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Arthritis Relief Products
Of all the herbal remedies currently under investigation as possible arthritis remedies, one of the most promising is ginger. Its analgesic qualities and lack of harmful side effects make this common spice a good option for patients seeking relief without prescription pain relievers.
Many plants used in cooking also have therapeutic qualities, and ginger (zingiber officinale) is no exception. The root has long been used in many cultures for pain relief, a reputation now being substantiated by scientific research. Results are still preliminary, but there is now reason to believe that ginger may live up to its long-standing reputation as an effective natural pain reliever.
In a study published in the November 2001 edition of Arthritis and Rheumatism magazine, R.D. Altman and K. C. Marcussen of the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center reported a significant reduction in knee pain on standing in a group of 247 osteoarthritis patients. The report concluded that a standardized dosage of ginger can be useful in treating painful joint inflammation. Ginger was found to have a good safety profile, and the only adverse effects were mild gastrointestinal symptoms, which quickly subsided with lower doses.
The role of ginger in arthritis treatment is now widely acknowledged in lay medical sources. The entry for ginger in the herbal remedies section of the Learning Channel's website, for instance, cites this use for ginger and recommends a dosage of three to four grams of powdered ginger root daily for chronic arthritis pain.
The supplement guide for Arthritis Today magazine, a respected source, cites a recent study showing that ginger extract prevented the action of chemicals associated with joint inflammation including TNF-a and COX-2. It also cites a 2005 study demonstrating anti-inflammatory properties for ginger.
Research is now illuminating the mechanism by which ginger relieves arthritis pain. In an article published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, R. Grzanna, L. Lindmark and C.G. Frondoza report that ginger, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), reduces inflammation by suppressing prostaglandin production. However, unlike other drugs, ginger also inhibits 5-lipoxygenase which suppresses leukotriene production. The study also observed that dual inhibitors of these chemicals have a better therapeutic profile and cause fewer adverse results than NSAIDs.
It should be noted that these analgesic effects apply to all forms of inflammatory muscle pain, not just arthritis. This raises the possibility that in the future, ginger may be used for a host of painful ailments as an alternative to NSAIDs, and may be more effective than those drugs for many patients. Ginger is especially promising for those who cannot use NSAIDs because of side effects or allergic reactions, since ginger is well-tolerated by nearly all individuals.
Ginger is available in different forms including the ground root, powder, extracts and more. In addition to oral consumption, ginger is sometimes used in baths and poultices applied directly to the joints. All these products have shown some effectiveness, and the selection of a specific product is a matter to be discussed with a professional health care provider.
Ginger has shown a remarkable lack of serious side effects even after being taken for long periods, but it should not be taken casually. Seek the advice of a professional before adopting any herbal product for arthritis relief.
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