Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee (black or with soy milk) and green tea lattes. Both have their place in my life, but caffeine has some negative effects on my body and mind if I have too much. Sadly, too much means more than once a week. Happily, God gave us ginger.
Ginger is a Powerful Medicine
The scientific research on ginger is quite extensive. Several studies have shown ginger’s effectiveness at reducing nausea. Several studies have also shown it can dramatically reduce inflammation and pain. My favorite, although the least studied, effect of ginger is the mental stimulation.
The Best Part About Caffeine and Ginger
Stimulation is my favorite part about drinking coffee and green tea. Yes, they are both delicious, and they both come with some good memories (like studying at Starbuck’s with my friends when I was in college). But the best part is the energy. Caffeine makes boring things more exciting. It makes music more fun. It makes work more bearable. It makes good mornings great.
The Bad Part About Caffeine
Most of us can’t drink caffeine later in the day without it affecting our sleep. Sleep is super important! That alone is enough reason to avoid coffee for at least part of the day.
For me, caffeine also brings along a smorgasbord of negative effects. It makes my lower back ache and my nose stuffy (I believe both are related to increased inflammation). It makes my throat sore (either an allergic reaction or acid reflux). If I have just a bit much, I get anxious. I’ve even had a couple panic attacks on account of coffee. And if I drink it a few days in a row, giving it up comes with something close to depression for a couple days.
Limiting my caffeine intake is necessary if I want to feel good. But I love the energy boost. Ginger tea doesn’t come with as powerful a boost as coffee, or even green tea. However, I most certainly feel more energized and stimulated when I drink a glass of it. I even get the jitters if I have too much (a sign that it’s not just the placebo effect).
The Bad Part About Ginger?
Other than the occasional jitters, I experience no negative side effects from drinking ginger tea. It is a delicious (a bit spicy, it’s got some zing), caffeine-free, stimulating, energizing drink without the anxiousness, acid reflux, and inflammation.
However, I do worry about one thing when drinking ginger tea: over doing it. It is important to practice moderation with all foods (and drinks), and make sure to get some variety. Don’t worry, I’ll list some additional caffeine-free natural mental energy stimulants in a second.
A Bigger Boost than Ginger Alone
If I wake up in the morning and know I am going to need even more of a boost, I make sure to eat a low carb, plant based breakfast. My favorites are tofu and berries, and Brussels sprouts with walnuts and a little balsamic vinegar. Wash that down with some ginger tea, and I am ready to roll.
Other Caffeine-Free Natural Stimulants
This goes on my plate almost every day. Cayenne pepper, any hot pepper really, gives a nice boost.
This is a caffeine-free probiotic drink. There is a lemon ginger flavor, but my favorite is mint mojito. Even though mint mojito has no ginger, it gives me some solid mental stimulation. I think it may be the probiotics.
Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba
These two have tons of scientific research behind them. Both are known to have a positive effect on mental health.
My Favorite Ginger Tea Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger root or 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- Bring the water to a boil
- Place the ginger and pepper in a tea infuser
- Pour the water over the tea mix
- Let it steep for 5 minutes
- Stir in the honey and apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
- Let it cool a bit and enjoy
- The ginger doesn’t have to be fresh. I usually chop a whole bunch of ginger at once, then keep it in the freezer until I am ready for it.
- The longer the ginger stays in the water, and the more you stir, the spicier it gets.
- This stuff is also delicious on ice.