Alternative Pain Management: Ginger

As one of the most used dietary condiments in the world today, it’s no wonder that the benefits of ginger are pretty impressive. It’s versatile, easy to use and has been associated with everything from beating motion sickness to better brain function.

The health benefits of ginger are largely due to its antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and content of therapeutic compounds like gingerol, shogaol, paradol and zingerone.

In addition to its long history of use as a culinary spice, references to ginger’s medicinal uses can be found in ancient Chinese, Indian, Arabic, and Greco-Roman writings. Ginger is chiefly known as an anti-inflammatory agent, nausea reliever and digestive aid.

Ginger is widely known for its digestive effects. For example, many people are familiar with the use of ginger ale for easing an upset stomach. This is also the area that has been extensively studied. A review of randomized clinical trials found the herb to be an effective option for relieving nausea and vomiting. In the review of six human studies, ginger was found to be superior to placebo and as effective as conventional medication for treating nausea and vomiting in postoperative patients. Another review found ginger to be significantly more effective than placebo in reducing the frequency of vomiting and intensity of nausea during pregnancy.

Ginger has been used in traditional medicine for reducing inflammation, and studies show that ginger is effective in relieving the pain of menstrual cramps. Studies are inconclusive regarding its effectiveness for relieving the pain of osteoarthritis.