The use of ginger for arthritis can be an effective alternative treatment to medication. Known as a traditional remedy for joint pain, the herb has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have also shown that for many people, it is more effective than a placebo for relieving pain and stiffness, though more research is needed to verify its viability as a treatment option. It may not be effective for everyone, so patients may need to try it to see how well it works for them, though they should talk to a doctor first to make sure it is safe for them.
Using ginger for arthritis has long been a folk remedy, and scientific research has verified that use of the herb in this manner is probably well justified. This is because ginger has been shown to block a number of substances in the body that cause inflammation, including TNF-alpha, a chemical that contributes to the development of rheumatoid arthritis. It is this anti-inflammatory effect that is thought to be the key to ginger's effectiveness as an alternative arthritis treatment, since joint inflammation is the condition's primary issue.
Not only has research on the herb's properties demonstrated its potential as a treatment option, but clinical trials with arthritis patients have also supported the use of ginger for arthritis. Patients in these trials who were given ginger were significantly more likely to report relief of their symptoms than those given a placebo. More extensive research and trials are probably needed to prove the herb's effectiveness, but initial findings are promising. These results, combined with the fact that ginger is generally well tolerated by most people, may make it an option that is at least worth exploring for many arthritis sufferers.
While traditional use and recent research seem to indicate its potential, the effectiveness of taking ginger for arthritis will likely come down to the individual patient. As with many treatments, ginger may or may not work well for any given person, and determining how well it works might just be a matter of trying it out. Patients should talk to their doctors before taking ginger, however; while most people can take it without any ill effects, it can interfere with certain medications and aggravate some medical conditions. In particular, it may not be a good option for those taking blood thinners or who have gallstones, though a doctor should assess its potential effect on other drugs and conditions as well.