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The benefits of drinking ginger tea

The benefits of drinking ginger tea

In teas, soups or curries, candied or dried - ginger is not just a bit player when it comes to food.

The benefits of drinking ginger tea

Aside from its distinctive flavour, the various vitamins and minerals mean it’s as healthy as it is delicious.

“Ginger has been proven to contain more than 100 different substances,” says Johannes Georg Wechsler, a professor of internal medicine and president of Germany’s association of nutritional doctors (BDEM).

Ginger is reputed to be anti-inflammatory, a decongestant and even to provide pain relief. Used in tea it is a popular cure for colds and coughs – the strong substances that are released in boiling water are very warming.

Wechsler recommends drinking a litre of ginger tea every day for eight days to help get rid of a cold. “It’s important to use boiling water and to put in slices of raw ginger,” he says.

“An organic piece of ginger doesn’t necessarily have to be peeled,” according to nutrition expert Daniela Krehl.

That’s not the case with imported ginger, from China for example. “In that case the peel could contain pesticides so it’s very important to peel it,” she says.

Some people also swear by ginger as a weight-loss aid. The root is said to promote the digestion of fat and increase the production of stomach acid. Although no one should rely on ginger alone to lose weight.

“If you get a sudden urge to eat, it can help to chew on a piece of ginger, for example,” says Krehl. “It reduces your appetite.” The root also contains vitamins B and C as well as minerals including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium and phosphorous.

There are also lots of myths about the properties of ginger which have yet to be proven scientifically. The root is supposed to help with cramps, for example, and encourage the onset of labour in pregnant women. “There’s no scientific evidence of that,” says Wechsler.

But are there any drawbacks? Is there such a thing as too much ginger?

“Ginger has been used in medicine for 2,000 years and there are no serious side effects,” according to Wechsler.

However, it’s best not to eat more than four or five grams a day. “Otherwise you could get heart burn or indigestion,” says Krehl.

And you shouldn’t eat ginger all the time, only for certain periods. “The sharpness of the substances it contains are extremely stimulating to the stomach and the stomach lining is attacked,” says Wechsler. That can lead to stomach and intestinal complaints in the medium term, he says.

People on certain medications should also be careful because ginger can cause unwanted side effects. In those cases people should consult their doctors or a pharmacist.

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