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Ginger and Fibromyalgia

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Ginger root, the spice associated with gingerbread and Asian cuisine, is one of the top healing herbs Nature has to offer. Ginger reduces fibromyalgia pain naturally. Ginger helps fibromyalgia in numerous other ways, as well.

While there have been no clinical studies involving ginger for fibromyalgia, there are some studies that have been performed with ginger in other inflammatory diseases, such as osteoarthritis.

It is entirely possible that the results noted in osteoarthritis patients could apply to those with fibromyalgia.

Ginger root is technically an herb, although most people think of it as a spice. It is considered the “quintessential” digestive herb; however, ginger’s healing properties reach much farther than the digestive system.

Ginger, or Zingiber officinale, has been a favorite spice for gingerbread, ginger snap cookies, and Christmas potpourri. It has been prized as both a culinary spice and a healing herb since ancient times. The root, or rhizome, is the coveted part of the ginger plant.

Ways that ginger helps fibromyalgia

Ginger contains protein, healthy plant fats known as lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. It is high in potassium and the antioxidant Vitamin C.

Ginger root contains a powerful digestive enzyme, similar to the digestive enzymes found in papayas and pineapples. This enzyme, called zingibain, breaks down proteins and comprises up to 2% of the entire root.

One gram of zingibain can tenderize twenty pounds of meat. Besides improving digestion, the enzymatic action in ginger also has anti-bacterial, antispasmodic, anti-parasitic, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Because ginger root is both a digestive herb and an antispasmodic, it is very useful to curb nausea and soothe the stomach after vomiting. It has even been used for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and sailors for seasickness.

The anti-spasmodic properties include muscle spasms and restless leg syndrome.

Ginger is Nature’s antacid. It helps regulate bowel elimination by calming over-active intestines. It also relieves gas, bloating, and intestinal cramping.

When ginger is taken as a hot tea, it causes the body to perspire in what is known as a diaphoretic action. Perspiration helps push toxins out of the body through the skin.

If someone has a fever, a cup of ginger tea and a hot bath made with ginger and a few other herbs can help to break the fever. This could be beneficial to the fibromyalgia patient who suffers from colds and sinus infections frequently.

Because ginger is warming, brings blood to the surface of the skin, and has anti-microbial properties, it makes an excellent tonic for sore throats and laryngitis.

Does ginger reduce fibromyalgia pain?

Ginger is a natural pain reliever, confirmed by medical science in a study published in 2010 by the Journal of Advanced Nursing. When participants applied ginger compresses externally on parts of the body affected with osteoarthritis, they reported:

When Ginger Reduces Fibromyalgia Pain: Possible Results
Relaxed, meditative thoughts
Constant, deep, pleasant warmth all over the body
Positive outlook
Increased energy
Physical relaxation over the long term which led to improved relationships
Increased suppleness in the body
Increase in joint flexibility


Of possibly the most importance to fibromyalgia patients is ginger’s effectiveness as a pain reliever.

Cornell University researchers “discovered” ginger’s aspirin-like qualities in 1980. 

A clinical trial published in a 1989 edition of the Kellogg Report demonstrated that rheumatoid arthritis patients who took fresh or powdered ginger root for three months experienced greater pain relief than with NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.

This relief occurred even after years of conventional treatment for pain.

A second study confirmed these findings, stating that 75% of the study subjects found pain relief and reduced swelling over a two and a half year period.

Absolutely no side effects were reported from ginger, whereas NSAIDs may cause fatal bleeding ulcers in the elderly. 

Ginger juice, or extract, is able to keep blood from clotting, making it a wonderful herb for heart health. The one contraindication for using ginger is in patients with blood clotting issues or who are on blood thinners.


Pubmed.gov, Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2010 October; 66(10): 2. ”Ginger compress therapy for adults with osteoarthritis.” Tessa Therkleson.

PubMed.com, Srivastava, K.C. “Effects of aqueous extracts of onion, garlic, and ginger on platelet aggregation and metabolism of arachidonic acid in the blood vascular system: In vitro study.” Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 13, no. 2 (February 1984): 227-35.

Heinerman, J. The Complete Book of Spices. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats, 1983, 38-39.

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