Ginger has been used as a medicine for centuries especially in the treatment of nausea. Now, a new study published in The Journal of Pain, finds that daily doses of ginger are effective for relieving muscle pain following strenuous exercise.
Researchers from the University of Georgia and Georgia College and State University followed student volunteers who were tested on 11 consecutive days while taking ginger supplements and performing 18 exercises. The 74 students were divided into three groups, each of which was given either raw ginger, heated ginger or a placebo. While the authors expected that heated ginger would have a more beneficial effect than raw, the results showed both versions similarly effective in reducing muscle pain intensity by 23 to 25 percent.
The authors noted that although ginger has not been studied widely for its analgesic effect, there is research showing that it may have anti-inflammatory properties similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In one study, four to 36 weeks of daily ginger doses (30 to 500 mg.) achieved reductions in knee pain from osteoarthritis.
The list of ginger’s medicinal credentials is long and includes:
- The Chinese have used ginger for thousands of years to treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea and today it is known to relieve nausea due to seasickness, motion sickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy nausea. One study showed it to be more effective than Dramamine, a commonly used over-the-counter and prescription drug for motion sickness.
- Ginger contains anti-oxidant compounds known as gingerols which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to reducing muscle pain from exercise, they have been shown to reduce pain and swelling, and improve mobility in those suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- In mice studies, ginger was found to reduce the number and size of colon cancer tumors.
- In laboratory studies, gingerols have been shown to kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing programmed cell death.
- Ginger contains anti-viral properties, and is often recommended for the prevention and treatment of the common cold.
Fresh ginger root is available in most supermarkets in the Philadelphia area year round. Here is a delicious and refreshing ginger drink to take advantage of all of ginger’s healing properties:
Iced Ginger Tea
- 1 pound fresh ginger root
- 2 quarts water
- juice of 2 limes
- maple syrup to taste
Peel the fresh ginger, grate and mix it with water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and turn off the heat. Let steep for 24 hours.
Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Add the lime juice and maple syrup. Stir until dissolved. Chill and serve. Enjoy!