I’m a big fan of fresh ginger for a cold or when I feel like I might be coming down with a cold. It has several medicinal properties, which help my body fight off those viruses that can cause upper respiratory infections. Ginger reduces nasal swelling and soothes a sore throat. I prefer fresh ginger to dried, but you can use dried if that’s what you have on hand.
Below you will find the medicinal properties of ginger as well as a simple recipe for an easy to make and effective ginger tea.
1) Ginger Is Anti-inflammatory
Ginger can help boost your immunity, according to a study published in June 2021. Researchers found that an anti-inflammatory diet including ginger is helpful for preventing upper respiratory viral infections. The researchers wrote: “Considering the immune system’s involvement, increased inflammation and involvement of the pulmonary system in Respiratory Viruses infections and the remarkable role of the anti-inflammatory foods for counteracting them, it is recommended to use a predominantly anti-inflammatory diet along with prevention/control and treatment protocols.” (1)
2) Ginger Is Antibacterial
In 2011 a lab test found that ginger proved more effective than antibiotics in fighting Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. Streptococcal pharyngitis, more commonly known as strep throat, is caused by one of these two bacteria. A newer lab study confirms that ginger has significant antibacterial effects. (2)
3) Ginger Is Antiviral
In addition to preventing an illness, ginger can also have direct antiviral activity against certain viruses. One study found that fresh ginger has direct antiviral activity against human respiratory syncytial virus in vitro. Another study found that ginger inhibits viral replication in influenza, and researchers concluded that ginger could be potentially useful for the control of influenza virus infections. (3)
4) Ginger Relieves Congestion
Ginger is a natural decongestant and helps thin mucus in the lungs. Make a cup of ginger tea and grab some tissues!
5) Ginger Relieves Pain
Besides fighting off colds, ginger can help relieve pain. Upper respiratory viruses, especially influenza, can bring on muscle aches and pains. Clinical trials have shown that ginger can also relieve menstrual pain, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), osteoarthritis, chronic low back pain, and migraines. One review stated that, “The use of ginger for its pain lowering effect is safe and promising.” (4)
Ginger For a Cold Tea Recipe
- 1 inch fresh ginger rhizome (root) cut into slices or ½ teaspoon dried ginger.
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups (12 ounces (0.45 kg)) water
- Put water into a saucepan, add ginger, and gently bring to a boil.
- Cover and simmer on very low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Strain and add honey and lemon juice.
- Teens and adults should drink one cup 2 – 3 times a day.
- Children aged 2 to 12 years can drink ¼ to ½ cup, 1 to 3 times a day, depending on age.
Note: If you want an extra anti-inflammatory, antiviral boost, you can add ½ teaspoon of licorice root when cooking your ginger. Licorice helps soothe particularly bad sore throats. Except for those with high blood pressure, adding this amount of licorice is perfectly fine for 2 to 3 days.
Whether you’re sick or not, ginger makes a great addition to your diet. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a warming herb, with a slightly spicy flavor. It’s also good for your digestive health and can help ease nausea. Ginger for a cold is a great, affordable, and natural remedy!
Resources & References
- Vahid, Farhad, and Diana Rahmani. “Can an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Be Effective in Preventing or Treating Viral Respiratory Diseases? A Systematic Narrative Review.” Clinical Nutrition ESPEN 43 (June 2021): 9–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnesp.2021.04.009.
- Journal of Microbiology and Antimicrobials Vol. 3(1), pp. 18-22, January 2011 Available online http://www.academicjournals.org/JMA ISSN 2141-2308 ©2011 Academic Journals
- Chang, Jung San, Kuo Chih Wang, Chia Feng Yeh, Den En Shieh, and Lien Chai Chiang. “Fresh Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) Has Anti-Viral Activity against Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Human Respiratory Tract Cell Lines.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 145, no. 1 (January 9, 2013): 146–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2012.10.043.
- Rondanelli, Mariangela, Federica Fossari, Viviana Vecchio, Clara Gasparri, Gabriella Peroni, Daniele Spadaccini, Antonella Riva, et al. “Clinical Trials on Pain Lowering Effect of Ginger: A Narrative Review.” Phytotherapy Research: PTR 34, no. 11 (November 2020): 2843–56. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6730.