If you’re among the 10–30% of adults who have difficulty falling or staying asleep, you may be looking for ways to get more rest (1Trusted Source).
Drinking an herbal tonic, like lemon-ginger tea, could be a soothing bedtime ritual to help put the day behind you.
Lemon-ginger tea is exactly what it sounds like: a gentle herbal infusion of fresh lemon and ginger — with a bit of sweetener like honey or agave nectar, if you so choose.
You might be wondering if lemon-ginger tea has any unique health benefits. While it may not make you sleepy, it might help you wind down and relax and provide other benefits.
This article examines 7 benefits of bedtime lemon-ginger tea and explains how to make it.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a root long used in alternative and folk medicine for its ability to alleviate the delayed emptying of your stomach.
What’s more, lemon (Citrus limon) contains a plant compound called limonene that aids digestion by helping move food along your digestive tract — potentially easing the uncomfortable feeling of fullness (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
While the amount of limonene in a given cup of lemon-ginger tea will vary, you might find that the combination of lemon, ginger, and water in lemon-ginger tea calms indigestion.
Ginger has long been touted for its ability to alleviate nausea, which many people experience during pregnancy or chemotherapy, among many other situations. According to research, consuming 1–1.5 grams of ginger per day may be enough to get an anti-nausea effect (2Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
While scientists haven’t pinpointed how ginger works to reduce nausea, they recognize gingerol as one of the primary plant compounds responsible for this effect (8Trusted Source).
However, results have been mixed. In another review of seven studies, three found that ginger had a positive effect on nausea, two showed mostly positive effects, while two others did not find that ginger had any effect on nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy (9Trusted Source).
A lemon-ginger infusion is generally regarded as safe during pregnancy.
Still, to be on the safe side, speak with a healthcare professional if you’re interested in trying it and if you’re close to labor or have a history of clotting disorders or pregnancy loss
The steam generated from your hot lemon-ginger infusion may help open up your nasal cavities — helping clear a stuffy nose. Drinking something warm also soothes a throat sore from mucus buildup (5Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Although these effects are mostly anecdotal and supported by folk medicine, they may be useful to keep in mind during cold and flu season or if you experience seasonal allergies.
Lemon-ginger tea won’t cure you of any of these, but it may help loosen up congestion, allowing air to flow through your nose a little easier.
When constipation stems from dehydration, relaxing in the evening with a warm cup of lemon-ginger tea may help since water helps stool pass through your digestive tract more easily.
If you feel chronically constipated, be sure you’re drinking enough fluids throughout the day, too.
Speak with a healthcare professional if you have trouble having a bowel movement or have them less than three times a week.
Gingerol, one of the plant compounds found in ginger, boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (8Trusted Source).
However, studies show mixed results on whether ginger has anti-inflammatory effects in people (5Trusted Source).
Plus, it’s worth keeping in mind that there isn’t enough research currently to know just how much gingerol is needed to achieve these effects — and how much of it you would actually get from drinking a typical cup of lemon-ginger tea.
When you drink lemon-ginger tea, along with drinking fragrant ginger and lemon essence, you are, of course, drinking water — which means you’re hydrating your body.
This is important, because staying hydrated keeps vital organs, like your kidneys, gut, and heart, functioning properly.
How much water you need per day is affected by many factors, such as your medications, activities, and any health issues.
Most women will need at least 78 ounces (2.3 liters), while most men should get 112 ounces (3.3 liters) each day. How much you need will be unique to you and can vary from day to day.
Having comforting rituals, like a nightly cup of lemon-ginger tea, can have the added benefit of giving you a moment of quiet reflection. Think of it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness practice is not just for relaxation — it can be a health booster, too.
One review study found that mindfulness may help you process negative emotions and live your day with more intention (20).
What’s more, when you allow lemon peel to steam under your nose in your cup of warm lemon-ginger tea, you diffuse lemon’s essential oils. That lemon oil vapor may be beneficial, though more research is needed.
Keep the following issues in mind should you decide to drink lemon-ginger tea regularly.
Sweetening your lemon-ginger tea with honey or another sugar-based sweetener could become a concern if you:
- drink several cups of sweetened lemon-ginger tea per day
- have diabetes
- have difficulty regulating your blood sugar
- are watching your carbs for other reasons, such as the keto diet
When carbs are a concern, skip the sugar. Keep in mind that sugar comes under many names, including:
- agave syrup
- organic sugars, like organic cane sugar
- maple syrup
- brown rice syrup
If you find the tea too spicy, pull back on the ginger or consider a no-carb natural sweetener, like stevia, instead of honey or another type of sugar.
Drinking fluids before bed may cause you to get up to urinate in the middle of the night, thus disrupting your sleep.
If this is a concern for you, or if you have difficulty falling back to sleep in the middle of the night, consider drinking your lemon-ginger tea 1 or 2 hours before bed, instead of immediately before you hit the hay.
If you’re taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin (warfarin), keep in mind that ginger contains salicylate, a plant compound that naturally thins the blood. People with bleeding disorders should also take note (22Trusted Source).
If you have one of these conditions, speak with a healthcare professional before drinking lemon-ginger tea regularly.
Consuming large daily doses of ginger, or more than 2 grams, may give you an upset stomach (5Trusted Source).
If your stomach hurts, burns, or cramps after drinking lemon-ginger, reduce the amount of ginger you’re including in your infusion — or use bigger pieces of ginger in the infusion to lessen its intensity.
Making lemon-ginger tea at home is easy. After all, you’re simply infusing water with fresh ginger and lemon.
Makes one serving
- 1-inch (2.5-cm) piece of fresh ginger root, peeled
- 1/2 lemon, quartered and 1 fresh wedge for garnish
- 1 cup (237 mL) of water
- honey or agave nectar, to taste
- Combine the ginger and lemon with water in a small saucepan and allow to simmer on your stovetop. Let this steep for at least 10–15 minutes.
- If you find the tonic too weak, consider grating in your ginger instead, or cutting the piece down into smaller chunks. You can also zest in some lemon peel if you want more lemony notes.
- Stir in honey or agave nectar to taste, if you wish. Garnish with a fresh wedge of lemon.
You could also make a larger batch and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to warm it up again. To do so, multiply this recipe for a few days’ worth.
Written by Lisa Wartenberg, MFA, RD, LD.