Ginger contains active medicinal phytochemicals known as gingerols, shogaol, and paradols. All of these beneficial components possess antioxidants properties. Antioxidants help the body fight off free radicals that can cause cell damage and inflammation. Additionally, gingerol and paradols are also anti-inflammatory (1).
This aromatic spice has been traditionally used in dealing with nausea, motion sickness, and upset stomach as well as in treating and preventing the growth of H pylori, the bacteria responsible for gastric infections and ulcers. Studies showed that the pain-relieving properties of ginger to ibuprofen and a prescription NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) were equally effective (2).
Aside from this, there were also studies showing how regularly eating ginger can help relieve certain pain that comes with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Arthritis refers to conditions that cause inflammation of joints. One of its degenerative types is osteoarthritis which develops when the layers of cartilage that support the joints erode due to aging. In this case, ginger works by lowering down levels of inflammation. It inhibits leukotrienes, inflammatory mediators that play a key role in inflammatory diseases (3).
Furthermore, ginger also contains salicylates, which our body transforms into a chemical substance called salicylic acid. Salicylic acid prevents our nerves from making prostaglandins thus easing pains and discomforts (4).
In a study involving 247 people with osteoarthritis, results revealed that hat those who took ginger capsules twice a day for 6 months had a significantly greater reduction in pain as compared to the control group (5).
When it comes to muscle pain, ginger may also help. Ginger has a very potent anti-inflammatory effect which has been found to reduce muscle pain after intense physical activity (6). The result of a study demonstrated that consumption of either raw or heated ginger caused a moderate to a large reduction in pain following an injury (7).
What’s more? Ginger may also be helpful in proving relief from dysmenorrhea (the medical term for pain before or during menstruation). A study revealed that ginger is more effective than a placebo when it comes to relieving pain in women with dysmenorrhea not caused by pelvic conditions such as endometriosis (8).
In a separate study, ginger was found to be more effective than a placebo in reducing pain severity (9).
How To Use Ginger
Add grated or powdered ginger over a salad or savory dishes.
Grate one to two teaspoons and simmer it in a pot with hot water for five minutes to make a soothing tea.
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