Ginger for Muscle Pain

A new study suggests that ginger may help alleviate pain from exercise-induced muscle injury.

Earlier evidence suggests that ginger may have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.

In the trial, 74 patients were randomly assigned to receive two grams of raw or heat-treated ginger supplements or placebo daily for 11 days. The participants then performed 18 elbow extensions with heavy weights to induce pain and inflammation. The researchers assessed arm function, inflammation and pain at the beginning of the study and for three days after exercise.

Compared to subjects in the placebo group, those treated with either raw or heat-treated ginger experienced a 24 percent reduction in pain 24 hours after exercise.

However, in another small study published in 2008, ginger did not affect muscle pain, rating of perceived exertion or recovery of oxygen consumption during and after moderate-intensity cycling exercise. Therefore, additional research is needed before conclusions can be made.

Ginger has been studied for various other medical conditions. Several studies support the use of ginger for morning sickness in pregnant women. Ginger’s effects on other types of nausea or emesis, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea, postoperative nausea and motion sickness, remain undetermined.

The most frequent side effects associated with ginger use are gastrointestinal upset, heartburn, gas and bloating. Ginger may also inhibit blood clotting, thus increasing bleeding risk.

For more information about ginger, please visit Natural Standard’s Foods, Herbs & Supplements database.


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