Many natural products and herbs are used to treat and prevent health issues. And on the sports front they are sometimes used to naturally aid in performance. Ginger is one of the 10 most popular natural products used as an alternative therapy for a medical problem (Black & O’Connor, 2010) (Article can be ordered from SIRC). It has been used to treat ailments such as asthma, diabetes, nausea, and stroke, as well as pain conditions like rheumatism and toothache. A recent study, however, focused on ginger’s potential to reduce exercise-induced pain and in particular its use to combat delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Ginger has been shown to reduce pain associated with inflammation and this study demonstrated “that daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury”. While there has been little scientific research comparing ginger to the pain relief of NSAIDs, the side effects of each should be weighed when considering the use of either. The primary adverse effect of long-term use of NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen are gastric ulcers, while the most common adverse effect from ginger consumption was heartburn (Black & O’Connor, 2010). As always it is important to consult with medical and/or dietetic professionals before incorporating new therapies into your routine.
Black, Christopher D. and O’Connor, Partick J. (2010). Ginger: A Spice That May Reign in Pain. SCAN’s Pulse, 29(2), 1-4.
Black, Christopher D., Herring, Matthew P., Hurley, David J., and O’Connor, Partick J (2010). Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Reduces Muscle Pain Caused by Eccentric Exercise. Journal of Pain, Corrected Proof, 26 April 2010.