Since the dawn of human history, we’ve been struggling with pain and how to manage or eliminate it. Today, those suffering from acute and chronic pain are looking for more natural, safer and cost-effective pain relieving alternatives to what the Big Pharmas offer us. One of the alternatives now being researched and used for its pain relieving properties is ginger, or Zingiber officinale, from the family Zingiberaceae, originating from tropical China.¹
Much of the pain that we experience comes from inflammation. Acute inflammation is a sign of injury and our body’s response in trying heal it. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can cause serious damage to our organs and body systems, including cancer. This type of inflammation is uncontrolled and long term. Pain is the sensory experience related to tissue damage and can last anywhere from minutes to days to weeks or even months. Pain and inflammation are siblings.
Therefore, by alleviating inflammation, we’re helping to alleviate pain. Luckily, ginger has some very strong anti-inflammatory properties, which is what makes it so effective as an alternative in pain relief. It makes sense to use it in order to ease our body’s painful inflammatory responses. Ginger contains powerful yet non-toxic constituents such as phenolic compounds which include gingerols and shogaols as well as sesquiterpenes like zingiberene. A sesquiterpene is a hydrocarbon found in essential oils.² Phenol compounds are plant compounds that exhibit astounding medicinal properties, such as antiseptic, antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
The superb thing about using a pain relief alternative such as ginger is that ginger is very inexpensive, is non-addictive, your body cannot develop a tolerance for it and it’s non-toxic. These benefits sharply contrast the limited pain relief options offered by the Big Pharmas. Ginger can be used fresh, dried or in capsule form. It’s advisable to keep all forms available for home use. It’s also available as extracts, tinctures and oils. As with all supplements, if you’re using ginger capsules or a tincture, make sure that you get it from a proven, reliable company. Additionally, ginger is often used as an external analgesic.
Unfortunately, quality research and effective studies involving ginger use in complimentary and integrative medicine are somewhat lacking. However, that should come as no surprise, since traditional medicine is still fiercely resistance to alternatives to conventional disease treatment and prevention. Out of the studies that have been done, we’ve received good news. Ginger does show remarkable and significant pain relieving affects. In a 2000 study of the pain relieving effects of ginger on osteoarthritis pain, doctors gave 29 pain sufferers either ginger, ibuprofen or a placebo. At the end of 6 months, those who were regularly taking ginger demonstrated a very significant reduction in pain over those in the placebo or ibuprofen group.³ This was a placebo controlled, randomized cross-over study that clearly demonstrated ginger’s extraordinary ability to relieve pain. Japanese researchers have used red ginger extract to discover that the shogaols and gingerols in ginger were effective in reducing acute and chronic inflammation by reducing inflammatory mediators.³ According Leo Galland, M.D., ginger extract can be used as NSAIDs are used for pain and inflammation.⁴ A NSAID is an over the counter pain relief, such as Advil™ or Motrin™. Ginger contains over 400 chemically active ingredients that display many medicinal properties. Like a NSAID, ginger inhibits enzymes that are responsible for inflammation and pain.
Ginger is wonderfully easy to use and is well tolerated. It can be used for a multitude of ailments, especially pain. Pick some up today and see what it can do for you. With regular use, you can reap its pain relieving benefits and curb your reliance on traditional, over the counter pain relievers.