Apr 23, 2014
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Ginger tea cures what “ales” you

Ginger tea is easy to make

Recently, a friend of ours was enjoying a fancy ginger ale and touting his love of ginger. “If you guys are wondering what to get me for Christmas,” he announced, “ginger!”

I thought that was a pretty weird thing to say.

Seven days later, for entirely unrelated reasons, I became obsessed with ginger tea.

Delicious ginger tea

John and I had had terrible colds all week, and as we were finally beginning to see the end, I felt a cough coming on. That’s how it usually goes for me: after a week’s worth of post-nasal drip, my throat is so irritated that I can’t help coughing, which irritates my throat more, so I cough more, for at least a week. It sucks.

I looked up cough-suppressing remedies and ginger came up. Ginger always comes up when you’re looking up remedies, have you noticed that? Sore throat—ginger. Stomachache—try ginger. Late mortgage payment—how about some ginger. But I had never heard of it as a remedy for congestion, and I loathe congestion, so I decided to try it. And while we’re at it, here’s everything else ginger wants to help you with (sources at the end of this post):

Ordinary benefits of ginger

  • Digestion, nausea, gas, etc. That’s a classic, but did you know it also improves your appetite if you have some before a meal? I didn’t.
  • Congestion. Ginger is good for loosening phlegm and mucus from the lungs, which is nice when you’ve got a cold. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, so it can help reduce the swelling of your sinuses that aggravates your stuffy nose.
  • Arthritis. Give that joint an anti-inflammatory. Joints love anti-inflammatories.
  • Motion sickness. Studies suggest that while it’s not as effective as motion sickness medicine, it’s better for motion sickness than nothing at all. I think they say something similar about those silly magnet bracelets, though, so…grain of salt. Unless you dig those silly magnet bracelets. Maybe you’re right.

Curious claims of ginger

  • Aphrodisiac. It’s something to do with blood flow, I think, but a lot of info on this is obscured in ancient philosophy so I can’t really say. If you’re willing to accept medical data in dead languages, then look no further; this research comes from ancient Sanskrit texts.
  • Cure for cancer. Something in ginger is being studied because it slows metastasis, and some studies have shown ginger killing cancer cells in test tubes. They’ll keep studying this, presumably.
  • Dosha balance. Doshas are the three biological energies of the body and mind, according to Ayurvedic wisdom, and the prevalance of any one of them defines your character and weaknesses. It’s best to keep all three in balance, which apparently ginger is ideal for. Watch out, though—if you have too much ginger, you could aggravate your pitta, turning you into a hot-headed pain in the ass. If you are already predisposed to being a hot-headed pain in the ass, one or two daily cups of ginger tea is plenty for you. Earthy-watery Kapha types like me can have all the ginger tea they want. I think.
  • Late mortgage payments. I definitely made this up.

Fresh ginger root

Aaaanyway, I was doing my cough-research and I had some fresh ginger on hand, so I made some ginger tea and prepared to choke it down in the name of medicinal value.

I was not expecting it to taste good, like hot, spicy ginger ale. But better, less sweet, and soothing.

So I made some more ginger tea.

And more ginger tea.

Now we keep ginger tea in the fridge because we like it so much. Also, it does seem to help with our congestion. And my friend who wanted ginger for Christmas? He’s getting a gallon of it, specially labeled. I don’t think he’s sick or anything, but now he never will be. Plus it should keep his doshas in line. So. That’s good.

Homemade ginger tea recipe

How to Make Ginger Tea

 

Ginger tea recipe

1. Wash, peel and thinly slice some ginger root. I like my ginger tea strong because I want to feel it working. In general, I make three mugs’ worth at a time, using 20 slices of ginger; use as little as half of that if you prefer less bite. To make a whole gallon of tea, I used about four inches of ginger root.

2. Bring water and ginger to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about half an hour. Strain and stir in honey to taste. Enjoy hot, or chill and drink cold.

If you’re making a jug or a pitcher of tea to keep around or to give as a gift, feel free to download and print my ginger tea labels! (Horizontal and vertical versions are included in the PDF.) Printing the labels out on inkjet sticker paper makes quick work of labeling bottles for optimal awesomeness.

Free download: Ginger tea labelsFree download: Ginger tea labels

Ginger references:

About Kristina

Kristina Ackerman is a busy freelance web designer living and DIYing with her boyfriend John in a little house in Atlanta, GA, USA.
  • Pura

    So awesome! Can’t wait to try it and stoked that you included the label. You are too cool.

  • http://glueandglitter.com Becky Striepe

    Ooh yum! I love ginger tea!!

  • http://culinaryadventuresinthekitchen.com/ Alison

    This looks both beautiful and delicious.

  • Abigail

    how much water do you use? 3 cups/mugs and then let it reduce?

    • http://knucklesalad.com Kristina Ackerman

      Yup, that’s what works for me. Like other kinds of tea, it’s not a sensitive science. You can use less water for stronger tea, or the opposite. We like ours strong!

  • Ca4ole

    Kristina, thank
    you for linking this in to Food on Friday.
    We are now getting a great collection of dishes using ginger together. I hope you have stopped by some of the other
    links to check them out!

    Ps I have just signed up to follow your blog by Google Reader. A follow back to Carole’s Chatter would be
    wonderful – or have you already followed?
    Cheers

    Ps
    If you would like email reminders of future Food on Fridays, just pop by
    and comment and include your email – I won’t publish it – and the reminder will
    be by bcc so it will remain private

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  • Faith

    Saw this link on Pinterest…Just made this and drinking it right now. A-MAZ-ING! love it! Used a repurposed large wine bottle to store it in my fridge, after my hot nightcap first of course! Is it neccessary to peel the ginger?

    • http://knucklesalad.com Kristina Ackerman

      Hi Faith! Hooray! Peeling-wise, it may not be altogether necessary, though I find that the peel may start to disintegrate in the water, creating a kind of sediment too tiny to strain out. Depending on your strainer, and/or your tolerance for a little sediment at the bottom of your cup, maybe it doesn’t matter so much!

      • Faith

        Thanks! The hubby loved it too, so it didn’t last long. I’m getting ready to make my second batch. I’m planning on not peeling it this time and I’ll see if I notice a difference. I have a small loose leaf tea strainer that I’ll use. Do you do anything with the ginger pieces afterwards? I hate throwing them out when they’re still so fragrant!

        • http://knucklesalad.com Kristina Ackerman

          Most of the beauty has cooked out of the ginger at that point, so I haven’t found a use for the leftovers. I admit I have left them out to shrivel and fade many a time, because I couldn’t bear to throw out perfectly good ginger. Of course, leaving them out to shrivel and fade takes quick care of the “perfectly good” part, and makes it Very Easy to throw it away. :)

          Please do let us know if you discover any good science after your non-peeling experiment!

          • Leal

            I leave the ginger pieces in the tea after I add the honey to my taste. As I freeze the tea as well, I make it in large batches. After the tea is made, I strain out the ginger and dry it in my dehydrator. It still is a tasty treat – perhaps not as strong as if I made ginger candy but still good enough for me.

  • Jemtotheworld

    Awsome! I love Ginger also, I love it so much that I make ginger candy. want the recipe? :D

    • Rose

      Yes, please! I’ve been buying ginger candy, would love to make my own!

  • Donna Carnahan

    Thanks for sharing, I feel better already. Love your writing, you have a great sense of humor, and your instructions are well written and easy to follow.
    Gold star for you!

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  • Celina

    I just made this & it turned out fantastic! I’m definitely going to make more & freeze it for later. Great recipe!

  • Lala

    I wish more people know the benefits of ginger. I love ginger tea. I usually just take a nice sized piece of ginger, cut it up in big chunks, add one or two sticks of cinnamon, and some loose green tea leave – boil on low for about an hour and let sit and cool off for a couple of hours – the longer it sits, the more potent the flavor will be. When I have a sour stomach, I just boil the ginger alone and chew on a few pieces – yes chew – and it helps alleviate my stomach ache almost immediately.