Whether you simply love the fiery heat or need a cup of ginger tea to ease your ailments, you should be aware of these ginger tea side effects. Some are minor, while others could be quite serious. Find out what potential side effects there are from drinking ginger tea, and how much you’d need to drink to suffer from them.
Spoiler, you’d need to drink quite a lot!
What Is in Ginger Tea?
Ginger tea is made from boiling the root of the ginger plant in water. You could also use dried and powdered ginger to add to your matcha or other spices to make a masala chai. It’s a very popular tea and one that we love drinking!
The active ingredient in ginger, gingerol, has a range of health benefits and gives the ginger that spicy, fiery flavor. It’s similar to the compounds in chilis, peppers and other spices that have a lot of spicy heat.
There’s also a significant amount of potassium in ginger root, along with vitamins C and B6. Infusing ginger into water is less nutritional than eating ginger root raw, but far better tasting.
What Goes with Ginger?
Drinking ginger tea can be a bit too much for some people. It’s fiery, earthy and spicy. So, you’re probably tempted to add some other ingredients to help your ginger tea settle better in your stomach, such as:
- Lemon – it works well to freshen up the heavy earthiness of ginger… but it can be too acidic and upset your stomach further.
- Honey – it’s very sweet and tasty! Adding honey directly to boiling liquids can diminish its health benefits, so make sure you wait for the tea to cool to drinking temperature before adding a teaspoon of honey.
- Turmeric – another earthy spice added to ginger that’s becoming increasingly popular. Try not to go overboard as turmeric can have the same stomach upset and irritation side effects of ginger if you consume too much.
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5 Ginger Tea Side Effects
Ginger has a few side effects. Besides simply not liking the flavor, there are a few more serious side effects to watch out for if you have an existing medical condition. It’s unlikely that you’ll be allergic to ginger.
To feel these side effects, you’d need to consume more than 4 grams of ginger. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but there’s barely a gram of ginger left in your tea once it’s been strained out. One, two or even 3 cups of ginger tea in one day isn’t going to warrant any concerns.
If you’re drinking ginger tea liter after liter, like it’s water, then you could face these ginger tea side effects.
1. Blood Pressure
Studies have found that ginger can lower your blood pressure, which in most cases is a good thing! If you have high blood pressure, ginger tea is good to consume. However, for those with normal blood pressure, it can leave you feeling lightheaded and weak.
Furthermore, ginger can interfere with blood thickness by thinning it in a similar (but much weaker) way to aspirin. If you have trouble with blood clotting and excess bleeding, ginger could make that worse.
The vast majority of people won’t notice these symptoms, even when they consume a vast amount of ginger tea. Only those with blood pressure and clotting problems could be at risk.
Ginger is a fantastic herbal remedy for nausea during your pregnancy. It’s recommended by doctors too – whether it’s a cup of ginger tea or a few ginger cookies to munch on to beat morning sickness.
However, in very large doses (1500mg or more) there is some concern that it could increase the risks of a miscarriage, as it lowers blood pressure and thins the blood. The best thing to do is check with your doctor to find ginger-containing foods and teas that are way below this limit. Avoiding foods that contain a lot of ginger is fairly easy, so you have nothing to worry about.
3. Heartburn and Irritation
There’s some evidence that ginger could reduce acid reflux, but there’s far more suggesting that it can cause heartburn and irritation instead. Ginger contains gingerols (not a joke!) which is very similar to capsaicin, the active ingredient in many spices and chili peppers. This can irritate the stomach into producing more acid and feeling unsettled. The best way to avoid this is to eat smaller amounts of ginger and consume it with other foods that can absorb some of the spicy fire of ginger, like bread or rice or any other bland carb.
Ginger has mild laxative effects and, in small reasonable doses, can improve your digestion if you’re constipated or gassy. Of course, too much of a good thing usually goes the other way. Consuming too much ginger can speed up digestion more than you’d like, causing diarrhea.
The way to avoid this is the same for heartburn and irritation. Be sensible with how much ginger tea you drink and try to eat something with it that will settle your stomach at the same time. A few cookies with your tea is a nice treat to help the ginger go down!
5. Prevent Hair Regrowth
This was a new side effect that we discovered while researching deeper into the effects of ginger. A Chinese scientific study into the effects of gingerol on hair growth found that it inhibited hair growth. 10 micrograms of gingerol showed the strongest results. If you’re attempting to grow your hair long or have trouble with baldness, you might want to avoid consuming large amounts of ginger tea.
Gingerol can slow down hair growth, but don’t worry too much. It certainly won’t make your hair fall out!
Health Benefits of Ginger
With those side effects out of the way, let’s quickly touch on the health benefits of ginger. While the side effects are few and only applicable when you drink large quantities of tea, the health benefits are abundant!
- Relieve feelings of nausea from morning sickness or just stomach upset.
- Ginger could soothe muscle pain through anti-inflammatory properties.
- Reduce joint pain and stiffness from osteoarthritis, again with those amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
- Lower blood pressure (although we’ve mentioned that this could cause side effects in large doses).
- Relieve constipation – just don’t go crazy with the ginger or you’ll cause the opposite! Ginger relaxes the intestines and reduces spasms as well as speeding up the digestion process.
- Reduce pain from menstrual cramps significantly. Try a cup of ginger tea instead of reaching for the painkillers next month.
- Ginger could also lower cholesterol, although we need more human studies to confirm it.
- Enhance brainpower, memory, and functioning, as this study
- Ginger tea can also help fight infections and soothe colds, especially when it’s combined with honey and lemon. That’s a truly flu-busting tea!
To benefit from ginger, drink a cup or two of fresh ginger tea daily along with a balanced diet. Although these awesome health benefits might soothe your symptoms, leave the healing of illnesses to your doctor. Ask him or her for advice if you’re looking to use ginger for any ailments.
Light That Ginger Fire!
Ginger is a delicious and healthy drink. Your only real concerns should be whether or not you enjoy the ginger flavor and to sip slowly so you don’t burn your tongue in the hot tea! More notable side effects from diarrhea to stomach upset can be easily avoided by limiting your daily ginger intake to a sensible amount.
Unless you’re planning to drink ginger tea like it’s the only drink left on Earth, you should be completely fine.