In this article, we examine the potential benefits and risks of ginger, and some of the scientific evidence for these, as well as how to make ginger water at home.
Ginger water may help with pain, nausea, and weight loss.
Although there are studies that support the potential health benefits of ginger, there is limited research on drinking ginger water specifically. Most studies do not indicate whether the participants took ginger in capsule form, added it to food, or drank it as ginger water or tea.
However, ginger and ginger water may be helpful for the following conditions:
People have long used ginger as a herbal treatment for nausea. In a 2015 review, researchers looked at nine studies in which people used ginger for postoperative nausea, chemotherapy side effects, viral nausea, and morning sickness. The studies, although not always clinically watertight, all indicated that ginger provided a reduction in nausea and vomiting.
One study in rats suggests that ginger might reduce cholesterol levels. The rats ate a high-cholesterol diet, which increased their total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoproteins. The researchers then found that also feeding the rats supplements containing ginger prevented high cholesterol in the bloodstream.
However, more research is needed to determine if ginger would have the same effects on cholesterol levels in humans.
Blood sugar control
Ginger water may help control fasting blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
In one 12-week study, researchers divided 41 people with type 2 diabetes into two groups. One group took 2 grams of a ginger powder supplement each day, while the second group received a placebo drug. The people who took the ginger experienced a significant reduction in fasting blood sugar.
In another study, researchers divided 10 men into two groups. One group drank hot ginger water after eating breakfast. The other group did not. The men who drank the ginger water reported greater feelings of fullness.
Although the study was small, and additional studies are necessary, it suggests that ginger water might have a role in weight management.
Risks and side effects
Drinking ginger water appears to be safe for most people. However, there may be some situations when it is best to consult a doctor first.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there are some concerns that ginger may interfere with blood-thinning medication. Although research is inconclusive, people who take blood thinners should speak with their doctor before drinking ginger water.
People who drink ginger water in excess may experience mild side effects, including:
One study, which used data from 1,020 women, reviewed the safety of ginger during pregnancy. The researchers found that using ginger during pregnancy to treat nausea and vomiting did not increase the risk of:
- preterm birth
- birth malformations
- a low Apgar (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration in newborns) score
However, although no studies have concluded that ginger causes harm in pregnancy, it is still best to talk with a doctor before drinking ginger water while pregnant.
How to make ginger water at home
People can make ginger water at home and add lemon to improve the taste
Ginger water is available as herbal water, tea, and juice. It can be drunk either hot or cold. People can buy any of these products online.
Alternatively, a person can make ginger water at home. The best way to make it is by using fresh ginger root, which people can find in grocery stores in the fresh produce section.
A common way to make ginger water is as follows:
- grate 1.5 teaspoons of fresh ginger
- boil 4 cups of water
- add the ginger to the water
- remove the water from the stove
- allow the ginger to steep for about 5 to 10 minutes
- strain the liquid to remove ginger pieces
- allow the water to cool enough to drink or place in the refrigerator and drink cold
Ginger has a strong taste. For some people, adding a flavoring, such as honey or lemon, may improve the taste.
Research is not conclusive that drinking ginger water improves a person's health. However, limited studies do show some possible benefits. Since drinking ginger water appears to have few risks for most people, it may be worth a try. It may also encourage drinking more water, which is a good way to stay well hydrated.
It is relatively easy to make ginger water at home. As with all health supplements or remedies, it is best to talk with a doctor before trying ginger water.