Ginger is a well-known home remedy for pregnant women, patients undergoing chemotherapy, and travelers with weak stomachs, who all use the root to curb nausea. But now a new study in The Journal of Pain finds that two types of chemical compounds found in ginger — gingerols and phenols — can be used as an analgesic as well.
To treat muscle pain, 74 healthy adults regularly took 2 g of either cooked or raw ginger, or a placebo each day for 11 days. They all participated in the same series of exercises, which were aimed at creating inflammation and muscle pain in and around the elbow, and were then evaluated by researchers from the department of kinesiology at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Ga. (More on Time.com: Got Fish Oil?)
The researchers found that the raw ginger group reduced their muscle pain by 25% more than the placebo takers 24 hours after intentionally hurting their elbows, while the cooked ginger group dropped their pain levels by 23% compared with the placebo group.
Largely considered a homeopathic treatment, the mainstream medical community has begun to conduct research on why ginger root has been used medicinally for so many centuries. Aside from curbing nausea and reducing inflammation, thus lessening muscle pain, ginger has also been used to prevent ulcers, treat heartburn and aid digestion. Some research even suggests it might reduce cholesterol levels, though so far only in mice.
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