Ginger tea is said to be a cure-all for many things, from easing from morning sickness to muscle pain.
Now ginger tea could have a new use - banishing bad breath.
The spice contains a chemical that destroys sulphur-containing amino acids, which cause halitosis.
Gingerol breaks down foul-smelling substances by triggering the sulfhydryl oxidase enzyme in saliva. Adding a pinch to food, or brewing ginger tea may ward off bad breath, which affects an estimated one in four people.
In tests, levels of sulfhydryl oxidase increased 16-fold in seconds when volunteers ate fresh ginger, thus ensuring fresh breath, reports the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
It can reduce the long-lasting aftertaste of many foods such as coffee which contains the sulphur 2-furfurylthiol, that makes breath smell.
"As a result, our breath also smells better,' concluded food chemist Professor Thomas Hofmann, of the Technical University of Munich in Germany.
The findings could lead to gingerol being used in new toothpastes and oral hygiene products," he added.