The Simple Spice that Eases Back Pain and Arthritis
According to new research, ginger can reduce pain and inflammation in muscles and joints.
Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine in India, as a natural anti-inflammatory therapy to soothe upset stomachs and diminish nausea - and recent studies show it may help relieve pain and inflammation as well.
In one study, arthritic patients were given small amounts of ginger daily for three months. The majority showed significant improvements in pain, swelling and morning stiffness.
Another study concluded that ginger extract could be an equally effective, safer substitute for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The effects of a highly concentrated ginger extract were compared to placebo in 247 patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Ginger was seen to reduce pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40 percent over the placebo. This may be because ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level thanks to its anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, antioxidant and analgesic properties.
Ginger blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds prostaglandins and leukotrienes, while also breaking down inflammation and acidity in the fluid within joints.
While many forms of ginger provide health benefits, capsules appear to provide the best therapeutic benefits. Ginger capsules should be taken with food - because although small amounts of ginger can help settle a sour stomach, concentrated doses can actually cause stomach upset.
Before taking ginger, get professional advice - especially if you’re taking a blood-thinning medication for any other health conditions, as ginger may reverse the effects of these drugs.
If you enjoy the tangy taste of fresh ginger, a few tablespoons of grated ginger has been reported to help ease muscle pain caused by exercise. Fresh or dried ginger can also be added to stir fries, curries, soups, or made into tea.
As you age, your synovial fluid - the natural lubricating fluid that protects your joints from deterioration - breaks down, leading to more friction and wear on the cartilage surfaces of the joints. Try adding Ginger to your diet to help alleviate chronic joint pain.