WebMD Medical News
Laura J. Martin, MD
Sept. 20, 2010 -- Ginger's soothing properties may not be limited to the stomach. A new study shows that ginger may also be an effective pain reliever for sore muscles.
Ginger has been a favorite remedy of Chinese medicine for centuries and is often used to treat nausea and upset stomach. However, researchers say, it hasn't been widely studied as a pain reliever until now.
The study, published in The Journal of Pain, showed a daily dose of ginger eased muscle pain caused by exercise-induced muscle injury. In two separate experiments, researchers looked at the effects of two grams of raw or heat-treated ginger in supplement form on muscle pain caused by exercise in 74 healthy adults. The participants performed a variety of exercises designed to induce muscle pain over a period of 11 days while taking ginger supplements or a dummy pill.
"Daily consumption of raw or heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury," write researcher Christopher D. Black, of the department of kinesiology at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, and colleagues.
The results showed that raw and heat-treated ginger reduced muscle pain by 25% and 23%, respectively.
Researchers say previous studies in animals have shown that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which might help explain its beneficial effects on muscle pain.
Although some studies have suggested that heat treatment may enhance ginger's impact on pain, researchers say their findings show heat treatment had little effect on ginger's effectiveness as a pain reliever.
SOURCES:Black, C. The Journal of Pain, September 2010; vol 11: pp 894-903.News release, American Pain Society.
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