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. It is believed that phenolic compounds, primarily gingerol and shagaol, and various other volatile oils are responsible for ginger tea’s beneficial effect on our digestive system.
The ideal time to drink it would be just before a meal and possibly a small cup while eating. Tea made from ginger would certainly be much more beneficial for your digestion (and therefore stomach gas and flatulence) than coffee or soda.
Digestion and Flatulence
By improving digestion, ginger will naturally reduce the potential for intestinal gas and flatulence. 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 the digestive system. Bloating and intestinal cramps can be caused by tension and spasms in our gastrointestinal tract. By gently relieving these constrictions, ginger tea can help release trapped digestive gas and alleviate bloating.
This same calmative, relaxing effect on our GI tract 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 we eat pass through our system more easily.
The more smoothly and effectively our meals travel through our gastrointestinal tract, the less chance of blockages in our 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. It is believed the active compounds in it help improve the function of the lower esophageal sphincter in preventing 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.
- Compounds in ginger have been shown to reduce inflammation and it can be a helpful treatment for those suffering from arthritis and joint pain.
- A strong ginger tea like this can benefit circulation and has been reported to improve mood and impart a sense of well-being.
- Drinking the tea regularly helps reduce the symptoms of cold, flu and other respiratory ailments. It also improves a sore throat and helps freshen our breath.
Ginger Tea Side Effects and Precautions
- Though there is no conclusive scientific evidence against ginger or known side effects of ginger tea, it is advised to consult with a knowledgeable healthcare professional before using the tea regularly for people with heart conditions, diabetes, ulcers and bleeding disorders.
- While ginger tea may be an effective aid for morning sickness, it is recommended that pregnant women check with their doctor before using it regularly. As is often the case with any herbal product, it is also not recommended for women who are breast-feeding.
- 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 here with homemade ginger tea as you are not ingesting the whole herb.
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 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 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 credit with thanks: Llez