Health Benefits Ginger

Health Benefits of Ginger for Arthritis

Do you keep ginger in your spice cabinet? Maybe it should be in your medicine cabinet. Besides being a tasty spice often used to enhance holiday treats, ginger can soothe upset stomachs and diminish nausea, and studies show it may help pain and inflammation, too.

In fact, a University of Miami study concluded that ginger extract could one day be a substitute to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The study compared the effects of a highly concentrated ginger extract to placebo in 247 patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. The ginger reduced pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40 percent over the placebo.

“Research shows that ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level,” says the study’s lead author, Roy Altman, MD, now at the University of California, Los Angeles.

What makes ginger so helpful? “Ginger has anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and antioxidant activities, as well as a small amount of analgesic property,” says Roberta Lee, MD, vice chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.

Choose Capsules      

Choosing the most effective form of ginger may be the biggest challenge to reaping its rewards. Ginger comes in capsules, tinctures, teas, powders, oils and foods made from the dried or fresh root of the ginger plant. While many forms of ginger boast health benefits, Dr. Lee says capsules provide better benefits than other forms. She advises people to look for brands that use “super-critical extraction,” because it results in the purest ginger and will provide the greatest effect. She also suggests taking ginger capsules with food. Why? Although small amounts of ginger can help settle a sour stomach, concentrated doses can actually cause stomach upset.

Although they smell wonderful, foods like gingerbread, gingersnaps and ginger tea may not contain enough ginger to have an effect, says Dr. Altman. The capsule taken twice daily by patients in Dr. Altman’s study contained 255 milligrams (mg) of ginger, the equivalent of nearly a bushel of your grocer’s ginger.

Before taking ginger, be sure to check with your doctor. If you get the “go ahead” from your physician, try a 100- to 200-mg ginger capsule each day for four to six weeks to see if you feel an effect. Steer clear of ginger if you’re taking a blood-thinning medication, like warfarin (Coumadin), as ginger may reverse the effects of these types of drugs.

“Grate” Alternatives

If you prefer the tangy zip of fresh ginger, here’s some good news. Researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens and Georgia State College & University in Milledgeville reported in the Journal of Pain that a few tablespoons of grated ginger can help ease muscle pain caused by exercise.

You can add a few tablespoons to your diet by grating ginger over a salad or into a stir fry.

Or you could grate one to two teaspoons and simmer it in a pot with hot water for five minutes to make a soothing tea.

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One thought on “Health Benefits of Ginger for Arthritis

  1. I am sold on ginger! Since 11/15 to present 02/16 (approx 4mons) I’ve had ginger tea twice daily, 32oz or more, its my drink of choice. I have a French press dedicated to brewing freshly sliced ginger to make tea. Honestly, I feel less achy in the morning and at 52, notice my engery level and weight have changed for the better. I do have arthritis in both my hips and a degenerative disc issue in my L & S spine region. I see an acupuncturist regularly for pain management to
    my lower back – a necessity really but drinking ginger tea regularly, I have less pain overall and a feeling of wellness. I can’t remember the last time I took Tylenol or Advil for pain. Everyone has different needs, maybe it’s my enthusiasm knowing I’m drinking something so magical and healing that my brain has been…brain washed. I’m happier drinking this tea, I add agave usually and it’s delightful. I am going to look into a pill form of ginger. Thank you for reading this.

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