Ginger (Zingiber officnale) exerts anti-inflammatory effects, and heat treatment of ginger has been suggested to enhance its pain relieving effects.
Now, researchers from Georgia College and State University, in Milledgeville report the results of 2 studies in adults.
First, the details.
- 74 volunteers consumed 2 grams of either raw (study 1) or heated (study 2) ginger, or placebo for 11 days.
- Participants performed 18 eccentric actions of the elbow flexors (movement of the forearm around the elbow joint that bends the arm) to induce pain and inflammation.
- Eccentric contractions are common and occur when the external force on the muscle is greater than the force the muscle can generate.
- Pain intensity, perceived effort, blood levels of prostaglandin E(2), arm volume, range-of-motion and isometric strength were assessed prior to and for 3 days after exercise.
- In both studies, neither the patients nor researchers knew the treatment given -- double blind.
And, the results.
- Raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in similar pain reductions 24 hours after eccentric exercise compared to placebo.
- Smaller effects were noted between both types of ginger and placebo on other measures.
- Daily supplementation with ginger reduced muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise.
- Heat-treating the ginger did not enhance this effect.
The bottom line?
The authors concluded, "Daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury."
The authors also tell us that these results "agree with those showing hypoalgesic effects of ginger in osteoarthritis patients and further demonstrate ginger's effectiveness as a pain reliever."