With there being over 20 million Americans suffering from the effects of osteoarthritis, there has been a renewed interest in the use of traditional remedies and natural treatments. One of these is the use of ginger for arthritis pain. Here we'll look at some of the background to ginger as a medicinal product and evidence of whether it works in arthritis.
Ginger root is the knobbly rhizome of the tall reed-like perennial plant grown in the tropics. It is available in various forms including the fresh root, powdered, dried, and crystallized (candied).
Medicinally ginger is believed to have a number of properties which include stimulating digestion, reducing nausea and easing flatulence. It has antiseptic qualities and has been used as an expectorant to clear catarrh.
It has been a common constituent in Chinese and Ayuverdic medicine for centuries.
Ginger also contains products that have anti-inflammatory properties and that is why it is believed that it has a role to play in easing arthritis pain.
One study carried out at the University of Miami Medical School (published in 2001), looked at 250 patients suffering with moderate to severe pain. Some were given 255mg twice daily of ginger as dietary supplement, whilst the remainder were given a placebo.
The results showed that over two-thirds on the ginger reported reduced pain. This was significantly greater than the placebo group. Other positive results have also been found in other similar studies, but this is not universally the case.
If you wanted to try using ginger, what are your options? You could take dietary supplements containing 255mg of ginger twice daily. The advantage of taking a supplement is that you can control the amount of ginger that you are receiving each day. This level has been demonstrated to be beneficial when using ginger for arthritis pain.
Alternatively you could simply use more ginger in your normal diet. This may suit you if you don't like taking supplement pills. Try using fresh ginger in your cooking. It is quite a simple product to use. You simply have to peel the outer skin with a potato peeler or paring knife and then slice or chop the ginger.
If you cannot obtain fresh ginger you can use dried ginger, although this may have lower levels of the active ingredients in it. Ginger is a great addition to meals such as stews and soups. It is also popular in desserts such a ginger pancakes and gingerbread. You could also make your own ginger ale from fresh ginger.
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