Can ginger help joint pain?

Marion Hauser Ginger and joint painMarion Hauser, MS, RD

The medicinal value of ginger has been known for thousands of years. In this article, we will look at ginger and how it can help problems of osteoarthritis.

There is not a lot of research surrounding the use of ginger for joint pain. It is not because researchers think ginger is not effective in helping joint pain, rather, it is more likely because of the difficulty in getting research funding for a substance that is remarkably inexpensive and not a lucrative product for anyone looking to enter the multi-billion dollar joint pain relief market. But there is research and the research is “mighty,” and “amazing.”

But there is research and the research is “mighty,” and “amazing.”

“Mighty” and “Amazing” are words you usually do not see in the scientific papers, but extraordinary claims can be made when they are backed and supported by extraordinary evidence

There is outstanding research behind the medicinal value of ginger. For a book to make it to the National Center for Biotechnology Information bookshelf, it has to be well versed in the science of its subject matter. In the book Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition, authors Ann M. Bode and Zigang Dong wrote a remarkable chapter called: The Amazing and Mighty Ginger.

Here are the learning points of this chapter as it relates to joint pain:

Ginger is doing a lot of anti-inflammatory work. It is easy to see why this research ends with the conclusion “Ginger appears to be safe and its effects are mighty and amazing in its many applications.”(1)

The evidence that adding the mighty and amazing ginger to your diet can help your joint pain. Researchers look at 500 mg of ginger supplements .

Here is more research. University hospital researchers in Iran writing in the Journal of nutrition in gerontology and geriatrics examined the effects of 500 mg of ginger supplements on older patients with osteoarthritis. Here are their findings:

Comment: 500 mg of ginger for 3 months, reduction of inflammation in older patients

Simultaneously, members of the same research team examined serum concentration of nitric oxide and hs-C reactive protein after the ginger supplementation and published their results in the Journal of traditional and complementary medicine.

Nitric Oxide is another of our body’s Dr. Jeykll/Mr. Hyde molecules. In a normal joint environment, nitric oxide regulates inflammation as a healing agent. In an abnormal toxic non-healing joint environment, nitric oxide production gets stuck in the  “open,” position creating chronic damaging inflammation. Elevated hs-C reactive protein markers are considered a general indication of inflammatory disease.

Comment: 1000 mg of ginger for 3 months, reduction of inflammation in knee osteoarthritis patients.

The impact on bone growth and inflammation

University researchers in China publishing in the Brazilian journal of medical and biological research found 6-gingerol (the chemical component of fresh ginger)  stimulated osteoblast differentiation (bone turnover that creates new bone) in normal physiological and inflammatory settings, and therefore, 6-gingerol represents a promising agent for treating osteoporosis or bone inflammation.(4)

Ginger protects cartilage

University researchers in Thailand writing in the journal Planta medica, made these observations in their February 2017 study:

Topical Ginger Rub

According to research, you do not have to eat ginger to get the benefits although ginger is very tasty.

University researchers in Thailand writing in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand took 60 patients age 50 to 75 with knee osteoarthritis and gave them ginger extract to use as a topical rub three times a day for 12 weeks. The doctors recorded statistical significant improvement in the patients scores for knee joint pain, symptoms, daily activities, sports activities, and quality of life.(6)

Supporting a better healing experience

When you get a medical treatment, any medical treatment, healing requires a strong immune system and a healthy lifestyle. We often tell patients that his/her diet contributes to their joint pain and that they should explore working with nutritionists to enhance their healing capabilities.

Do you have questions about chronic joint pain? You can get help and information form our Caring Medical Staff

1 Bode AM, Dong Z. The amazing and mighty ginger. Herbal medicine: Biomolecular and clinical aspects. 2011 Mar 28;2. [Google Scholar]

2 Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Naderi Z, Dehghan A, Nadjarzadeh A, Fallah Huseini H. Effect of Ginger Supplementation on Proinflammatory Cytokines in Older Patients with Osteoarthritis: Outcomes of a Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. Journal of nutrition in gerontology and geriatrics. 2016 Jul 2;35(3):209-18. [Google Scholar]

3 Zaderi Z, Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Dehghan A, Nadjarzadeh A, Huseini HF. Effect of ginger powder supplementation on nitric oxide and C-reactive protein in elderly knee osteoarthritis patients: a 12-week double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine. 2016 Jul 31;6(3):199-203. [Google Scholar]

4 Fan JZ, Yang X, Bi ZG. The effects of 6-gingerol on proliferation, differentiation, and maturation of osteoblast-like MG-63 cells. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research. 2015 Jul;48(7):637-43. [Google Scholar]

5 Ruangsuriya J, Budprom P, Viriyakhasem N, Kongdang P, Chokchaitaweesuk C, Sirikaew N, Chomdej S, Nganvongpanit K, Ongchai S. Suppression of Cartilage Degradation by Zingerone Involving the p38 and JNK MAPK Signaling Pathway. Planta medica. 2017 Feb;83(03/04):268-76. [Google Scholar]

6 Taneepanichskul S, Niempoog S. Improving of Knee Osteoarthritic Symptom by the Local Application of Ginger Extract Nanoparticles: A Preliminary Report with Short Term Follow-Up. J Med Assoc Thai. 2015;98(9):871-7. [Google Scholar]

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