When it comes to simple homemade remedies, especially for colds, ginger tea with honey is probably one of the most common traditional concoctions known today. Even with the rise of modern medication, this remedy continues to be used by many with reports of fantastic results. But does tea with ginger and honey have other benefits or is it just good for soothing symptoms of cold and flu alone? In today’s article we shall be delving more into finding out more of the science behind the benefits of ginger tea and its side effects.
What Is Ginger Tea With Honey?
As the name implies, this is a tea made with two primary ingredients – ginger root and some honey. Ginger is not only used as a spice in many dishes but it has been used for thousands of years as a traditional medicine. Traditionally this simple root has been used for the treatments of ailments, such as colds, nausea, arthritis, migraines, bloating and hypertension. Some have even used it as an aphrodisiac (26, 12).
Honey is the original sweetener. Who isn’t familiar with this thick and sweet golden liquid that’s produced by bees using the nectar of flowering plants. The use of honey by humans has been traced as far back as 8000 years ago during the Stone Age. Its uses have ranged from embalming the dead, the treatment of insomnia, skin disorders, eye ailments, imbalances of the lungs and anemia and even as a contraceptive and a laxative, among many other uses (29).
While this tea is often made with just the two listed primary ingredients, you can modify a simple ginger tea with honey recipe and add more herbs and spices to not only make it spicier and more flavorful, but to also add more health benefits.
Health Benefits Of Ginger Tea With Honey
To fully grasp the possible benefits of ginger tea with honey, we must look at the potential health benefits of our two main ingredients separately so we understand how a simple cup of this brew could positively impact our health.
Health Benefits Of Ginger
May Help Ease Motion Sickness
If you suffer from motion sickness and do not have your motion sickness medication at hand, a quick cup of ginger tea with honey could help you survive your journey with no incidences. In a study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, researchers theorized that ginger helps prevent motion sickness by reducing the nausea, tachygastria activity, and plasma vasopressin induced by circular vection (7).
May Prevent Nausea And Vomiting
Several studies have shown that having some ginger tea can be incredibly beneficial to people who constantly suffer from nausea – especially pregnant women, cancer chemotherapy patients and those with the above-mentioned motion sickness.
- A review of studies consisting of about 1278 pregnant women revealed that not only did this root significantly improve the symptoms of nausea but it also did not pose a significant risk for spontaneous abortion or side effects like heartburn and drowsiness. The study also found a trend toward improvement in vomiting, but it was not statistically significant (2).
- In 2015, the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences found that instead of relying on traditional acid reflux controlling drugs like domperidone, levosulpiride or metoclopramide, this root can be used as an alternative medicine for pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting and on chemotherapy induced nausea (4).
With that being said, it’s always smart to err on the side of caution, especially for at risk persons such as pregnant women. One study published in 2017 cautioned that ginger could lead to adverse effects such as allergic reactions and anticoagulant, or blood-thinning, in pregnant women (30). Please speak to your doctor about using ginger for nausea if you are or may be pregnant.
Improved Heart Health
According to a cross sectional study published in 2017, daily ginger intake was associated with decreased risk for hypertension (high blood pressure) and coronary heart disease (CHD) (8).
Weight Loss And Management
If you have been looking for some weight loss tips and tricks then having some ginger tea throughout the day might help you along on your journey – a theory supported by several scientific studies.
- A study done on 10 overweight men showed that having 2 grams of ginger powder dissolved in a hot water beverage for breakfast led to a significant effect of ginger on the thermic effect of food – increasing the amount of energy it takes to digest and absorb the food they ate (11).
Increased thermogenesis is good for weight loss as it means your body burns some extra calories, preventing them from being stored in the body as fat. Researchers also found that this drink also led to reduced hunger and greater feeling of satiety which ultimately means eating less throughout the day (11). In line with the calories in calories out theory, creating a negative energy balance, i.e., eating less than what your body needs ultimately leads to weight loss.
- A review in the Phytotherapy Research journal found that this root might help prevent obesity by increasing thermogenesis (calorie burning) and lipolysis (fat breakdown), suppressing lipogenesis (fat accumulation), inhibiting intestinal fat absorption, and controlling appetite (3).
Improves Blood Sugar Control
For people with diabetes, some ginger tea could be beneficial for you.
- One trial published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition saw that consuming 1600 mg of ginger for 12 weeks led to improved blood sugar control, reduced A1C, insulin, and triglycerides among people with type 2 diabetes (27).
- A study published in 2015 revealed that by just having 2 grams of ginger powder a day, you might be able to help reduce the risk of some chronic complications of diabetes. The study results showed that ginger improved fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c, apolipoprotein B, apolipoprotein A-I, apolipoprotein B/apolipoprotein A-I and malondialdehyde in type 2 diabetic patients (28).
An important distinction to make here is that these benefits will only occur if you have plain ginger tea and not ginger tea with honey. Adding honey to your drink will probably spike your blood sugar which goes against doctor’s orders.
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Aids In Bloating And Indigestion
A review published in 2019 saw that ginger can help reduce bloating and cramping, prevent flatulence and indigestion, and decrease the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter – all issues that cause stomach pain and indigestion (13).
This root has also been reported to help prevent colds, soothe sore throats and ease congestion (12), possibly lower the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (15), as well as relieve pain caused by arthritis, menstrual cramps, and muscle pain (6, 14, 23).
Health Benefits Of Honey
Because honey is made from plant nectar, it contains plant chemicals that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect your body from cell damage due to free radicals. Several studies have shown that consuming honey can help not only enhance your body’s antioxidant defense system but it may also help reduce your risk of illnesses caused by oxidative stress (21, 18).
Improved Heart Health
Like ginger, honey has also been proven to help improve your heart health.
- A very recent study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health revealed that honey may protect from cardiovascular illnesses and improve heart function by lowering blood pressure, improving blood fat levels, regulating your heartbeat, and preventing the death of healthy cells (5).
- Propolis, which is a honey-related product, has shown promise in test tube and animal studies as an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that has the potential to benefit cardiometabolic health (9).
Can Soothe Coughs And Sore Throats
Several studies done on children (and their parents) have shown that this substance works wonders as a treatment for coughs in children. What’s even better is that unlike modern medicines, honey was found to have zero side effects, especially in children (19, 20, 25). Honey should not be given to infants under 12 months old, however, due to the possible presence of botulinum spores.
Increased Nutrient Intake
Just one tablespoon of honey contains small amounts of a number of minerals and vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc which are all good for your health (16).
According to a study published in 2011, honey – especially manuka honey – contains several antibacterial properties that can kill bacteria such as E. coli which causes food poisoning, Staphylococcus aureus which causes skin infections, and H. pylori, a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and chronic gastritis (22).
Other health benefits of honey include treating diarrhea (1) and protection against and treatment of common diseases like diabetes mellitus, and those affecting the respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. It has also been theorized to be useful in cancer treatment because of the many types of antioxidants present in it (17).
Side Effects Of Ginger Tea With Honey
While these two ingredients are revered for their incredible health benefits, ginger tea with honey can still have some unforeseen side effects. Here are some side effects you should watch out for
- Allergies – Allergies towards honey and ginger are rare but not unheard of. If you start experiencing symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, swelling, watery eyes, an itchy throat, rashes or hives, stop drinking this tea and go get an allergy test to establish what is causing this reaction.
- Heartburn – While ginger has been shown to help treat heartburn (specifically in children (24), research has also shown that in adults this spice may sometimes cause heartburn (14).
- Can cause excessive bleeding – Drinking ginger tea with honey everyday could lead to excessive bleeding after getting hurt:
It could inhibit platelet thromboxane – an agent that helps with blood clotting and the constriction of blood vessels (24).
When taken with blood thinning medication it could increase the chances of bruising and bleeding – always talk to your doctor if you are on medications before adding any new teas or supplements.
- General discomfort – If your ginger tea with honey often has large amounts of ginger, it could lead to abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, as well as mouth and throat irritation (10).
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The Bottom Line
The benefits of ginger tea with honey clearly show us that this is a great herbal tea to have at hand. Not only is this such a simple brew to make, but a single cup has incredible potential health benefits. If you are looking for a caffeine-free tea option to have throughout the day, or at night as a night-cap, we would highly suggest this easy to make drink.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A randomized clinical trial on the effect of honey in the acute gastroenteritis (2017, jrmds.in)
- A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- A systematic review of the anti-obesity and weight lowering effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and its mechanisms of action (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Can nausea and vomiting be treated with Ginger extract? (2015, researchgate.net)
- Cardioprotective Effects of Honey and Its Constituent: An Evidence-Based Review of Laboratory Studies and Clinical Trials (2020, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Double-blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial of ginger ( Zingiber officinale Rosc.) addition in migraine acute treatment (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of ginger on motion sickness and gastric slow-wave dysrhythmias induced by circular vection (2003, journals.physiology.org)
- Evaluation of daily ginger consumption for the prevention of chronic diseases in adults: A cross-sectional study (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Evidence on the Health Benefits of Supplemental Propolis (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Ginger (2020, nccih.nih.gov)
- 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 (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Ginger From Ancient Times to the New Outlook (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Ginger on Human Health: A Comprehensive Systematic Review of 109 Randomized Controlled Trials (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Ginger on Human Health: A Comprehensive Systematic Review of 109 Randomized Controlled Trials (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Ginger Supplementation in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Honey (2020, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Honey as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Its Molecular Mechanisms of Action (2018, hindawi.com)
- Honey for acute cough in children (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Honey for treatment of cough in children (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Honey with high levels of antioxidants can provide protection to healthy human subjects (2003, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Influence of Ginger and Cinnamon Intake on Inflammation and Muscle Soreness Endued by Exercise in Iranian Female Athletes (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Integrative Treatment of Reflux and Functional Dyspepsia in Children (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Is honey an effective treatment for acute cough in children? (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Amazing and Mighty Ginger (n.d., ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The effect of ginger consumption on glycemic status, lipid profile and some inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, Apolipoprotein B, Apolipoprotein A-I and Malondialdehyde in Type 2 Diabetic Patients (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Traditional and Modern Uses of Natural Honey in Human Diseases: A Review (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Which potential harms and benefits of using ginger in the management of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy should be addressed? A consensual study among pregnant women and gynecologists (2017, biomedcentral.com)