In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, volunteers were given either raw or heated ginger (2 grams) or placebo for 11 uninterrupted days. Study participants performed 18 exercises involving the elbow flexor muscles, which led to pain and inflammation. Supplementation of ginger, both raw and heat-treated resulted in decreased muscle pain significantly in the volunteers.
In another study, published in February 2009, the pain relieving affects of ginger were assessed in women with dysmenorrheal (painful menstrual cramps). In this study of 150 students over age 18, students received either 250-milligram (mg)-capsules of ginger rhizome powder, 250 mg mefenamic acid (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) or 400 mg ibuprofen capsules for 3 days at the beginning of their menstrual period. At the end of the three days of treatment, all groups reported a significant decrease in pain without side effects. Ginger was as effective as mefenamic acid and ibuprofen in this study.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has long been a staple in Chinese medicine for a wide range of uses. In the United States, ginger tea is commonly recommended for women suffering from morning sickness - or nausea of pregnancy, and for nausea in general. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which is likely one of the reasons it is effective against pain and arthritis. Ginger is not recommended for individuals with gallstones as it may promote the production of bile. It is also not recommended for individuals taking blood-thinning medication since it has blood thinning properties of its own.
Black CD, Herring MP, Hurley DJ et al: Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise. J Pain 2010 Sep; 11(9):894-903.
Ozgoli G, Goli M & Moattar F: Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. J Altern Complement Med 2009 Feb;15(2):129-132.