I’ve watched plenty of Chinese TV dramas to know that this Chinese Ginger Tea with Dates (姜茶 – jiang cha or 姜汤 – jiang tang in Chinese), is a much relied-upon home remedy for a cold!
Every time a main character gets caught in the rain without any rain gear, a parent or love interest promptly prepares some ginger tea and “demands” that he or she drink it right away to chase away the chill (the concept of 寒 – han in traditional Chinese medicine). Next scene? All sunshine and happiness!
Meanwhile, if that character were alone, lo and behold, they’d be sick in bed with a fever, only to have their love interest come to the rescue (PROBABLY with some ginger tea).
Ginger Tea for Colds & Chills: A Chinese Home Remedy
All kidding aside, Chinese ginger tea is a home remedy that has been passed down through countless generations.
It is thought to improve blood circulation, expel dampness, and promote healthy Qi, and it’s certainly stood the test of time.
We all know to drink something hot when we feel a cold coming on. A drink that’s temperature hot is good for warming up, but this ginger tea with red dates (aka Chinese jujube or Chinese dates) has added benefits:
In addition to ginger’s warming abilities, red dates are full of Vitamin C. I’ve made them optional in the recipe, however, as they can sometimes be hard to find, and this tea is still beneficial without them!
Another key ingredient, Chinese brown or black sugar, is different than the light/dark brown sugar you buy from your local supermarket. This sugar is cooked to a powder form instead of granulated. While it IS a sugary product, it’s considered by many Chinese to be a health food! If you can’t find it, just substitute some healthy honey.
A Note On Moderation
After drinking this ginger tea, I can slowly feel my body “heating” up––you might even sweat a tiny bit! Don’t be alarmed, all is well.
But just as a friendly reminder from me, your token Chinese mom, Chinese ginger tea is a special drink, not an everyday drink!
Treat it like a home remedy that is. Don’t overdo it. One to two cups is plenty for any situation.
A Final Tip About Freezing Ginger!
Ginger freezes very well, and I always keep some in my freezer so it’s available for cooking or if I need a piping hot cup of ginger tea at a moment’s notice.
Simply slice the ginger into rounds, transfer it to a freezer bag, press all the air out of the bag, seal, and transfer to the freezer.
Slicing the ginger before freezing it makes it much easier to use right away. You just pick out a few slices (or snap them apart if they’ve stuck together), and add them straight to a wok, chop or mince them, etc.
Chinese Ginger Tea with Red Dates: The Recipe
This recipe makes 1 serving!
Add your water to a small pot along with the ginger and dates. Cover and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the Chinese brown sugar to taste (if using honey, just skip this step––you’ll wait to add the honey later). Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Strain the tea into a mug.
Let the tea cool to drinkable temperature, but the goal is to drink it while it’s still hot!
If using honey instead of Chinese brown sugar, add it right before you’re ready to drink it. Don’t boil the honey, because cooking honey will eliminate many of its health benefits!
- Add the water to a small pot along with the ginger and dates. Cover and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the Chinese brown sugar to taste (if using honey, just skip this step––you’ll wait to add the honey later). Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Strain the tea into a mug. Let the tea cool to drinkable temperature, but the goal is to drink it while it’s still hot!