Eat Ginger Once a Day, Keep Muscle Pain Away

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Researchers at the University of Georgia have found that consuming ginger every day can help reduce muscle pain caused by exercise.

Researchers at the University of Georgia have found that consuming ginger every day can help reduce muscle pain caused by exercise.

Ginger root has been used for centuries as a remedy for ailments such as colds and upset stomachs. It is also believed that heating ginger might increase its pain-relieving effects. Past research has shown that ginger exerts anti-inflammatory effects in rodents. The effects of ginger on experimentally-induced human muscle pain have not been widely explored, but researchers at the University of Georgia created a studies to examine this further.

The team, directed by Patrick O’Conner, professor at the College of Education’s department of kinesiology, performed two studies that examined the effects of 11 days of raw and heat-treated ginger supplementation on muscle pain. The results were published in The Journal of Pain.

The participants in the studyies consumed capsules containing two grams of either raw or heat-treated ginger, or a placebo for 11 consecutive days. There were 34 volunteers in the first study and 40 volunteers in the second study. The participants performed 18 extensions of the elbow flexors with a heavy weight to induce moderate muscle injury to the arm. The research team assessed arm function, inflammation, pain, and a biochemical involved in pain, prior to and for three days after the exercises.

Results revealed that daily ginger supplementation reduced the pain associated with the exercises by 25%. The effect was not enhanced by heat-treating the ginger.

"The economic and personal costs of pain are extremely high," said O'Connor, in a press release. "Muscle pain generally is one of the most common types of pain and eccentric exercise-induced muscle pain specifically is a common type of injury related to sports and/or recreation (e.g., gardening). Anything that can truly relieve this type of pain will be greatly welcomed by the many people who are experiencing it."

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