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What Are the Benefits of Ginger as an Anti-Inflammatory?

By Rebecca Harkin
Updated Feb 25, 2024
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Ginger is an herb with an underground stem covered by a brown skin with red, white or yellow flesh. It can be used medicinally or as a spice. One of the most popular medicinal uses of ginger is as an anti-inflammatory. The ginger plant produces gingerols, which are strong anti-inflammatory substances.

Several studies have shown that consuming ginger as an anti-inflammatory medication results in less pain and stiffness during movement for patients suffering from inflammatory diseases. The reduction in pain and stiffness is directly related to the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger. In one study, the improvement was measured by recording the circumference of the participants’ knees before ginger therapy, and measured again after therapy was completed. A significant reduction in knee swelling was observed, as well as reports of decreased pain.

Ginger seems to reduce swelling by working as an antioxidant by preventing the production of proteins known as cytokines, which signal inflammatory immune responses. Its antioxidant properties prevent nitric oxide from oxidizing into a biologically damaging free radical called peroxynitrite. Arthritis and colitis, common inflammatory diseases, are often caused by high concentrations of peroxynitrites in the body.

Side effects of using ginger as an anti-inflammatory are heartburn and diarrhea, but both are extremely rare. Typically, these side effects are only observed when the dose of ginger is extremely high. Ginger is also safe for children and pregnant or breast-feeding women. Anti-inflammatory drugs, by contrast, have a variety of serious side effects, including stomach and cardiovascular problems as well as bone loss, and their use is often restricted in children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. In some cases, using ginger as an anti-inflammatory supplement allows a patient to reduce the dose of anti-inflammatory drugs needed to function.

To use ginger as an anti-inflammatory, it can be either taken orally or used to create a poultice on the area that is swollen and hurting. The daily oral dose of ginger should be between 0.07-0.14 ounces (2-4 grams) for an adult, and is available in teas, juices, or supplement pills. To make a ginger poultice, chop up about one fourth of a cup of ginger, place it in a saucepan, and barely cover it with water. Heat the paste to soften the ginger, and then let it cool until it is a safe temperature to apply to the sore area. The paste can also be wrapped in a damp piece of cheese cloth and then placed on the sore area.

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Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Aug 06, 2011

@burcinc-- Absolutely! I have done the ginger bath several times, it's amazing, you should try it. All you have to do is add grated ginger or ginger powder into your hot bath and get in. Let me warn you though, you are going to sweat a lot. That's actually how the ginger bath works, it helps remove the toxins from the body through sweating.

I do the ginger bath when I'm down with a cold or flu or if I'm extremely tired after sports. I'm sure it will help with your arthritis too because I think arthritis is the inflammation of joints right? The ginger bath is really good for inflammation. My mom had my little brother do the ginger bath when he fell and got hurt during his soccer game. He was practically all better the next day!

I know that some handmade organic skin care brands carry lotions and balms with ginger extract. Why don't you just check with them, or look in the skin care isle of markets that sell natural products.

By burcinc — On Aug 05, 2011

Is there such a thing as ginger bath or are there any bath products/lotions that have ginger or ginger extract in it?

I don't mind the scent of ginger, I just don't have the time to make stuff at home. I want a product that is convenient, tested and guaranteed.

I don't really want to take supplements either. I have arthritis around my joints, especially knees. It would be great if I could use something with ginger in the shower or apply as a cream or lotion.

By discographer — On Aug 04, 2011

I'm into body building and naturally have a lot of muscle wear and tear that causes inflammation and horrible pain for days and weeks at a time, especially if I increase my workout suddenly.

I have been taking aspirin for a long time to help with the inflammation but unfortunately, I have a bad stomach and a history of ulcers. Taking too much aspirin is not good for the stomach, it increases the acid and can cause a lot of damage in the long run (same with pain relievers).

I was talking about how I hate what aspirin does to my stomach with my doctor when he mentioned ginger. I think he had just read about this from a study or something because he never mentioned it before. He told me that I can take ginger capsules instead of aspirin for the inflammation and pain. I can even have it in fresh or powder form but there is no way I could consume so much of it with food. The flavor is just way too strong.

But there are ginger capsules available in pharmacies and online stores and I ordered them right away. It has only been about a week or so and I think that they are working. I didn't notice any additional pain which means that it is working as well as my aspirin but no stomach problems, acidity and nausea. I wish I had known about ginger before, I wouldn't have used aspirin at all.

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