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Does Ginger Tea Actually Help The Voice?

Does Ginger Tea Actually Help The Voice?
We decided to find out what — if anything — ginger can really do for the voice.

Famous artists have told us they drink it religiously before and after performances and countless hard-working singers* laud it as a voice-saving super food… well, super drink.

Ginger has been used in herbal medicine to treat stomach problems, arthritis, headaches, and colds.

Some say ginger has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and boosts the immune system.

The Uber-Claims About Ginger


There is not sufficient evidence to be able to make a broad statement that ginger is absolutely effective for most claims

There are scientific studies that seem to confirm almost every claim pertaining to ginger, but the scientific community won’t fully endorse the medicinal uses of ginger until there are many more, and much larger studies.

“There is not sufficient evidence to be able to make a broad statement that ginger is absolutely effective for most claims,” says Constance Brown-Riggs, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Dr. Marcus Coneys adds, “Ginger has been suggested to be an effective cancer treatment inasmuch as it may slow tumor growth — but that is in animal studies so remains to be studied in humans”.

When it comes to settling the stomach, however, the scientific community generally agrees.

Brown-Riggs says the nausea reducing aspect of ginger has been the most widely studied and confirmed among all the ginger claims.

Many singers drink ginger tea because, for them, it works.

“If you experience relief when you take ginger or any other form of complementary medicine — that is paramount,” says Brown-Riggs, who has personally experienced health benefits from taking ginger.

Many singers drink ginger tea because, for them, it works

“If I know it is not harming you, you are taking a safe amount, and you tell me you feel better — that is what matters.”

How Does Ginger Tea Help The Voice?


Speech-Language Pathologist, Shelagh Davies says, “Singers should remember that nothing you swallow actually touches your vocal folds.”

The only substances that touch your vocal folds are things you inhale like steam (good) or smoke (not so good).

Foods and drinks that help the voice only do so after your body processes them and sends their goodness to your throat via your blood stream.

Ginger tea has no caffeine, and with a few drops of honey, it is a delicious and invigorating way to hydrate your body, which keeps your vocal folds in top form.

Plus, if you inhale a little steam as you sip it, you are moistening your vocal folds directly.

Singers suffering from a cold claim their nasal passages feel more open after a nice hot cup.

As an immune system booster, ginger may help you fight off that cold faster

The spiciness of the ginger may bring on a little healthy sweating, and we know that hydration helps thin the phlegm that your body is producing.

As an immune system booster, ginger may help you fight off that cold faster.

“I believe good singers are not only relying on their voice when they sing – it involves the body, mind and spirit – this is how we connect with our audience,” says Brown-Riggs, who is also a singer.

“So, if these claims about ginger are true they would all benefit a singer. Wellness is more than being free from disease or having strong vocal cords, it’s functioning at our optimum level in every aspect of our being.”

How Much Should I have?

To get 1 g of ginger into your body by via ginger tea, you would need to drink about four mugs, according to Examine, a new resource on supplements and nutrition.


You could add a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger into your cooking

To get the same amount through liquid extract, you’d need 2 ml, or you could add a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger into your cooking.

In complimentary medicine, this 1 g dose per day would be standard for ailments such as arthritis.

Brown-Riggs says you should not take more than 4 g per day, and you should check with your primary care giver before implementing a serious regimen of ginger, just in case it could interact with other medication you may be taking.

*See ginger tea discussion and recipe here on the VoiceCouncil forum or visit here for a slightly different recipe.

– Kathy Alexander


Constance Brown-Riggs owns a nutrition counseling practice and is an award-winning certified diabetes educator. She is the author of The African American Guide to Living Well with Diabetes (New Page Books 2010) and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes (iUniverse 2006). Her professional honors include the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 2012 Excellence in Practice – Consultation and Business Practice Award; the 2009 Distinguished Dietitian Award from the New York State Dietetic Association; and the 2007 Diabetes Educator of the Year from the Academy’s Diabetes Care and Education dietetic practice group. See her website.

Kathy Alexander is a writer, singer, vocal coach and choir director. She has appeared in Vision TV’s Let’s Sing Again, The Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra and the Victoria International Jazz Festival (main stage). You can see more of Kathy’s work here.

  • JazzCat >^..^<

    May as well eat a piece of crystallized ginger. Personally, I love the stuff.

  • Dean Green

    lulz about the ginger, steam? maybe, some regions where is VERY moist yet cold can have an effect on your voice, say Seattle vs Phoenix?

    you want to drink something that actually has a DIRECT effect on your voice and perhaps your vocal ability try REAL licorice root..

    lets not forget despite what the pros and those who get paid by the pharmecuetical industry have to say on the subject, I know PERSONALLY licorice has a REAL effect, not the same night however wait for about 20 hours to take full effect

    so, not forgetting our body and ALL of its ingenious mechanisms, voice, motor skills, moods, and so on are ALL synergistic meaning your body acts as one big machine, if I was to punch you in the throat some might say yea that will hurt your voice for singing the next few weeks or so, in fact many would agree to that,

    however it would do more, it could put you in a bad mood and cause stress for several reasons, why was I punched and “great! now I cant sing for a week, and thats stress directly related to the punch,

    see our bodies are synergistic everything we do to our bodies and likewise have an effect on everything else we do so

    LICORICE has long been known to help your body produce ESTROGEN, and why do women have higher voices than men for the most? estrogen!

    back to the synergy, are you hydrated? directly related? are you stressed? directly related and allow me to elaborate some, stress can cause your muscles to tense int eh wrong places DIRECTLY effecting your voice, we’ve all seen the or heard the”you hold your stress in your shoulders” right?

    well can be true and stiff muscles anywhere around your upper torso, stiff shoulders can effect your throat muscles function, then you have to worry all the way down, chest register, stomach or mid section is HUGE

    3 things I noticed, I started riding a bicycle and doing stomach exercises on the preachers chair AND drinking licorice tea, REAL licorice tea, bulk, order online if you must..

    I noticed a HUGE improvement and I mean HUGE, the torso exercises really improved every aspect, range, sustain, tone, control, add that to my environment, from wet to DRY really dried out my pipes and along with the teas and practice man my range has improved 50%, everything in regards to singing was better, I flt better about it, not straining, relaxing is HUGE in singing and any half whit singer knows this, where licorice comes in, and ginger

    licorice does a LOT of things in your body so research thoroughly, it raises blood pressure for one and inhibits some stomach enzymes, effects cortisol AND you can overdose on licorice, YES, so if you are under a doctors care ASK!!! as well so do your homework and start of slow..

    I don’t do the licorice all the time because of the blood pressure but occasionally I do and I notice it for sure in my voice, crazy I know but yup

    I already eat a lot of ginger root, candies,cooked, juice you name it, I also was doing the other root ginseng and neither have the same effect as licorice, no joke!!