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Research from Australia's Edith Cowan University has confirmed an ancient treatment - that osteoarthritis pain and mobility is reduced with the application of ginger root topically.
The researchers recruited 20 adults between the ages of 35 and 90 years old – average age of 64 years old. All of the volunteers had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. 85% of the patients had osteoarthritis of the knees and/or hips.
The researchers randomly divided the patients into two groups, and treated half of them with a ginger (Zingiber officinalis) compress, and half with a ginger transdermal patch – a patent-pending product from New Zealand.
The patients applied the patch or compress daily. They were monitored weekly with a Health Assessment Questionnaire throughout the 24 week study.
The patients in both groups experienced significant improvement in pain, fatigue, well-being and mobility after only seven days, and this improvement increased through the study. At the end of the 24-weeks, 82% were satisfied with their treatment. The patients were 70% satisfied with their treatment results even after the first week of treatment.
Before the study, 80% of the patients were dissatisfied with their (conventional) treatment for their osteoarthritis.
Even after the first week of treatment there was a significant improvement in pain (decreased by 48%), fatigue (decreased by 49%), well-being (increased by 40%), and mobility (increased by 31%).
These numbers increased through the duration the study.
The researchers concluded:
"This pilot study suggests ginger therapy using both the ginger compress and ginger patch has the potential to relieve symptoms and increase independence for people with osteoarthritis."
This is not the first study to find that ginger has the ability to decrease inflammation and reduce pain in general, as well as among arthritis patients. Studies have found that ginger extract blocks cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and lipoxygenase-5 (LOX-5) enzymes.
And a new study from Iran's Tabriz University of Medical Sciences tested 64 diabetics and found that oral consumption of ginger decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-alpha, as well as hs-CRP levels – indicators of inflammation.
Therkleson T. Topical Ginger Treatment With a Compress or Patch for Osteoarthritis Symptoms. J Holist Nurs. 2013 Dec 4.
Mahluji S, Ostadrahimi A, Mobasseri M, Ebrahimzade Attari V, Payahoo L. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Zingiber Officinale in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Adv Pharm Bull. 2013;3(2):273-276.