New York: Eating ginger can help ease muscle pain caused by heavy exercise, new research from the US suggests.
A daily dose of the spice can helo relieve the aches from sport, or even gardening and heavy housework.
An age-old remedy for a variety of ailments including colds and upset stomachs, scientists have long known it has painkilling properties.
But the new research from the University of Georgia confirms that it is particularly good at preventing muscle pain.
Ginger has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect in rodents, but its effect on muscle pain in humans has never been properly studied.
It is known to contain chemicals that work in a similar way to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen and aspirin.
Previous studies have shown it can be effective in relieving the pain of arthritis.
Professor OConnor directed two studies in which 34 and 40 volunteers respectively took capsules containing two grams of either raw or heat-treated ginger, or a placebo for 11 consecutive days.
On the eighth day they lifted weights to induce moderate muscle injury in the arm. Arm function, inflammation and pain were assessed before the exercise and for three days after. The levels of a chemical involved in feeling pain was also measured before and after.
The studies showed daily ginger intake reduced the exercise-induced pain by 25 per cent. Heating the ginger had no effect.
The research, funded by the McCormick Science Institute, will be published in the September issue of The Journal of Pain.