Overdone it? Take ginger to ease your aches and pains
By Daniel Martin
Last updated at 10:02 AM on 21st May 2010
Pain relief: A daily dose of ginger can help relieve the muscle ache after heavy exercise
Eating ginger can help ease muscle pain caused by heavy exercise, research suggests.
A daily dose of the spice can relieve the aches from sport, or even gardening and heavy housework, by as much as a quarter.
For centuries, ginger root has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments, such as colds and upset stomachs.
And scientists have long known it has painkilling properties.
But now it has been shown ginger is particularly good for staving off muscle pain.
Lead researcher Professor Patrick O’Connor, of the University of Georgia, said: ‘ Anything that can truly relieve this type of pain will be greatly welcomed by the many people who are experiencing it.’
Ginger has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect in rodents, but its effect on muscle pain in humans has never been properly studied.
It is known to contain chemicals that work in a similar way to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
Previous studies have shown it can be effective in relieving the pain of arthritis.
Professor O’Connor directed two studies in which 34 and 40 volunteers respectively took capsules containing two grams of either raw or heat-treated ginger, or a placebo for 11 consecutive days.
On the eighth day they lifted weights to induce moderate muscle injury in the arm. Arm function, inflammation and pain were assessed before the exercise and for three days after. The levels of a chemical involved in feeling pain was also measured before and after.
The studies showed daily ginger intake reduced the exercise-induced pain by 25 per cent. Heating the ginger had no effect.
The research, funded by the McCormick Science Institute, will be published in the September issue of The Journal of Pain.