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Many a mother has given her child ginger ale for an upset stomach. It makes sense because for thousands of years, ginger has been used as a medicine in the treatment of nausea. But ginger has many more medicinal properties. One study recently published in The Journal of Pain, finds that daily doses of ginger are effective for relieving muscle pain following strenuous exercise.
Researchers from the University of Georgia and Georgia College and State University followed 74 student volunteers who performed 18 assigned exercises daily for 11 consecutive days while taking ginger supplements. The students were divided into three groups, each of which was given either raw ginger, heated ginger or a placebo.
While the authors expected that heated ginger would be more effective than the raw, the results showed both versions similarly beneficial in reducing the level of muscle pain by 23 to 25 percent.
The authors noted that although its analgesic effect has not been studied widely, ginger may have anti-inflammatory properties similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs without the side effects. In one study, six weeks of daily ginger doses achieved reductions in knee pain from osteoarthritis.
Ginger's powers have been treasured for millennia, even long before the Romans first brought it from China over 2,000 years ago. The list of ginger's medicinal credentials is impressively long. Here are just a few:
- The Chinese have used ginger for thousands of years to treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea and today it is known to relieve nausea due to seasickness, motion sickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy nausea. One study showed ginger root to be more effective for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy than Dramamine, a commonly used over-the-counter and prescription drug for motion sickness.
- Ginger contains anti-oxidant compounds known as gingerols which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to reducing muscle pain from exercise, they have been shown to reduce pain and swelling, and improve mobility in those suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- In mice studies, gingerol was found to reduce the number and size of colon cancer tumors.
- In laboratory studies, gingerols have been shown to inhibit the metastasis of breast cancer cells and combat chemotherapy resistant pancreatic cancer cells.
- Fresh ginger contains anti-viral properties, and is often recommended for the prevention and treatment of the common cold.
Here is a delicious and refreshing cold ginger drink to soothe your sore muscles after a workout as well as to take advantage of all of ginger's other healing properties:
Iced Ginger Tea
- 1 pound fresh ginger root
- 2 quarts water
- juice of 2 limes
- maple syrup to taste
Peel the fresh ginger, grate and mix it with water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and turn off the heat. Let steep for 24 hours.
Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Add the lime juice and maple syrup. Stir until dissolved. Enjoy!