Ginger Tea Benefits for Better Digestion
Ginger is a pungent, fiery rhizome with many health benefits. This page will focus on how to use ginger tea to improve your digestion, prevent bloating, decreases intestinal gas and relieve flatulence problems.
How Ginger Tea Helps Digestion
Ginger in food, or ideally as a strong tea, helps stimulate saliva, bile and gastric juice production to aid in digestion. Phenolic compounds like gingerol and various other volatile oils are primarily responsible for ginger tea’s beneficial effect on your digestive system.
The ideal time to drink ginger tea would be just before a big meal or having a small cup of it while eating. It’s certainly much more beneficial for your digestion (and therefore stomach gas and flatulence) than coffee or soda.
Bloating and Flatulence
By improving digestion, ginger tea will naturally reduce the potential for intestinal gas and flatulence resulting from a poorly digested meal, but can it have a positive effect if you already have a problem with bloating?
Ginger tea has muscle relaxant properties that can help relieve gases trapped in a constricted digestive system. Bloating and intestinal cramps are often caused by tension and spasms in your gastrointestinal tract. By gently relieving these constrictions ginger tea can help release trapped digestive gases and alleviate bloating.
This same calmative, relaxing effect on your intestinal environment is likely to be the reason why the tea is such an effective remedy for excessive flatulence. By stimulating the process of digestion and relaxing the smooth muscles of the digestive tract, ginger tea helps the food you eat pass through your system more easily.
The more smoothly and effectively your meals travel through your gastrointestinal tract, the less chance of blockages in your system that can lead to prolonged food fermentation and those really smelly farts.
Other Health Benefits of Ginger Tea
- Ginger tea has been found to be an effective heartburn remedy. The volatile oils and other active compounds in ginger help improve the function of the lower esophageal sphincter in preventing acid reflux. Ideally have a cup of ginger tea before a meal that could give you heartburn, though it may still prove effective if you are already experiencing acid reflux.
- Tea made from ginger is a useful treatment for nausea and motion sickness. Some studies have shown ginger tea to be even more beneficial than certain prescription drugs for either condition. It is also recommended for morning sickness in pregnant mothers where drugs are best avoided.
- Compounds in ginger have been demonstrated to reduce inflammation within the body and ginger tea can be a helpful treatment for those suffering from arthritis and joint pain.
- A strong ginger tea like this can improve circulation and has been reported to enhance mood and impart a sense of well-being in those that drink it.
- With its natural antibacterial and antiviral properties, drinking ginger tea regularly may help reduce the incidence of cold, flu and other respiratory ailments. It is also reported to improve a sore throat and even helps freshen your breath naturally.
Ginger Tea Side Effects and Precautions
- Though there are few commonly reported side effects of ginger tea, it is advisable to consult with a knowledgeable healthcare professional before having it regularly for people with serious heart conditions, diabetes, ulcers and bleeding disorders. In particular, drink all strong herbal teas like ginger away from prescription medications.
- While ginger tea may be an effective aid for morning sickness, it is recommended that pregnant women check with their doctor before using it too often. As is often the case with any herbal product, it is also generally not recommended for women who are breastfeeding.
- Large amounts of fresh ginger may irritate the mouth, esophagus and stomach. Some recommendations advised not exceeding 4 grams of the fresh herb daily.Ginger tea side effects would not generally be a problem with the homemade ginger tea recipe below as you are not ingesting the whole herb, but stop drinking it if you experience pain in your mouth or stomach.
Making the Tea at Home
Here is a simple way to make fresh and fragrant ginger tea at home:
- Get a medium-sized ginger rhizome that looks fresh without wrinkles or too many blemishes.
- Scrub it under warm water and carefully cut 3 to 6 slices as thin as you can and put them in a large mug.
- Add a small amount of honey and/or lemon if you like and pour very hot, but not boiling water over the slices (turn off the kettle just before it boils).
- Cover and let steep for 5 minutes.
- Drink and enjoy.
If you don’t have time to make up ginger tea at home, or would just like to be able to take it to work easily, there are also some delicious prepared ginger teas and blends available for better digestion and less flatulence.
Have you tried the benefits of ginger tea for improving your digestion and reducing intestinal gas? I’d be interested to hear how ginger tea works for you, particularly for digestive problems.
Photo 1: michelle@TNS / Photo 2: Llez