Ginger does more than add zest to holiday cookies and flavor to fizzy drinks. Cultures throughout Asia have relied on ginger for medicinal benefits for thousands of years, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. In addition to ginger tea, which is a common source, ginger is available in dried spice, fresh root and supplement forms. For specified guidance on how to best incorporate ginger tea into you diet, seek counsel from your doctor or dietitian.
Ginger in tea and other forms is used to treat nausea, motion sickness, pregnancy-related morning sickness and arthritis pain, according to the National Centers for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. It may also guard against infections and disease because of its potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect against damage caused by free radicals -- substances associated with poor brain function and illnesses, such as cancer. Antioxidants also reduce inflammation, which triggers pain in arthritis sufferers.
In a study conducted at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, published in March 2012, the use of ginger, including tea, and morning sickness symptoms of 1,176 pregnant women were analyzed using 45 years of data. Compared to placebos, ginger was significantly more effective in minimizing nausea, but did not influence vomiting frequency. Research regarding ginger as a remedy for post-surgical nausea is mixed, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Studies have shown benefits for people enduring osteoarthritis pain and nausea related to chemotherapy.
Standard dosage for ginger is 75 to 2,000 milligrams of root or extract daily, says the University of Maryland Medical Center, both of which can be used to make tea. For nausea and related digestive symptoms, add up to 1 gram of powdered ginger root or 30 to 90 drops of ginger extract to warm water to sip as needed. Add extract and powder gradually, tasting as you go, to avoid an overly pungent flavor. You can also soak fresh ginger root in hot water and, if you wish, add a touch of honey or sugar for sweetness. Prepared ginger teas in teabag form provide modest amounts of the plant and can be consumed as desired. For arthritis and pregnancy-related benefits, consume ginger tea throughout the day. Before treating medical conditions with ginger tea, discuss proper dosage with your doctor.
Very few side effects are associated with modest doses of ginger, says the NCCAM. When side effects do occur, they usually derive from powdered ginger, and may include bloating, gas, nausea and heartburn. Higher doses of ginger can interfere with medications, such as blood-thinning, diabetes and high blood pressure medications. If you are pregnant or have a chronic illness, discuss ginger use with your doctor in advance.
August McLaughlin is a health and sexuality writer, podcast host and author of “Girl Boner: The Good Girl’s Guide to Sexual Empowerment” (Amberjack Publishing, 2018). Her articles appear in DAME Magazine, Cosmopolitan.com, the Huffington Post and more, and she loves connecting with readers through her blog and social media. augustmclaughlin.com