When you think about ginger root, what comes to mind? For many, the thought of ginger brings up memories of holiday treats or a spicy Indian curry. Maybe even a cold ginger ale. We are very familiar with ginger as a flavorful spice, but have you ever thought to use it medicinally?
Ginger root has a long history of being used as a healing botanical in areas of the world such as China and India. Thankfully, it is becoming more and more popular in the Western world as a natural choice for different ailments. Well known for reducing nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness, a ginger tea can be great for settling a stomach and promoting good digestion after a meal. But some of the most exciting research on ginger relates to its anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory properties.
For people suffering with joint pain and inflammation, either from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or just daily wear and tear, ginger root extract could be a solution to find relief. Modern medicine has brought us many good things including pain relief in pill form. While there is absolutely a place for these things at times, many people are looking for more natural solutions to their common health issues. Some want to avoid uncomfortable side-effects that pharmaceuticals often bring with them. Others are interested in becoming more familiar with what nature has to offer in terms of promoting health. Either way, ginger root is a safe and natural way to help relieve joint pain and reduce overall inflammation in the body.
Inflammation can manifest itself in several ways such as joint pain, swelling, stiffness, or reduced range of motion. It can be so hard to treat because there are a few chemicals and enzymes that promote inflammation in our bodies. One such enzyme is called cyclooxygenase-2, also known as COX-2. This enzyme speeds up the production of prostaglandins which play a key role in creating inflammation. When COX-2 is blocked or inhibited, inflammation is then reduced.
Right, so what does this have to do with ginger?
It turns out that ginger root is a natural COX-2 inhibitor. While many NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) have been designed to be COX-2 inhibitors, researchers have found that ginger root contains compounds that have COX-2 blocking properties. Many consider ginger’s ability to block COX-2 and reduce inflammation comparable to NSAIDs.
One study on the benefits of ginger root extract has gotten a lot of attention. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was made up of two hundred sixty-one patients with osteoarthritis and moderate-to-severe pain upon standing. Half the patients received a placebo and the other half received a ginger extract twice a day. After six weeks, 63 percent of the responders in the ginger group reported a reduction in their knee pain.
This is great news for joint pain sufferers looking for a drug-free option. Ginger is widely used and generally well tolerated, especially when taken with a meal. Positive lifestyle habits such as stretching, daily movement, resting as needed, and adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet are all excellent ways to reduce inflammation in our bodies. For those times when you need further support, using a ginger root extract can be a great way to get your joints feeling pain free once again.
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