If you struggle with chronic pain, there are a few great herbal treatments that may help. I now have an e-book for sale that teaches how to use different herbs to decrease pain. One of those wonderful herbs is ginger for pain management.
Ginger has many medicinal qualities. The active compound in ginger is gingerol, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It also has analgesic, antimicrobial, anticancer, neuroprotective, cardiovascular protective, and respiratory protective properties. It also helps with obesity and diabetes. Ginger is typically thought of for controlling nausea, but it does so much more.
Ginger also has a lot of flavonoids in it. Flavonoids are antioxidants that help to reduce excessive free radicals and oxidative stress in our bodies. Oxidative stress causes many chronic health conditions, like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Taking antioxidants on a regular basis can help combat many of those diseases.
Ginger isn’t as widely used as an anti-inflammatory as turmeric, but it’s still pretty powerful. Excess inflammation causes lots of diseases as well, and can be a main cause of pain.
Traditional medicinal uses for ginger
Ginger has been used medicinally for approximately 4,000 years. It was first used in Chinese medicine, and has had a prominent role in Japanese and Indian medicine since the 1500’s. It was traditionally used to treat nausea, colds, arthritis, migraines, and high blood pressure. These traditional uses are still very much alive today.
Ginger is spicy, sweet, and warming. This makes it beneficial for cold and damp conditions. Its antihistamine properties help ward off respiratory issues and colds. A cup of warming ginger tea is a perfect way to wind down after a cold, wet day.
In Ayurveda, ginger is considered the best herb for digestion. That is why it’s been used for centuries for nausea, indigestion, upset stomach, vomiting, gas, and morning sickness. It is also a common ingredient in herbal bitters.
Ginger is a natural pain reliever
The active compounds in ginger are gingerols, shagols, and zingerones. These compounds have analgesic and muscle relaxing properties. They also help improve blood circulation to the injured area, which relieves pain.
As an anti-inflammatory, ginger helps relieve chronic pain due to inflammatory conditions. Inflammation is normal and healthy for our bodies, but an excess of inflammation can cause pain and disease. Ginger helps to ward off excess inflammation with its high amounts of selenium.
Ginger regulates the immune system
With autoimmune disorders like Rheumatoid Arthritis, your body’s white blood cells react to what they believe is an impending sickness. Ginger helps to regulate this phenomenon and helps stop this autoimmune response.
Ginger has been shown to regulate inflammatory genes. It increases the expression of anti-inflammatory genes while decreasing pro-inflammatory gene expression in people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. This helps the body develop a healthy inflammatory response and helps reduce pain.
Ginger is a prostaglandin reducer
Like many pharmaceutical NSAID’s, ginger reduces the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormones created during a chemical reaction at the site where an injury or other issue occurs. Prostaglandins control several processes in the body that relate to the healing process. While prostaglandins are typically considered beneficial, they also cause pain, fever and inflammation.
Ginger helps inhibit cyclooxygenase-2, which in turn lowers the amount of prostaglandins that are produced. This helps to significantly decrease pain.
Ginger is safe for almost everyone
Ginger is considered generally safe for most people, even pregnant women. However, ginger does thin the blood. It should be avoided by people with blood clotting disorders or who take blood clotting meds. Ginger tends to also lower blood sugar levels. This is good for people who control their diabetes or pre-diabetes through their diets. But those who take medicine or insulin to lower blood sugar should be cautious, as it could lower the blood sugar too much.
Also, people who are on high blood pressure medication should be wary of using ginger medicinally. Ginger could react with the meds and drop blood pressure to dangerously low levels.
While ginger is less potent than turmeric at managing pain and inflammation, turmeric is not recommended to take for long periods of time. People who are on a turmeric regimen should sometimes stop taking turmeric for a while. If pain and inflammation persists during this time, ginger is a good substitute.
Using ginger to manage pain
Ginger is available in many different forms, from fresh to powdered, candied to pickled. Powdered or fresh ginger is easy to add to foods for the nice zing it gives. It can also be put into a tea this way. Candied ginger makes a nice healthy treat. Doctors suggest adults consume no more than 4 grams of powdered ginger root daily. Pregnant women should keep it below 1 gram daily.
Ginger is even available in a cream or oil form. You can use this cream or oil to massage into painful areas. Ginger creams and oils are gently warming and penetrating, and will help ease the pain.
Using ginger for pain management can be a bit of a long haul. It is best to take ginger on a consistent basis for the medicinal properties it provides. And the best way to do this is with a ginger supplement. A supplement is an easy way to take a recommended dosage on a regular basis. It takes the guess work away!
Do you use ginger for pain?
Have you discovered the benefits of ginger for pain? Do you use ginger for pain management on a regular basis? Please share your experiences in the comments!