9 Benefits of Lemon Ginger Tea

Lemon ginger tea has strong antioxidants that help prevent disease, lower glucose levels, and help with weight loss.

little brown table with ginger tea on top of it
by
Sarah Bullard, MS, RD, LD
— Signos
Dietitian and Nutrition Writer
Green checkmark surrounded by green circle.

Science-based and reviewed

Published:
February 29, 2024
November 30, 2022
— Updated:
January 31, 2024

Table of Contents

Now that cooler weather is here, warming up with a hot cup of herbal tea is an inviting way to support overall wellness. Lemon ginger tea is a relaxing, caffeine-free, and nutrient-rich tea offering many health benefits.

Lemons are a good source of vitamin C and have strong antioxidant capabilities, while ginger’s medicinal properties have been used for over 2,000 years.1 Ginger root, scientifically known as Zingiber officnale, contains polyphenol components like gingerols, which are responsible for its antioxidant, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.1

Pairing the two together produces a relaxing drink full of health benefits. The sour taste of lemon and the sweet and spicy taste of ginger combine to make a tea that people enjoy worldwide. You can purchase pre-made lemon ginger bags or create your own at home.

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Lemon Ginger Tea Nutritional Profile 

Lemon ginger tea can help you stabilize your glucose levels as you reap numerous other health benefits. Unsweetened lemon juice and ginger are both low-glycemic index foods, which are digested slowly and won’t significantly affect your blood sugar levels. Lemon juice has a glycemic index of about 20, while fresh ginger has a glycemic index of 15.2, 3 The small portions used in the average lemon ginger tea recipe and the anti-diabetic effects of both ingredients can lead to an even lower glycemic response.1

An 8-oz serving of unsweetened lemon ginger tea from a pre-made tea bag provides no calories, fat, sugar, sodium, and only 1 g of carbohydrates.⁴ When making your tea from scratch, there will be a slight increase in micronutrients as fresh lemon juice is used.

The average homemade lemon ginger tea recipe includes 2 ounces (oz) of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of fresh ginger.

2 oz lemon juice provides:23

Calories: 14

Carbohydrates: 4 grams (g)

Protein: 0.2g

Fat: 0g

Vitamin C: 23.6 milligrams (mg)

Potassium: 62.8mg

1/4 cup fresh ginger provides:24

Calories: 19

Carbohydrates: 4g

Protein: 0.4g

Fat: 0.2g

Vitamin C: 1.2mg

Potassium: 100mg 

It’s important to remember that adding any sugar-containing sweeteners will increase the calories and carbohydrate content. Be mindful of any added ingredients and their impact on the nutrition facts of your hot tea.

9 Benefits of Drinking Lemon Ginger Tea

Drinking lemon ginger tea may support many avenues of health, as research shows a connection to positive effects on the digestive system, sinus cavity, immune system, and heart.

Boosts Immune System

Lemon and ginger are potent antioxidants, and ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can help fight chronic inflammation.1, 5 So, combining the two ingredients with hot water can make a delicious tea and boost your immune system.

A study on rats showed that consuming a lemon and ginger mixture daily can help prevent the growth of cancer cells, even causing some tumors to shrink.6 Still, more research is needed to understand the potential anti-tumor effects on human subjects.

Promotes Heart Health

Ginger has been well-studied concerning metabolic syndromes and linked to improved lipid profiles, inflammatory markers, and diabetes markers. Ginger helps lower the risk factors, such as body fat, excess weight, and waist circumference, that may play a role in common health issues.10

Ginger is often included in herbal formulas that aim to treat blood circulation and anemia issues, but there is mixed research regarding its effects on total cholesterol.19 Still, ginger may improve LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure when included in a well-balanced diet.20, 22

Citrus flavonoids from lemons can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, supporting heart health. As mentioned, lemon-derived flavonoids can help with weight loss and improve insulin and glucose levels, ultimately reducing the risk of heart disease.12

Alleviates Nausea and Vomiting

Systematic reviews show that ginger can be considered a safe and promising tool to prevent first-trimester nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.9, 10 Of the 14 studies reviewed, eight showed a reduction in nausea during pregnancy.10 One study found ginger to reduce the incidence of vomiting for 47% of the women after six days of use.9

However, professionals do not recommend that women close to labor or those who have a history of miscarriage or irregular bleeding use ginger.9

Nausea relief using ginger during chemotherapy has mixed results. Eight out of 16 trials showed a connection between ginger and reduced nausea.10 If you experience nausea, drinking ginger tea may offer some relief.

Improves Brain Function

Nobiletin, a flavonoid found in citrus fruit peels, has been linked to anti-dementia and neuroprotective activity in animals. Researchers are encouraged by lemon peels' effects on cognitive function, indicating they show promise in developing drugs to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.7

Similarly, ginger may offer neuroprotective benefits for those at risk of developing Alzheimer’s Dementia. Ginger root can help fight free radicals that cause oxidative stress and contribute to neurodegenerative disease.16 Furthermore, research has shown a connection between the consumption of dried ginger extract and improved memory in rats, indicating it can support optimal cognitive function.17

Reduces Pain and Inflammation

A cup of warm tea is often associated with comfort, and science has been able to prove that connection for women who experience dysmenorrhea or severe menstrual pain. Dysmenorrhea is a widespread occurrence in women, so relief from pain can significantly improve quality of life.

A recent study found that women with intense menstrual pain experienced improved symptoms when ginger was used in addition to pain medications.8 Some researchers even consider ginger a comparable treatment to NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, giving women a more accessible and natural way to treat menstrual pain.18

Manages Diabetes 

Both ginger and lemon reduce glucose levels and insulin resistance.10, 1, 2 Rutin is a citrus flavonoid that can lower hyperglycemia and act as an antioxidant. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress, a factor related to diabetes complications.12

Still, it’s important to remember that sweetened lemon ginger tea may have an adverse effect on your blood sugar levels. Be mindful of any added sweeteners that may spike your blood glucose levels.

Helps in Weight Loss

Ginger may also help with weight loss, according to a systematic review of 14 studies. Supplementing with ginger significantly decreased body weight, lower fasting glucose levels, and reduced insulin resistance.11

Citrus flavonoids found in lemons have also assisted with weight loss by improving insulin resistance and glucose levels. Intake of citrus flavonoids is associated with improved cardiovascular health as well.12

Lemon ginger tea may also support healthy digestion through several mechanisms. For example, ginger may help speed up gastric emptying, which can alleviate a full stomach and feelings of bloat.10 Lemon extracts have also been found to increase gastric movement and reduce heartburn.13

Keeps You Hydrated

Lemon ginger tea is made with water, meaning it can affect hydration status. And since it is caffeine-free, it is not likely to act as a diuretic. This can be beneficial for your day-to-day hydration needs and especially helpful for sick days, as extra liquids help you stay hydrated when sick.

Research is limited regarding lemon ginger tea and its effects on nasal congestion. However, some research (and maybe your grandmother) recommends hot beverages in general to help thin mucous related to colds, flu, or allergies.14 Even a tiny amount of relief from annoying colds and stuffy noses is appreciated.

<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn More: </strong><a href="cinnamon-tea-benefits">Cinnamon Tea: 11 Health Benefits, Including Immunity and Blood Sugar</a>.</p>

Are There Any Potential Side Effects?

While lemon ginger tea is generally considered safe for consumption, individuals with certain medical conditions may need to limit their consumption. 

  • Excessive Carb Content (When Consumed With Added Sugars): Drinking large amounts of sweetened lemon ginger tea could elevate glucose levels in those with diabetes, so avoid adding sugar-containing sweeteners. Sweeteners can be in the form of honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, and table sugar. Look for 0 g of total carbohydrates on the food label to ensure you aren’t consuming hidden sugars from your sweetener
  • Blood Thinning: The research is limited, but ginger may affect blood clotting, so it’s important to consult your physician if you are on blood-thinning medication.21 If pregnant, ginger is generally recognized as safe for use in the first trimester if there is no history of bleeding disorders, miscarriage, or early labor.⁹
  • Stomachache: Ginger, when consumed in amounts greater than 2 g, can cause stomachache or heartburn.10 Limit intake to 1 g per day to prevent adverse effects unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.

How to Prepare Lemon Ginger Tea

Lemon ginger tea is a popular flavor for pre-bagged tea leaves. However, if you prefer to satisfy your craving for hot tea with a homemade recipe, you only need boiling water, a fresh lemon, and fresh ginger.15

Lemon Ginger Tea

Ingredients:

64 oz filtered water

1/4 cup peeled lemon zest

1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. In a large stainless saucepan, combine the water, lemon zest, and ginger.
  2. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.
  3. Cover and steep for 4 hours.
  4. Strain the liquid into a large pitcher and throw away the solids.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice.
  6. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  7. Serve hot or iced.

Save time by making a large batch to enjoy throughout the week, or mix it into your smoothies.

How Does Lemon Ginger Tea Affect Blood Sugar?

Lemon ginger tea can help reduce blood sugar through its potent antioxidant capabilities. Individual antioxidants found in both lemons and ginger have exhibited the ability to lower glucose levels, reduce oxidative stress, and support weight loss. 

Avoid adding sweeteners like honey, sugar, or agave nectar to your tea, as they are digested quickly and raise blood glucose levels accordingly. If you want to add a little sweetness to your tea, try adding a pinch of stevia, allulose, or monk fruit, as these sugar substitutes are unlikely to cause a significant blood sugar spike. 

Tips for Consumption

Lemon ginger tea is often praised as a detox tea, and while there is limited evidence to support such a claim, it can offer many other health benefits. This tea helps prevent high glucose levels and many chronic health issues.

Consider these tips for consuming lemon ginger tea and maximizing its benefits:

  • Add other anti-inflammatory spices and foods like garlic, turmeric, vinegar, or cinnamon. Garlic is a strong flavor, but the tea will still have significant health benefits even if it’s omitted. 
  • Brew green tea to use as the water portion of the lemon ginger tea to gain even more antioxidant power.
  • Drink it regularly to prevent dehydration. Lemon and ginger contain potassium, which plays a role in water retention. Plus, anything liquid at room temperature counts towards your fluid intake. 
  • Try starting your day with a warm cup of lemon ginger tea to help wake up your digestive system and prevent constipation. Having a cup after a meal may also be helpful to soothe indigestion or an upset stomach. 
  • Serve it over ice in the summer and hot in the fall and winter. 

Want to learn more about nutrient-dense foods and drinks that can support your health and wellness? Learn more about nutrition and weight loss with Signos’ science-backed advice. Signos can help you learn about your body’s response to different foods and beverages and provide healthy recipes to help you lose weight, boost your metabolism, and improve your health.

<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Also Read: </strong><a href="green-tea-weight-loss">Drinking Green Tea: Will it Help with Weight Loss and Fat Burning?</a>.</p>

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References

About the author

Sarah Bullard is a registered dietitian and nutrition writer with a master’s degree in nutrition. She has a background in research and clinical nutrition, personalized nutrition counseling, and nutrition education.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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