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Ginger is Better than Drugs for Pain, says Study

8 Comments

Michelle Schoffro Cook     May 3, 2013

A new study published in the journal Arthritis compared ginger extract to the common drugs betamethasone (cortisone) and ibuprofen for the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

While ibuprofen is a popular pain remedy (such as Advil or Motrin), in this study it showed no effect on cytokine production.  Cytokines are immune-regulating substances that can have inflammatory effects on the body, and are therefore linked to pain.  In this study, both betamethasone and ginger extract reduced cytokines in comparable amounts.   The authors of the study indicate that,n “ginger extract was as effective an anti-inflammatory agent as betamethasone in this in vitro model.”

While betamethasone has been used for decades to relieve pain, it is also linked with many serious side-effects, including:  vision problems, weight gain, swelling, shortness of breath, depression, seizures, pancreatitis, heart arrhythmias, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, severe headaches, anxiety, chest pains, sleep problems, acne, slow wound healing, and more.  Ginger, however, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that is safe for use. For more information, consult Arthritis-Proof.

Other research by Dr. Krishna C. Srivastava, a world-renowned researcher on the therapeutic effects of spices, at Odense University in Denmark, found that ginger is an effective and superior anti-pain remedy. 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.

Further research in the Journal of Pain also report 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.

How to Reap the Anti-Pain Benefits of Ginger (adapted from Arthritis-Proof):

-Add chopped, fresh ginger to soups, stews, stir-fries, and other recipes.  Ginger is delicious in many savory and sweet dishes alike.

-Add fresh ginger to a juicer while making juices.  It combines well with many other vegetables and fruits, such as carrots or apple.

-Ginger capsules (Zingiber officinale) are available for supplementation.  Follow package directions.

-Chopped, fresh ginger can be added to water and boiled in a pot for 45 minutes to an hour. Drink warm or with ice, as a tea.  Add a few drops of stevia to sweeten (stevia is a naturally-sweet herb).

-Ginger is available in alcohol tincture form.  A typical dose is 30 drops three times daily.  Avoid the alcohol extract if you are an alcoholic, suffering from liver disease, or diabetic.

Medicine never tasted so good.

8 thoughts on “Ginger is Better than Drugs for Pain, says Study

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