Ginger's active compounds work to reduce nausea, ease stomach and intestinal discomfort and reduce inflammation. Folk medical systems around the world have traditionally used this herb as medicine for stomach, heart and inflammatory conditions, as well as for colds and flus. Brewing ginger tea offers a safe way to benefit from ginger, since it doesn't cause side effects in most cases. Like all supplements and alternative treatments, however, there is some risk. If you're pregnant, breast-feeding, have gallstones, a heart condition or diabetes, consult with your doctor before drinking ginger tea.
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Ginger stimulates circulation and increases blood flow while preventing blood clotting. It could increase your risk of bleeding, especially if you have a bleeding disorder or are taking any medications that slow blood clotting. Drinking ginger tea is not recommended in the final weeks of pregnancy due to the increased bleeding risk. According to an article published in "Der Anaesthesist" in 2007, consuming ginger around the time of surgery is also a risk for increased bleeding. If undergoing surgery, you should avoid drinking ginger tea within the two weeks prior to it.
A pilot study published in "Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental" in 2012 found that ginger reduced appetite and increased feelings of satiety in overweight men. The study researchers suspect that ginger's ability to modulate concentrations of the hormone serotonin may play a role in suppressing appetite. Because it's a pilot study, however, more research is needed to validate these results. If you're trying to gain weight, be aware that drinking ginger tea may potentially reduce your appetite.
Speak with your doctor before drinking ginger tea if you're on any medication, since it does interact with certain drugs. Avoid mixing ginger tea with blood-thinning medications, such as warfin and aspirin. Ginger may lower blood sugar and blood pressure, so speak with your doctor if you're taking medication for diabetes or high blood pressure because you may not need as much if you drink ginger tea regularly. Ginger also interacts with herbs that stimulate blood flow and slow blood clotting, including clove, garlic, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, turmeric, angelica. Combining ginger with these herbs could increase your risk of bleeding.
Ginger can cause upset stomach, diarrhea and heartburn in very large doses. Drinking a few cups of ginger tea a day won't cause you to overdose, however, and you most likely won't experience side effects. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends eating no more than 4 grams of ginger daily and no more than 1 gram daily for pregnant women. Keep this in mind when using fresh ginger to brew tea to reduce your chance of suffering any side effects. If you're using tea bags, do not take more than directed on the label, or weigh the teabags to make sure you're not having more than 4 grams in a day.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginger
- MedlinePlus: Ginger
- Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental: Ginger Consumption Enhances the Thermic Effect of Food and Promotes Feelings of Satiety Without Affecting Metabolic and Hormonal Parameters in Overweight Men: A Pilot Study
- Der Anaesthesist: Herbal Medications. Possible Importance for Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine