The root of the ginger plant or, Zingiber officinale, is a well-known Asian seasoning and an aromatic ingredient in ginger ale, ginger beer and over-the-counter herbal cough remedies. Ginger may be helpful for reducing some minor throat symptoms, but clinical tests confirming its effectiveness are lacking. Herbal remedies can’t take the place of professional medical advice, so talk to your doctor to rule out an underlying condition if a sore throat persists, if it is severe or if you have other symptoms.
A tea made from the root of the ginger plant is slightly pungent in the mouth, which triggers the release of secretions that help clear throat congestion, according to the “Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine.” Ginger tea also may decrease throat inflammation, which can shorten the duration of laryngitis, a condition that makes it difficult to speak.
Gingerdiols, shogaols and gingerols are the active constituents in ginger tea, according to “PDR for Herbal Medicine.” In addition to being an anti-inflammatory, ginger might have antimicrobial properties, meaning it may inhibit the growth of fungus, bacteria and other microorganisms that can contribute to a sore throat. Scientific testing is necessary to confirm the effects of ginger tea in the treatment of throat disorders.
Prepare ginger tea by pouring a cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger or up to 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger root. Fresh ginger is available in the produce section of many supermarkets. Drink up to 3 cups per day to treat a sore throat. You also may find ginger tincture and herbal cough syrups that contain ginger in health food stores. Follow the dosage instructions on the packages.
Sore throats that last longer than a few days may be a symptom of a more serious disorder, such as strep throat. Ginger tea is generally safe for most people, but it carries a slight risk of miscarriage, especially at high doses, according to the "Gale Encyclopedia," so pregnant women should not drink ginger tea. Do not drink ginger tea if you have gallstones, a bleeding disorder or before a scheduled surgery. Ginger may interfere with some medications, so talk to your doctor before treating any medical condition with ginger tea.
- Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine; Jacqueline L. Longe
- PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd Edition; Joerg Gruenwald, Ph.D.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginger