Move over lemon water, there might be a cooler kid in town – ginger water! Also known as ginger tea, this drink is becoming quite popular due to all the health claims surrounding ginger itself.
Technically, though, using ginger has been around for centuries. And if we get really specific, it’s been used for medicinal purposes to treat mostly stomach aches, diarrhea and nausea in Asia for more than 2,500 years. Hmm, maybe like so much else, it seems more popular today because of Instagram.
a cup of coffee: Cup of tea with ginger root on grey wooden table
Cup of tea with ginger root on grey wooden table
Ginger Ale – Homemade lemon and ginger organic soda drink, copy space.
Ginger homemade tea infusion on wooden board with lemon still life
ginger lemonade with honey and lemons
drink against flu and cold
Anyway, the health claims are endless: alleviate nausea, improve symptoms from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, prevent blood clotting and even decrease one’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease. But is there conclusive scientific research to substantiate any of this? The answer is both yes and no.
Does Ginger Have Health Benefits?
One published scientific review, which looked at the relationship between cancer and ginger, found that gingerol, a potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compound found in ginger, was shown to have cancer-inhibiting effects.
Another scientific review paper that compared experimental studies, specifically conducted in-vivo and in-vitro, suggested a potential positive outcome with more research needed. And yet one more study showed promise specifically with colon cancer.
A study looking at the connection between osteoarthritis and ginger showed that the daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury, suggesting that ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties could be beneficial in osteoarthritis patients.
Related Slideshow: Tea customs around the world (Provided by Photo Services)
Tea customs around the world
Tea is what unites many cultures, and at the same time sets them apart. Different countries have their own customs and ways of preparing a tea. Explore some of these unique tea customs from around the world.
High Tea and Afternoon Tea – UK
English High Tea usually involves tea with accompaniments such as bread, pies and cheese and was originally a working class meal served at the end of the work day, around 5 pm. In comparison, Afternoon Tea is a social event enjoyed mainly by the middle and upper classes, where tea is taken alongside cake and sandwiches in a leisurely but refined fashion.
Ice Tea – USA
Scorching summers usually make Americans (especially in the hot south) discard hot tea for a cooler version – a thirst-quenching drink made with plenty of sugar or flavoured syrup and ice.
Samovars – Russia
Tea drinking in Russia is linked with samovar which is essentially a vessel combining a bubbling water heater and a teapot. A previously prepared tea kept warm in a dish on the top of the samovar is poured into a cup, which is then diluted with boiling water from the vessel and served.
Koicha and Usucha – Japan
Japanese culture is known for its tea rituals, one being the elaborate Japanese tea ceremony known as ‘chado’ (the way of tea). The complete ceremony lasts four hours and includes a light meal followed by a serving of ‘koicha’ (thick tea) and ‘usucha’ (a lighter tea), which are prepared from a fine powder green tea called ‘matcha’ mixed with hot water in respective proportions.
Mint Tea – Morocco
A mixture of green tea and mint leaves, the drink is sweetened with sugar and poured from a height into glasses. According to custom, refusing to accept the drink when offered it by a host is rude.
Butter and Salt tea – Tibet
Po Cha or Butter and Salt tea is made from yak milk and is a tea unique to Tibet. A pinch of salt is also mixed with the butter and added to the tea.
Masala Chai – India
Indian is one of world’s biggest producers of tea. One of the popular tea variants is Masala chai, which is generally taken with milk and sugar and mixed with rich spices such as cardamom, ginger, clove and cinnamon.
Three-layered tea – Germany
Tea is poured over a rocks of white sugar that melts slowly. Heavy cream is then added to form three layers, which are made of sugar, tea and cream.
Green Tea – China
Legend has it that that tea was first discovered by the Chinese emperor Shennong in around 2000 BC, when a dead leaf from a tea bush fell into his cup of hot water. One of China’s most popular – green tea – is consumed on both casual and formal occasions.
As for lowering cholesterol levels, a single study found that dietary supplementation with ginger prevented hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) in rats that ate a high-cholesterol diet. And one systematic review concluded that ginger may not have an effect on fasting blood glucose levels in persons with Type 2 diabetes. However, ginger did improve HbA1c levels, showing blood sugar control over a longer period of time.
There have definitely been a wide range of studies – many with promising results. However, one must keep in mind that a large amount of these studies were either conducted in test tubes or on mice – and those that included humans had small sample sizes. Therefore, nothing at this point is 100% conclusive.
Are There Side Effects To Consuming Ginger?
The good news is there are little to no side effects reported in regards to ginger consumption. However, there are some concerns that pregnant women shouldn’t exceed 1,500 mg/day, so one should definitely check with their doctor. As for healthy individuals, one shouldn’t consume more than 4 grams/day. But honestly, I highly doubt anyone is consuming that amount in a single cup of tea.
What I see to be the most promising attribute of ginger water/tea at this point is that it’s hydrating. Most people don’t consume enough water daily and if they enjoy the flavor of ginger, this will get them to drink more. One should make sure though that their choice of ginger beverage isn’t loaded with added sugars and one way to guarantee this is to make it yourself.
Make Your Own Ginger Tea
Peel and thinly slice ginger root, approximately one tablespoon. Put in a saucepan with around 8 ounces of water and bring to a boil. Depending on how potent you like your tea, you could add either less or more of the ginger. Once boiling, cover with lid, turn off heat, let stand for around 15 minutes and then strain through colander.
The remaining ginger-flavored liquid can be either enjoyed warm or refrigerated to be served cold later. If you like your tea sweet, I suggest adding a teaspoon of honey or even some cinnamon. You could also experiment with adding some other flavors to the water, such as lemon or lime. Bottoms up! ff