“Everything good is found in ginger,” states an old Indian proverb. That’s why Ayurveda often refers to ginger as a universal medicine. Chinese medicine, the other most ancient yet living tradition, also turns to ginger medicinally because it restores Yang, or hot energy. Currently, India and China produce most of the world’s ginger because it grows best in warm, damp areas.
The aromatic, spicy root has long been used in both traditional and Western healing systems to make tea. Ginger tea brings with it a host of powerful health benefits.
Ginger Tea’s Healing Effects
Researchers say the active volatile oils and pungent phenol compounds, such as gingerols and shogaols, are what give ginger its power, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Tea made from ginger has high levels of vitamin C and amino acids, as well as various trace elements such as calcium, zinc, sodium, phosphorus, and many others.
Drinking ginger tea can:
- Help the body absorb nutrients
- Help alleviate an upset stomach
- Help with irritable bowl syndrome
- Help with weight loss
- Help fight cancer
- Help manage glucose levels
- Improve blood circulation
- Improve the food digestion
- Increases the production of gastric juice
- Protect against Alzheimer’s Disease
- Open inflamed airways
- Reduce arthritic inflammation
- Relieve menstrual discomfort
- Relieve stress
- Stimulate appetite
Ayurveda also teaches that ginger tea has a powerful antispasmodic action, according to herbalist Dr. John R. Christopher.
Ginger Tea and the Doshas
Ginger tea’s heating properties and qualities make it useful for treating Vata imbalances, such as digestive issues, because it improves all three phases of gastrointestinal function (digestion, absorption, and elimination).
During cool weather, sip ginger tea throughout the day. During warmer weather, try a cup in the morning or before a meal. Ginger intensifies Agni (digestive fire) so the Kapha dosha may find drinking ginger tea—2 to 3 cups daily, especially before meals—useful to help stimulate slow digestion and sharpen dull taste buds.
Ginger tea can slightly increase Pitta dosha, so avoid drinking large amounts if your Pitta is out of balance.
How to Make Ginger Tea
To make 1 quart of ginger tea, chop an unpeeled 2-inch piece of whole ginger into coarse pieces and place in a 2- to 3-quart pot with one quart of purified water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, allowing the tea to simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the tea and store in a thermos bottle or glass jar.
To make 1 cup of ginger tea, take a piece of fresh, whole, unpeeled ginger root and grate 1 heaping teaspoon. Stir the ginger into a cup of boiling water and let steep for 2 minutes. Strain or let the ginger settle at the bottom of the cup. Let the tea cool for 2 minutes and then drink and enjoy! Your body will soon reap the many health benefits of ginger.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
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