Ginger and Joint Pain in Eastern Medicine

Ginger has stood the test of time in the East, being wildly popular in Chinese, Indian, and Indonesian cuisine and everyday life. Most people are familiar with ginger’s popularity as a spice, and its use in teas, juices, and meals, but did you know that many in the East use ginger root to treat specific conditions?

What is ginger?

Going as far back as 200 BCE, ginger root is known as one of the oldest ingredients in Eastern medicine. Ginger root is used in many Asian countries to treat joint pain, constipation, nausea and motion sickness – some of which has been adopted by the Western world over time. The popular herb’s place in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine and cuisine cannot be understated; the versatile ginger root has presented a multitude of uses since its discovery.

The two most useful compounds found in ginger are known as gingerols, which are generally found in fresh ginger, and shogaols, which can be found in dried and cooked ginger. These two compounds are what make ginger so pungent and spicy. In the East, gingerols are thought to be effective in the treatment of joint pain, while shogaols are used to treat coughing and to reduce blood pressure.

What is ginger believed to do?

Ginger has been used for centuries in China and India, and its consumption is believed to decrease soreness, aching, and inflammation in the joints. Many in the East believe that ginger works on joints in a similar way to many NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen – without the side effects of taking these medications regularly.

How is ginger used in the East?

An ancient Indian proverb states that “everything good is found in ginger”, so it’s no wonder why ginger still plays an important role in the country’s treatment of joint pain and other ailments. Ginger is often found in spiced teas during the country’s cold winter season. The most popular tea containing this powerful ingredient is Masala Chai, which has found popularity in the West. Ginger is also used in many Indian curries, combined with a wide range of other spices and ingredients.

Since ginger originated in the region, the Chinese have always held a great deal of fondness for the powerful spice. A popular saying in China is the “ginger restores devastated yang and expels cold” – another strong endorsement for the versatile ginger. The spice is an important part of everyday Chinese life, and is used in a wide variety of ways. Ginger is often combined with beef dishes, used in herbal teas, and can be found in sauces, soups, and porridge.

The versatility of ginger has ensured its place in the daily lives of many Chinese and Indian citizens, using it for its anti-inflammatory properties in order to treat joint pain associated with arthritis, colds, headaches, and motion sickness. With all its uses and benefits, it’s no wonder why ginger has played such an important part in Eastern culture.

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