a reduced risk of developing heart disease in the long run.
It could alleviate pain and inflammation.
According to one study, ginger was able to decrease levels of inflammatory markers17 like C-reactive protein and interleukin 1-beta in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Another study evaluating the pain-relieving properties18 of ginger found that ginger powder could be as effective as ibuprofen at managing the aftereffects of surgery.
When to drink it
Here are a few ways to include this flavorful beverage in your routine:
- Drink a bit before a long car ride: Ginger tea is often used as a natural remedy for motion sickness, making it a good option if you find yourself feeling queasy during long trips in the car. Drink a cup before you head out or pour some into a tumbler and bring it on the go.
- Swap it for coffee in the morning: If you're trying to cut back on your caffeine intake, keeping some ginger on hand might help. Try adding a squeeze of lemon for a more refreshing morning beverage or mix in some coconut milk and maple syrup to help match the creamy taste of coffee.
- Have a cup at the first sign of sniffles: Ginger tea offers up some impressive immune-boosting benefits, which can be great for combating illness and infection. Drink a cup or two when you start feeling under the weather, and pair with other natural ingredients for immunity.
- Enjoy with meals for better digestion: Thanks to its ability to keep things moving through the digestive tract, ginger tea is perfect if you find yourself feeling bloated or uncomfortable after a hearty meal. Brew up a batch and drink it alongside your meal to improve digestion naturally.
- Use it to wind down before bedtime: Because ginger tea is completely free of caffeine, you can enjoy it at any time of day without worrying about affecting your sleep schedule. Try sipping ginger as a sleepy tea before bed for a relaxing way to end your evening.
Ginger tea recipes
Brewing your own fresh ginger tea at home can be an easy and affordable alternative to prepackaged tea bags. Here's how to make your own DIY ginger tea:
- 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger
- 1 cup water
- Lemon (optional)
- Turmeric (optional)
- Honey (optional)
- Mint leaves (optional)
- Start by slicing a 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger into a few smaller pieces to help maximize its flavor and potency. While some people opt to peel the ginger first, it's not necessary if you're short on time or want to save on food waste.
- Next, add the ginger to a saucepan and combine with 1 cup of water over high heat.
- Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to let it simmer for around 5 to 10 minutes or a bit longer if you prefer a stronger, bolder taste.
- Remove it from the heat and strain directly into a mug using a fine-mesh strainer or sieve. Serve with a slice of lemon, a dash of turmeric, a drizzle of honey, or a sprig of fresh mint leaves for extra flavor.
Using dried ginger:
To get the most bang for your buck, Pandya says you can also add a pinch or two of dried ginger to your tea on a daily basis, either alone or alongside other healing herbs and spices. If you're using dried ginger, stick to around 2 teaspoons per serving.
How to take your tea up a notch:
If you're feeling creative and looking to mix things up, you can let it cool for a bit and then add a few ice cubes for a refreshing cup of iced ginger tea. Alternatively, try pouring some frothed oat milk on top for a fluffy ginger latte.
Pandya recommends pairing fresh ginger with cooling herbs such as licorice or fennel, which can help balance the warming properties of ginger. She notes that fennel tea also works especially well with dried ginger.
Be sure to save your scraps after each batch, as you can reuse ginger to make tea up to three or four times. The peels also work well in spicy broths or smoothies and can add a zing of flavor to marinades for meat or steamed veggies. Compost any leftover ginger to help scale back your environmental footprint.
Ginger tea side effects
In moderation, a cup or two of ginger tea each day can be a great addition to a balanced diet. However, Sauceda notes that ginger might not be recommended for people taking certain medications, including blood thinners or drugs for high blood pressure or diabetes.
While this is more likely a concern with high-dose supplements rather than the occasional cup of ginger tea, it's always a good idea to check in with your doctor before adding ginger tea to your routine if you're concerned.
What does ginger tea do to your body?
"Ginger has been linked to helping improve inflammation, blood pressure, blood sugar, and even cholesterol," says Sauceda. Plus, it may also be beneficial for improving gut health, easing pain, and enhancing immune function.
Is it good to drink ginger tea every day?
You don't need to drink ginger tea every day to reap the benefits, but you absolutely can enjoy it daily. Try pairing it with other herbs and ingredients to boost the potential health benefits.
Does ginger tea reduce belly fat?
While there's no research on whether ginger tea offers any fat-burning benefits, some research suggests that ginger supplementation could help reduce body weight and belly fat. Be sure to pair it with a balanced diet and regular physical activity.
Not only is ginger tea soothing and flavorful, but it's also super nutritious. This is one ancient remedy with plenty of modern science to back it up. Drinking a cup or two of ginger tea each day is a great way to take advantage of the many potential benefits of this functional root.
Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD is a registered dietitian and writer based in San Francisco. She holds a master's degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and an undergraduate degree in Dietetics.
Rachael works as a freelance writer and editor for several health and wellness publications. She is passionate about sharing evidence-based information on nutrition and health and breaking down complex topics into content that is engaging and easy to understand.
When she's not writing, Rachael enjoys experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, reading, gardening, and spending time with her husband and dogs.