No one wants to feel unwell, especially over the Christmas period. Yet, almost all of us have been there; suffering from a nasty cough or cold just as the festive season comes around. It's not all bad, however; not when you have a cup of Ginger Tea by your side to ward off the sniffles.

Ginger Tea has existed for literally thousands of years and has since spread throughout the world. As of the 21st Century, countless scientific institutes have also recognised the benefits of Ginger Tea, which are not just limited to those who are feeling ‘under the weather’. Aside from its astounding health benefits, Ginger Tea can likewise provide a real treat to the taste buds. So, why not save yourself the frustration of finding the perfect Christmas present this year, and instead give the greatest gift of all, pretty impressive for your morning cup of herbal tea, don’t you think?

Ginger Root

What is Ginger?

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a member of the Zingiberaceae family. It is related to a number of other well-known plants, including those that produce the herbs/spices of cardamom and turmeric. But, unlike these two particular ingredients, ginger is extracted from a plant that no longer grows in the wild. In fact, the Zingiber officinale plant only exists today due to widespread cultivation. For this reason, its origins are, to this day, largely unknown; although most believe its story begins in Asia.

Today, India is the largest producer of ginger, however, it can also be found growing in Africa and the Carribean (most famously Jamaica). The stem of the plant can reach heights of around one metre, while its lanceolate leaves grow up to 30 centimetres long. Nestled underground, meanwhile, is the rhizome; arguably the most important component of the plant. This rhizome is what most people know as the ‘ginger root’. It is unearthed when the plant is around 10 months old and is then washed, soaked, and sometimes boiled and peeled. Following this, the ginger root can be used as a truly delicious ingredient when added to a multitude of culinary dishes, as well as, of course, herbal tea!

Ginger Tea
What is Ginger Tea?

Broadly speaking, Ginger Tea is made from brewing cut pieces of the ginger root to be enjoyed in a hot (and tasty) beverage. It is completely caffeine free due to the absence of tea leaves, which makes it an excellent alternative to conventional tea or coffee unless, of course, you are trying our specially blended Ginger Black Tea.

Ginger Root Tea is easily recognised in both flavour and aroma. It has bold; almost peppery qualities, and is perfect for those who like an extra ‘kick’ to their cup. Despite this, Ginger Tea is far from overpowering, even when it comes to its signature spiciness. In China, this herbal tisane is often steeped with brown sugar, while in Korea, ginger root tea is sweetened with honey. Most famous of all, however, is the addition of lemon.

In fact, such is the popularity of this particular blend that it has long been a consumer product in its own right; blessing supermarket shelves around the world. We would be amiss if we didn’t mention our own, vastly popular Lemon and Ginger Tea, as well. When these two ingredients were first blended together remains largely unknown, although here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we cannot think of a better love story (‘When Lemon Met Ginger’, if you will).

Ginger Root Tea
The History of Ginger and Ginger Root Tea

Unlike many herbs and spices to originate from Asia, ginger has actually been known and used in the West for well over 2,000 years. However, in what is now present day China, ginger’s extensive usage possibly dates back 5,000 years. Many historians believe that, during this period, ginger was made into a special tonic that could treat a number of ailments prevalent in early Chinese society, it appears little has changed today.

It was also an ingredient favoured by the renowned Chinese philosopher and teacher, Confucius (551 BC – 479 BCE), who insisted that ginger be present at the table during every meal to aid digestion (he was absolutely right, as you will soon discover in our ‘Health Benefits’ section!). The name ‘ginger’ itself, meanwhile, actually originates from the ancient Sanskrit word ‘srngaveram’, which means ‘shaped like a horn’. This is likely in reference to ginger root and its overall appearance.

Ginger first arrived in Europe through Ancient Rome, where the spice was especially valued for its medicinal properties. Yet, after the fall of the Roman Empire, European trade in ginger was all but forgotten for many centuries. A resurgence would eventually take place after the Arabs took control of the spice trade from the east; a period in which the price of ginger rose dramatically. In fact, according to some records, 500 grams of ginger could sometimes cost as much as a live sheep during the middle ages.

By the 11th century, however, the price of ginger had greatly reduced, resulting in its popularity soaring throughout much of Europe; most notably England. It was here that, allegedly, King Henry VIII (1491 - 1547) recommended ginger’s usage when treating the plague. During the later reign of his second daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, ginger plants were carried on ships to the New World colonies in the Caribbean, where they would be grown and cultivated with great ease. It is also said that the Queen herself experimented with the unique flavours of ginger; creating a much-loved ‘man’-shaped dessert (yes, we are talking about the gingerbread man!). These small, sweet baked figurines were often given as gifts to Royal courtiers at Christmas, while today, they are enjoyed by near-enough everyone! (Believe it or not, we also have a Gingerbread Flavoured Green Tea for you to try!).

No one knows when Ginger Tea was first invented, although it likely pre-dated mass-cultivation. All we know for certain is that, in Asia in particular, this beverage has long been associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as well as the ancient practice of Indian Ayurveda. While these two methods of holistic healing are still in existence today (albeit less so), it is modern science that has, for the most, taken the reigns; leading the world into a new age of health-related discovery. But Ginger Tea’s significance does not end here, far from it, in fact.

In the last decade alone, many herbs and spices including, of course, ginger have been extensively studied in order to uncover their true potential. Now, ginger is recognised as one of the healthiest of them all; more importantly it is also proven!

Ginger Herbal Tea

Ginger Tea Benefits

It is known that there are, at least, 115 constituents in fresh and dried ginger; many of which are beneficial when consumed as part of a healthy and active lifestyle. This brew is also antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic, and contains fibre, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin C. Combined, these compounds work in harmony; improving your everyday way of life with every sip.

The frequent consumption of Ginger Tea is most famous for improving immune and digestive health, in particular. It can also provide relief to menstrual discomfort in women, and even help you to lose weight! Alas, with the Year New nearly upon us, could there possibly be anything more enticing than a delicious herbal tea that likewise ensures those pesky Christmas pounds are not around for long?

Ginger Tea and Digestive Health: Confucius certainly wasn’t wrong all those centuries ago, and there is proof of it, too. Like the great man himself, you too should consider a cup of Ginger Tea with meals to improve digestive health. This is because, according to many studies, ginger helps stimulate saliva and gastric juice production which, in turn, aids with digestion.

Ginger Tea is recognised as a calmative, and has a relaxing effect on your intestinal environment. It can also reduce the potential for intestinal gas and flatulence, which is often a result of a poorly digested meal. Bloating and intestinal cramps are almost always caused by tension and spasms in the gastrointestinal tract. By naturally relieving these constrictions, Ginger Root Tea can help release these trapped digestive gases, and can even alleviate bloating.

Ginger Tea and Immune System Health: Fighting illness can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, but having a strong immune system as your first line of defence can often be the deciding factor as to whether you win or lose this all-too-familiar struggle. Enter Ginger Tea; a beverage renowned for its ability to combat colds and flu before they have the chance to manifest. This is largely due to high concentrations of Vitamin C which, as most people will likely know, is a compound that famously strengthens the Immune System.

Further to this, ginger has long been associated with Folk medicine when it comes to treating nausea and vomiting. This is likewise proven today; so, if you are unlucky enough to already feel unwell, consider brewing a cup of Ginger Tea to alleviate these particular symptoms. Delving into further detail, many human-based studies have suggested that 1 gram daily of ginger may reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnant women, especially.

This is according to research published by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Brewed Ginger Tea averages at 5 grams of ginger per cup - so all the better! We do, however, recommend that women seek medical consultation prior to Ginger Tea’s consumption for purposes related to pregnancy sickness.

Ginger Tea and Weight Loss: At one point or another, we have all been bombarded with internet adverts blurting out false statements such as “These 7 steps will help you lose weight in just one week”; rest assured that this is not the case when it comes to Ginger Tea. In fact, like all of its other health benefits, this is scientifically proven (so, don’t just take our word for it!).

While further human-based studies are likely required in the near future, the initial findings show that compounds found in ginger can actually boost the metabolism. This, in turn, can help your body to burn fat at an increased rate. One recent animal-based study published in The Journal of the Science and Food of Agriculture, meanwhile, found that overweight rats who were given gingerol - a vital compound found in ginger were able to shed weight after a 30-day supplementation period.

The rats likewise showed improvements in blood sugar and leptin levels. Furthermore, ginger can act as an appetite suppressant; helping you to feel fuller after a meal. Alas, the possibilities are near-enough endless when it comes to Ginger Tea and its weight loss capabilities!.

Ginger Loose Tea

View our Selection of Ginger Tea and Blends

Now that we have just begun to scratch the surface of this remarkable tea, let’s explore the choices available through The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. To start, we have our simple, yet absolutely scrumptious Ginger Root Tea (if you enjoy the flavours and aromas of Ginger without further accompaniments, you will be hard-pressed to find a better beverage).

We also have our Lemongrass and Ginger Tea; a fascinating twist on a true classic! As the name likely suggests, this particular brew replaces lemon with lemongrass, and the results are truly divine! Then we have our Ayurveda Ginger Fresh Tea, which is an excellent choice if you are looking to balance your three Doshas. Ayurveda Ginger Fresh Tea is best applied to the Kapha Dosha which, according to Ayurvedic medicine, is the energy that controls growth in the body, and can also maintain the immune system. Yet these are just to name a few! We recommend you browse through our vast selection of teas containing ginger, and find the one that is best for you!