Ginger tea is a widely used natural remedy for digestive issues, like heartburn or acid reflux.
Ginger has not only been used for digestive problems for centuries, but it is also one of the few herbs whose effectiveness is backed by scientific studies.
What is ginger tea?
Ginger tea is a herbal tea made from ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizome or root.
Ginger is native to China, India, and Japan, where it has been used as medicine and spice for cooking since the 1500s.
The benefits of drinking ginger tea
Ginger is loaded with bioactive compounds such as polyphenols (gingerols, shogaols, and paradols) and terpenes which are responsible for the different bioactivities of ginger.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which protect the body against inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, colitis. In arthritis, it reduces the production of leukotrienes that promote joint inflammation.
Its antioxidant activities protect against oxidative stress, as it sequesters free radicals that cause cell destruction.
Drinking ginger tea helps to decongest the nasal cavity and relieves breathing problems that arise from a common cold or environmental allergies.
Ginger’s bioactive compounds zingerone, gingerol, and shogaol have anti-obesity activities.
They inhibit adipogenesis, the formation of adipocytes, which are specialized fat-storing cells. They also enhance the breakdown of fatty acids.
Is ginger tea good for acid reflux?
Ginger tea is an effective natural acid reflux remedy. It is widely used to prevent or relieve symptoms and scientific studies are re-enforcing its effectiveness.
Ginger offers several health benefits for acid reflux sufferers:
- restores gut microbiota
- promotes gastric emptying
- enhances muscle contraction
Ginger contains phenolic compounds such as gingerols and shogaols that are potent anti-inflammatory agents. They enhance anti-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukins 10 and decreases pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor-alpha).
Studies have shown that gingerols and shogaols reduce the production of proinflammatory mediators like nitric oxide and prostaglandins E2.
These anti-inflammatory activities result in:
- reduction in gastric contractions
- reduction in swelling
- relieve from irritation of the gastrointestinal walls
These are beneficial to the esophagus, as inflammation and irritation of the esophagus is crucial trait for acid reflux.
By accelerating gastric emptying, the backflow of food from the stomach to the esophagus that happens in the case of acid reflux is reduced or eliminated as food that enters the stomach is quickly moved to the small intestines.
The quicker the stomach contents are emptied, the less likelihood for their backflow into the esophagus.
Enhanced muscle contraction
Ginger enhances the contraction of the smooth muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter preventing the backflow of acids.
This is one of the reasons why ginger is used in treating nausea and vomiting as is the case with most pregnant women. Research studies have shown that taking 1g per day of ginger is effective in eliminating nausea and vomiting in pregnancy with no significant side effects.
Ginger tea has been proven to relieve acid reflux. However, moderation is key as with the consumption of everything else.
How to make ginger tea for heartburn
Ginger tea is typically prepared by:
- chopping the ginger roots
- adding water
- optionally adding honey/lime
- boiling in a pot for a few minutes
Ginger can also be prepared by grating the ginger roots, placing them in a cup or bowl of hot water, and allowing them to steep for a few minutes then strained.
Whatever the method used, ginger tea preparation finishes up with the addition of honey and sometimes lemon or limes for a great taste.
Best ginger tea for GERD
Ginger with turmeric
Ginger tea can be mixed with turmeric (Curcuma longa) for even better prevention and relief from GERD.
- contains polyphenol curcumin which shows antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities
- prevents damage to the epithelial cells of the esophageal mucosa caused by reflux esophagitis (esophageal inflammation)
- its antioxidant nature protects against oxidative stress which plays a key role in the strategy to combat the pathogenesis of esophageal mucosa damage caused by acid (14).
Ginger with sugar
Some people drink ginger tea with a little sugar. Adding a little sugar alone to ginger tea generally is safe such as table sugar, or sugar substitutes like honey, jam, and maple syrup.
However, people who still suffer from symptoms after adding a little sugar are advised to completely withdraw sugar and consume their ginger tea without sugar.
Warm ginger tea
As concerns drinking ginger tea hot or cold, research is lacking to determine which is most soothing for GERD. However, studies have shown that drinking warm has been successful in managing GERD.
Warm water increased acid clearance in the esophagus and ingested pharyngeal secretions. Water also tightens the intestines, improves bowel movements, relieves constipation and acidity.
Ginger is a widely used and effective heartburn remedy. Many people drink ginger tea to soothe acid reflux and other digestive symptoms.
You can try mixing it with turmeric or some lemon and honey for better taste and enhanced effect.
If you are taking medications, make sure to talk to your doctor before consuming ginger. It might interact with blood thinners and medications for diabetes and high blood pressure.
Frequently asked questions
Ginger tea can be taken before or after meals but for help with acid reflux and GERD, it is advised to drink between 30 minutes to one hour before meals and at least twice daily.
Too much ginger can cause reflux. It is generally advised that those suffering from acid reflux not drink more than 5g of ginger a day as it can trigger reflux and heartburn.
Adding lemon or honey to ginger tea as has been discussed above is generally safe and soothing for acid reflux. However, those who are more sensitive to sugar might experience symptoms.
Generally, ginger tea is drink hot or warm and the studies that have been done so far to access the effect of ginger tea on acid reflux usually talk about hot or warm tea.