Ginger has antiviral properties and has been used for centuries as a traditional remedy for a cough, sore throat, body aches and other symptoms of cold and flu.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, some people have asked could fresh ginger root and ginger tea be useful for symptoms of COVID-19?
Firstly and importantly, follow the advice of the CDC and other medical authorities to avoid infection. This is no cure.
Call your healthcare provider for medical advice immediately if you develop a fever, persistent cough or difficulty breathing.
While it’s too early for scientific tests specifically on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, antimicrobial herbs like ginger are commonly used for symptoms of other viral infections, such as coughing and a painful sore throat with influenza.
There are also scientific studies showing Zingiber officinale (ginger) boosts immunity and can help you recover from the damage viruses do within your body, particularly to your lungs.
Ginger for Coughs
A persistent dry cough is one of the most common symptoms of infection with the new 2019-nCoV virus. It is also regularly seen with other respiratory illnesses like seasonal influenza.
Freshly prepared ginger root, or strong ginger tea like this one I use, can help soothe a hacking cough, particularly when combined with honey.
This research found that anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger relax airway smooth muscle, thus reducing coughing and bronchospasm. The researchers also suggested this mechanism would be beneficial for asthma sufferers.
How to Use Ginger Tea Bags for Coughs
For a ginger tea treatment for coughs, first make up a double strength tea (2 tea bags or half the water) to drink.
Add a teaspoon of raw honey, or suck on a small amount of it separately between sips of the tea, or soon after you finish drinking it.
Stop Coughing with Fresh Ginger and Honey
Follow the step by step recipe for homemade ginger tea here.
If you have a persistent dry cough, as is reported as a major symptom of SARS-CoV-2 infection, then make an extra strong tea with at least double the fresh ginger.
Add a teaspoon of raw honey, or suck on it separately soon after finishing your ginger drink.
Importantly, if you are pregnant or using prescription medicine discuss taking large amounts of this herb with your doctor. You can learn more about precautions and potential ginger side effects here.
Sore Throat Remedy
A common symptom of colds and flu is a sore throat, often related to persistent coughing. It has also been reported as a symptom of coronavirus.
Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds, like gingerols and shogaols, that can soothe a painful sore throat on contact.
The herb’s antimicrobial properties also combat both bacterial and viral infections, including those in the delicate tissues of your throat.
This study found ginger extract inhibited Candida albicans, Enterococcus faecalis and Streptococcus mutans. These gram-positive bacterium and pathogenic yeast are primary causes of many oral infections.
Throat Soreness Treatment Instructions
Use ginger root tea for a sore throat in the same way as you would for a heavy cough — brew up a strong cup and sip on it slowly.
True raw honey, or even better still antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal Manuka honey, can also be beneficial for throat infections and soreness.
However, cheap supermarket honey is heated and often adulterated with high fructose corn syrup so should not be used in any natural remedies for sore throats or coughs.
Ginger’s Anti-Inflammatory Effects
The influenza virus and other respiratory viral infections, including COVID-19 according to medical reports, often cause body aches and pains due to systemic inflammation.
Ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale) contains substances that inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines and down regulate inflammation causing iNOS and COX-2 gene expression, according to extensive scientific research.
Given this, eating ginger in meals or drinking it in a herbal tea could help reduce body aches and pains associated with viral infections. This will help you feel better as your body fights off the virus.
Benefits for Immunity and Recovery
Fresh ginger in particular has been shown in studies to have antiviral activity against forms of human respiratory viruses.
The sliced herb in teas, or grated and added to food, is also commonly recommended to build up general immunity and as a preventative against catching the common cold.
Importantly, there is no evidence that ginger would work against the novel coronavirus because the human population has not developed any immunity to it.
At best, taking ginger may help ease symptoms of this new disease, like a persistent cough, sore throat and body aches and pains.
It anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may also help speed up recovery from viral infections like influenza and the common cold.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can ginger kill viruses?
Scientific studies show compounds in ginger stimulate the immune system to kill viruses. Ginger tea or the fresh root can potentially ease sore throats, reducing coughing and improve symptoms and recovery time for cold and flu viral infections.
Does ginger reduce mucus?
Ginger root and tea is a natural antihistamine and decongestant. This herb’s anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties reduce congestion and mucus production in the respiratory system.
Is ginger a natural antibiotic?
Research studies have demonstrated that compounds in ginger have antibiotic actions. One study noted: “ginger possesses effective anti-bacterial activity… and can be used for prevention of drug resistant microbial diseases”.
The Many Beneficial Properties of Ginger
Ginger tea is one of the best natural cures for bloating and bad gas. It is also a highly effective acid indigestion and nausea remedy. Be aware though of a few potential ginger side effects and precautions.
Did you know ginger is antiviral and can be used for coughs, sore throats and building up your immunity against colds, flu and other infections?
With the current virus outbreak it’s good to know there are natural treatments to help ease some symptoms. Though once again, please follow medical advice from the CDC on this important topic.
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