Ginger Tea: Best Herb to Improve Nutrient Absorption (when made properly!)Updated: October 23, 2018 Natural Remedies
Therapeutic ginger tea is ideally made with fresh organic ginger root that is steeped in a manner that maximizes it’s amazing benefits to the digestive process. Fermenting a ginger tea infusion into homemade ginger ale is also very helpful.
Digestion Problems at Epidemic Levels
Antibiotics and other gut flora altering drugs like the Pill have the potential to decimate the microbial balance in the gut. This impacts nutrient absorption in a negative way with persistent digestive problems the inevitable result.
According to Martin Blaser, author of the book Missing Microbes: How Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues, the average child receives 17 courses of antibiotics by age 20 (1). Nearly 50% of adults have used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days with nearly 11% using five or more drugs within the past month.
Is it such a surprise that digestion and nutrient absorption is so impaired in many people today?
Environmental factors such as chemical residues like glyphosate on food also insidiously alter the gut environment slowly over time by harming beneficial microbial colonies allowing pathogenic strains like candida, parasites or even viruses to dominate.
And glyphosate residue is everywhere in our food supply. Recent FDA tests even found glyphosate residue in baby oatmeal (2). Still think buying organic is such a waste of money?
The bottom line is that we have so many assaults on our gut flora today – many of which we have no control over! And, when gut flora is not in beneficial balance for whatever reason, digestion and nutrient absorption suffer even when eating an excellent diet.
Important Sign that You Could Use Some Ginger Tea!
One easily observable physical sign (there are many) that poor nutrient absorption is occurring is manifested in the fingernails.
Vertical lines in the fingernails are typically indicative of malabsorption of nutrients (3). The more pronounced the lines appear to be and the more fingernails that have them, the more extreme the problem.
While conventional medicine suggests that such lines or ridges are normal and occur naturally when a person ages, this is far from the truth. Something is preventing the nutrition in food from reaching the nails when this condition presents. This “something” is typically digestive in nature ranging from thyroid issues, candida, parasites, and poor, imbalanced intestinal function in general.
Ginger Tea Encourages Digestive Fire
A single herb is not going to counteract all of the cumulative health effects of exposure to drugs and chemicals which have negatively altered gut function. Please do not think that ginger tea is a silver bullet of some kind!
However, regular consumption of ginger tea with meals can help in a significant way while healing is occurring.
“Everything good is found in ginger” declares an ancient Indian proverb (4).
When ginger is made into tea in the proper manner, this most beneficial herb for digestion can be unleashed in the most effective manner.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the highly active, volatile oils and pungent phenol compounds, such as gingerols and shogaols, are what make ginger so powerful (5).
In Ayurvedic medicine, ginger tea is suggested for treating imbalances of all phases of the digestion including absorption and elimination issues. Consuming ginger especially as a properly prepared herbal infusion is especially effective. It kills parasites, viruses, and other pathogenic microbes that are preventing absorption.
There is a verse in Ayurveda that suggests that everyone should eat fresh ginger or drink ginger tea before meals to enhance digestion. Ginger increases agni, or digestive fire and improves assimilation and transportation of nutrients. This is likely due to its powerful anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects according to the International Journal of Preventative Medicine (6).
Both traditional and modern medicine recognize the benefits of ginger to the human physiology. Ginger tea made into an herbal infusion is the easiest way to experience these benefits on a daily basis especially if poor nutrient absorption is a problem.
Food sources such as eating a few thin slices before a meal are helpful too (just less convenient). Now you know why sushi restaurants serve pickled ginger as a condiment! Traditionally, the ginger aids digestion and serves to help eliminate any pathogens that might be present in the raw seafood.
Ginger Tea Contraindications
Note that consuming ginger and drinking ginger tea is not advisable in cases where vertigo, chronic skin disease, or excessive bleeding occurs. It is safe to consume ginger in moderate amounts during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Some women find it helpful for reducing morning sickness symptoms. Others find it helpful for reducing symptoms of motion sickness.
It is recommended to consume no more than 4 grams of ginger per day from all food sources. Pregnant women should not take more than 1 g per day (6).
Proper Preparation of Ginger Tea
If you are experiencing digestive issues particularly in the area of malabsorption and would like to try ginger tea as a remedy to help speed the healing process, here’s how to make it properly. Hint: skip the ginger tea bags.
Ginger Tea Recipe
Makes one quart
2 inch piece of unpeeled whole ginger root (in a pinch, 2 ounces/ 57 grams bulk dried ginger root may be substituted)
1 quart or larger glass jar with lid
Chop an unpeeled 2-inch piece of whole ginger into coarse pieces. If you can, source organic ginger as it will be more potent. Remember that ginger is a root; hence, growth in uncontaminated, chemical free soil is important.
Place ginger pieces or dried ginger root in a 1 quart or larger glass jar. Add one quart of boiling filtered water.
Screw on the lid and leave on the counter for 8 hours.
Strain out the ginger bits and refrigerate the ginger tea liquid. Freshly made ginger tea will spoil rapidly so use it up quickly. Prepare a fresh batch within a day or two.
How much ginger tea to drink?
Drink 2 cups of ginger tea per day (sipped throughout the day) if you weigh between 125 – 150 lbs (57 – 68 kg).
Add an additional one half cup per day for every 30-40 lbs (14-18 kg) additional weight. Similarly, if you weigh less than 125 lbs (57 kg), reduce dosage by one quarter cup for every 15-20 lbs (7-9 kg).
Other Ways to Benefit from Ginger
If you would like some other ideas for unleashing the benefits of ginger in your home, try these useful ideas:
- Power Shot Recipe (wheatgrass plus fresh ginger juice for clearing congestion).
- Ginger Bath (helps to sweat out the toxins and detoxify).
- Homemade Ginger Ale Recipe (yes, using real ginger!)
- Homemade Ginger Snaps (healthy, grain free cookies that everyone will love)
- The Master Tonic (natural anti-viral remedy)
- 11 Best Natural Antibiotics (using ginger as an antibiotic is discussed)
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.