Arthritis Relief: Is Ginger Good for Joint Relief?

We want to live life to our fullest; this means no arthritis pain. Many use drugs for arthritis relief, but safety is a concerns. Is ginger good for joint relief?

Mother Nature knew what she was doing.  Us–not so much.

It seems like anytime we try to mess with nature we screw things up.  Anti-inflammatories are certainly on this list.  Here is how things usually work:

  • Nature makes a compound that positively effects some pathway in our body.  This effect is usually subtle and takes time for the effect to show, but has a very good safety profile for long term use.
  • Scientists find said natural compound and modify it so that it has a strong short term effect but thus becomes dangerous in the long run.

Overall, the drug companies try to find compounds that have the greatest effect at the lowest concentrations.  They want compounds with as high of a LD50 as possible (the LD50 is the level at which the compound kills 50% of the study participants).  But they all will kill at high enough dosages (even water can kill if you stuff enough of it in our bloodstream).

While the list of problems associated with anti-inflammatories (specifically the NSAID class of drugs) is quite long and has been addressed in prior posts that can be read here, suffice it to say that I consider this one of the most dangerous classes of drugs, resulting from a combination of the broad spectrum of subtle side effects combined with the near-universal belief in their safety by the general population.

 There are many natural, unadulterated compounds that have been shown to lower inflammation and have solid research behind them.  Curcumin / turmeric, boswellia, cat’s claw and proteolytic enzymes to name a few.  Ginger is also on the list.

This particular study looks at the effectiveness of ginger to both control pain associated with arthritis as well as protect the lining of the stomach (a MAJOR concern with NSAIDs).  It was compared with diclofenac (Voltaren), a common anti-inflammatory used for arthritis pain.

The safety profile of ginger was, as expected, much better on the stomach than the diclofenac.  Surprisingly, the pain relief was equivalent in both groups (as measured by the Visual Analog Scale, or VAS).

If you have tried ginger for arthritis relief, what was your experience?

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.