Ginger tea is dried and powdered or grated fresh ginger steeped in hot water for approximately 10 minutes. It has a slightly sweet, but distinctly spicy flavor that appears otherwise delicate. There are several medicinal uses for ginger tea, although there is more evidence for some than for others. Ultimately, ginger's affect on blood pressure is uncertain.
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Blood pressure is the force your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, has a myriad of possible causes, but it generally results from excess resistance from your arteries against your heart as it pumps blood. Therefore, both increases in heart output as well as narrowing arteries can cause or exacerbate hypertension. Often, hypertension develops over many years and may not produce any symptoms, but can eventually lead to serious complications, such as strokes or heart attacks. One of the most common causes of hypertension is a poor diet, leading many to seek healthy foods that can help decrease the condition.
Evidence of Ginger's Benefit to Blood Pressure
Most sources that discuss ginger and its medicinal uses do not mention any benefit to blood pressure. However, Phyllis Balch does state outright that ginger helps lower blood pressure, among other benefits, in her book "Prescription for Dietary Wellness." In the book "The Complete Guide to Growing and Healing Medicinal Herbs," Wendy Vincent vaguely states, "ginger can aid in a variety of circulatory and digestive problems." The University of Maryland Medical Center indicates that preliminary studies suggest ginger can reduce cholesterol and prevent blood clotting, both of which can prevent increases in blood pressure. Moreover, MedlinePlus warns against consuming ginger while using blood-thinning and blood pressure reducing medication, as the root may thin blood too much or drop blood pressure too low.
Evidence Against Ginger's Benefit to Blood Pressure
On the other hand, MedlinePlus states that high doses of ginger can worsen heart conditions, which can include hypertension. If you consider this alongside the fact that most references do not indicate any benefit of ginger to those with hypertension, even those that claim ginger thins blood and reduces cholesterol, it may be safest to consider treating hypertension using other means. If you have high blood pressure, do not try to self-medicate. Consult your doctor.
Ginger tea is likely safe for most people, unless you're breastfeeding, have diabetes, have a cardiovascular disorder or you're pregnant. Hypertension is a cardiovascular disorder, so it's safest to avoid ginger if you have high blood pressure. Although some sources suggest that it can help blood pressure, others seem to warn against it. Those that do not mention blood pressure still indicate ginger has some cardiovascular effects, which may infer that these cardiovascular effects only seem to benefit hypertension, but actual use may prove otherwise. Your best option is to speak to your health-care provider or nutritionist to determine the best foods to include in your diet -- and, perhaps, foods you should exclude -- in order to bring your blood pressure under control.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- "Quick Access Patient Information on Conditions, Herbs and Supplements"; Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000
- "Prescription for Dietary Wellness"; Phyllis A. Balch; 2003
- "Eat To Beat Cancer: A Research Scientist Explains How You and Your Family Can Avoid up to 90% of All Cancers"; Robert J. Hatherill, Ph.D.; 1998
- "The Complete Guide to Growing Healing and Medicinal Herbs: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide"; Wendy Vincent; 2011
- MayoClinic.com: Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Ginger; Steven D. Ehrlich; November 17, 2008
- MedlinePlus: Ginger