Cold Comfort: Ginger Tea Is a Soothing Natural Elixir


Defy the endless stream of flus and colds passed around each winter with a satisfying sip of hot tea. I’m no stranger to the commercially purchased night time, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever, knock-me-out-so-I-can sleep-through-this-misery medication, but I wouldn’t call it soothing. Remember when mom would leave a glass of ginger ale on your nightstand when you were sick? Turns out she was onto something.

Ginger root has been a medicinal “go to” for thousands of years. Rich with antioxidants, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and a host of other bacteria- and virus-fighting agents, ginger has healing properties that are helpful in combating a variety of ailments, including upset stomach, migraines, menstrual cramps, stress, and yes, even the common cold. And served in the form of a hot cup of tea, it might even have mom’s ginger ale beat. Unlike mom though, it will not rub your belly and sing to you. Mom still wins, but ginger tea is easy to make and its effects are swift. We’ll say it is running a very close second.

How to Make Ginger Tea

  • Peel and grate a segment of fresh ginger the length of about an inch and a half per 8 ounces of tea desired.
  • In a small pot, bring desired amount of water to a boil.
  • Add grated ginger.
  • Allow to simmer 10 minutes and remove from heat.
  • Strain ginger solids from the tea before serving.

The “heat” of ginger tea has a bit of a kick. If you’ve ever had a bottle of Vernor’s or another “hot” ginger ale, this is the equivalent without the sweeteners. While great for the system, the intense flavor may be tamed with the addition of honey, lemon or by adding traditional tea leaves to the pot when steeping.

You need not be sick to appreciate the tangy zest of this elixir, but it’s sure nice to have on hand when the nose begins to run or the stomach turns sour.  If you expect to catch every single cold as I have this year, you may wish to stock up. Ginger tea can be produced in larger batches and stored for weeks in the refrigerator and later served hot or cold.

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