Nothing is as soothing as a cup of homemade tea with fresh ingredients, especially when they include ginger. Ginger is one of the most common home remedies, often used to treat nausea, and to make warming and aromatic teas and cookies. Today, this incredible ingredient is available from most supermarkets. You can use it to make delicious Indian chai, spiced lattes, or to make a simple ginger tea with lemon. It's very easy to make, and it tastes absolutely delicious.
What is ginger tea?
Ginger tea is an infusion made with fresh or dried ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale). Ginger is one of the most commonly used spices and herbal remedies around the world. It gives festive notes to Christmas cookies, warming note to Indian chai, and delicious aroma to many Asian dishes. Pickled ginger is used as a palate cleaner when eating sushi, and candied ginger is sold as a snack and as an herbal remedy for treating nausea. Reducing nausea may be one of the most known potential benefits of ginger, but there are many other benefits this amazing root has to offer.
What are benefits of ginger tea?
Ginger may offer many potential health benefits. The most important compounds in ginger are gingerols, paradols, shogaols and zingerone, and all of them are responsible for the unique pungent flavour (1).
Just like with every other ingredient and tea, benefits will depend on how it was processed. The most commonly available types of ginger are fresh ginger, ginger powder and dried ginger, which may be processed further. The unprocessed fresh ginger has the highest content of gingerols, while dried ginger is higher in shogaols and zingerone (2). How much these ingredients influence the taste is clear when making a tea from either fresh or dried ginger – one will be spicier, fresher and more complex, while the other will be milder, spicy, but less pungent.
The most common use of ginger is to reduce nausea and vomiting, especially since it's safe to consume in pregnancy (3) and during chemotherapy (4). Other benefits include treating arthritis (5), cancer prevention (6) and reducing blood sugar levels, especially dried ginger (7). In winter, ginger, lemon and honey tea is often used for reducing symptoms of common cold and flu and for calming cough (8).
5 ways of making ginger tea
Ginger tea is easy to make at home, and there are different methods to use. You may enjoy the benefits regardless which method or type of ginger you choose.
1. Dried ginger
The easiest way of making ginger tea is with dried ginger. Dried ginger is available as a whole root, in slices and in smaller chunks. Dried ginger will be easy to strain, will give a clear infusion and it will be less pungent than tea made with fresh ginger. Another benefit of making tea with dry ginger pieces is that you can easily blend it with other ingredients – black, green and white tea, or tisanes such as dry mint, chamomile flowers or dried berries to create your own tea blend. Drying methods will have a different effect on compounds in ginger and make it more or less potent (9). However, all types will contain beneficial compounds. Try not to use ginger that's been stored for long, as the potential health benefits will decrease over time (10).
2. Fresh ginger
The best and the most aromatic way of making ginger tea is with fresh ginger. It will be more pungent and spicier than dried ginger, but light and refreshing at the same time, too. If you want to make pure ginger tea, this method may be the best choice. It requires some peeling, cutting and steeping or simmering, so it's also the most time-consuming. Use about 2.5 cm (1 inch) of ginger root per cup of water, peeled and cut into thin slices. You can either steep it in boiling water for about 10 minutes or simmer it.
3. Ginger juice
A great way to add fresh ginger to any tea is to juice the ginger first, then add it to steeped tea. Pure concentrated ginger juice is quite strong and spicy, and a great way to add both the benefits and a peppery warm note to your tea. If you don't have a juicer, simply peel the ginger first, grate it, and squeeze out the juice using a cheesecloth or a gauze swab. Even 1 teaspoon will add a lot of flavour, so add it carefully.
4. Ginger powder
If neither dried nor fresh ginger is available where you live, you can make tea using ginger powder as well. However, this method is creating a concoction, rather than infusion. Powder is very difficult to strain, so it's best used for lattes and creamy drinks, rather than making a clear tea. Use about 2 teaspoons of ginger powder per cup of water and steep or simmer in boiling water. You can blend it with other powders too, such as cinnamon or nutmeg. If you have a fine mesh strainer or a cheesecloth, strain it after 5 minutes.
5. Ginger paste
Using ginger paste is both convenient and easy way of making tea. Since ginger pastes are usually intended for cooking, choose those without ingredients such as oil or garlic. You can also make your own ginger paste and store it in the fridge. Use 2 teaspoon of paste per cup of boiling water, let it steep for 5-10 minutes and strain.