Daily doses of raw or heat-treated ginger are effective for relieving muscle pain following strenuous exercise, according to research reported in The Journal of Pain, published by the American Pain Society.
Though a favorite remedy of Chinese medicine practitioners for centuries, ginger has not been studied widely as a pain reliever. Some research, however, has shown that ginger may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In one study, four to 36 weeks of daily ginger doses (30 to 500 mg.) achieved reductions in knee pain from osteoarthritis.
Researchers from the University of Georgia and Georgia College and State University examined the efficacy of multiple days of ginger doses for relieving experimentally induced muscle pain from 18 eccentric muscle exercises. For the study, student volunteers were tested on 11 consecutive days while taking ginger supplements. Seventy-four students were divided in three groups given either raw ginger, heated ginger or placebo. The authors hypothesized that pain ratings after exercise would be lower in the ginger group compared to placebo subjects.
Results from the subjects’ responses data showed that both raw and heat-treated ginger lowered muscle pain intensity after eccentric exercise by 25 and 23 percent, respectively. Heat treating ginger, therefore, did not increase the analgesic benefit.