An old Indian proverb tells us: “Everything good is found in ginger.” And now there’s science to back it up. Studies published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine reveal that ginger actually does contain hundreds of healing and health-promoting compounds. Gingerol, shogaol, paradol and zingerone, in particular, possess pharmacologically-active properties that are known to be anti-cancer, anti-inflammation and anti-oxidative. Whoa.
The bonus benefits of ginger
Though ginger has been used as a natural remedy for thousands of years, we may have been underestimating this spice’s power per pinch. In addition to settling a queasy stomach, research suggests ginger can help:
- Ease period and muscle pain
- Balance blood sugar
- Keep cholesterol in check
- Enhance immunity
- Reduce your risk for chronic disease
- Protect brain health
How do you like your tea?
Ginger root tea was a well-known treatment in Ayurveda, one of the world's oldest holistic medical systems. It is based on the belief that wellness comes from the delicate balance of mind, body and spirit. With recent studies providing even more proof of ginger's health-promoting powers, adding ginger to tea can be part of your modern-day wellness ritual, too.
There are two ways to brew homemade ginger tea. If you love the strong, spicy flavor of ginger root, you can prepare the ginger water and enjoy it straight up.
If you want to mellow it out, or combine it with other flavors, simply pour the brewed ginger water right over your favorite tea bag. Ginger pairs incredibly well with lemon, orange, turmeric, hibiscus, vanilla, and peach. And if you need a caffeine fix—it’s otherworldly with chai.
How to make homemade ginger tea
Fresh ginger root is readily available in the produce section of most grocery stores or Asian markets. Look for pieces that feel smooth, and emit a fresh, spicy fragrance.
At home, ginger root will stay fresh for two to three weeks when tightly wrapped and stored in the refrigerator. Another option is to keep your ginger root in the freezer (up to six months) and slice off pieces for tea as needed. How's that for a hack?
Let's get brewing.
Ginger Tea Recipe
Makes 4 cups
1 stem fresh ginger root
4 cups water
Optional: Tea bags, lemon, honey, mint
1. Peel the skin off your fresh ginger root with the back of a spoon or vegetable peeler and discard. Then use a paring knife to cut 12 thin slices of ginger.2. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a saucepan or teakettle. Add ginger slices to the boiling water and let simmer for at least 10 minutes. For a stronger flavor, let it simmer up to 10 minutes more.
2. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a saucepan or teakettle. Add ginger slices to the boiling water and let simmer for at least 10 minutes. For a stronger flavor, let it simmer up to 10 minutes more.
3. Remove from heat and let the ginger water cool for 1 minute before straining.
4. Pour into a mug and enjoy as is, or pour over a tea bag and steep for 3 minutes. Level up the experience with a lemon slice, lime juice, local honey, or a sprig of fresh mint.
When was the last time you had a tea party?
- Indigenous Culture, Education and Globalization: Critical Perspectives from Asia
- NCBI: Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence
- NCBI: Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise.
- Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics: The effect of mefenamic acid and ginger on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized clinical trial
- NCBI: The effect of ginger powder supplementation on insulin resistance and glycemic indices in patients with type 2 diabetes
- Clinical and Medical Biochemistry: Effects of Ginger on LDL-C, Total Cholesterol and Body Weight
- Healthy Directions: 5 Foods that Boost Your Immunity
- Natural News: Ultimate brain food - Increase memory, reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and protect against multiple sclerosis with ginger
- WebMd: What is Ayurveda?
Diane Bobis is a Chicago-based lifestyle writer and mom. Since graduating from Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, she has covered food, fashion, health, wellness, and beauty for dozens of outlets, including Womensforum.com, HowStuffWorks.com, BigOven.com, Hungry? Chicago Family, Winnetka Living, and Daily Dose of Knowledge: America. Wellness Habitat: Ashwagandha, Plant Therapy, Rachel Macy Stafford, Panda Planner, morning snuggles, and laughter.