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Author: Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, PhD

New research in the Journal of Pain reports that ginger is an effective natural anti-inflammatory that helps reduce pain and inflammation.  Both raw ginger and heated ginger were used in the study with similar effectiveness.  The scientists specifically explored ginger’s effects on muscle pain.

Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine in India as a natural anti-inflammatory food.  Dr. Krishna C. Srivastava, a world-renowned research on the therapeutic effects of spices, at Odense University in Denmark has also conducted extensive research into the anti-pain effects of ginger. In one study, Dr. Srivastava gave arthritic patients small amounts of ginger daily for three months.  The majority of people had significant improvements in pain, swelling, and morning stiffness by eating ginger daily.

Dr. Srivastava also found that ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol or Advil because NSAIDs only work on one level: to block the formation of inflammatory compounds.  Ginger, on the other hand, blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds-prostaglandins and leukotrienes-and also has antioxidant effects that break down existing inflammation and acidity in the fluid within the joints.