Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis

Arthritis Rheum. 2001 Nov;44(11):2531-8. doi: 10.1002/1529-0131(200111)44:11<2531::aid-art433>3.0.co;2-j.

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of a standardized and highly concentrated extract of 2 ginger species, Zingiber officinale and Alpinia galanga (EV.EXT 77), in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.

Methods: Two hundred sixty-one patients with OA of the knee and moderate-to-severe pain were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter, parallel-group, 6-week study. After washout, patients received ginger extract or placebo twice daily, with acetaminophen allowed as rescue medication. The primary efficacy variable was the proportion of responders experiencing a reduction in "knee pain on standing," using an intent-to-treat analysis. A responder was defined by a reduction in pain of > or = 15 mm on a visual analog scale.

Results: In the 247 evaluable patients, the percentage of responders experiencing a reduction in knee pain on standing was superior in the ginger extract group compared with the control group (63% versus 50%; P = 0.048). Analysis of the secondary efficacy variables revealed a consistently greater response in the ginger extract group compared with the control group, when analyzing mean values: reduction in knee pain on standing (24.5 mm versus 16.4 mm; P = 0.005), reduction in knee pain after walking 50 feet (15.1 mm versus 8.7 mm; P = 0.016), and reduction in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities osteoarthritis composite index (12.9 mm versus 9.0 mm; P = 0.087). Change in global status and reduction in intake of rescue medication were numerically greater in the ginger extract group. Change in quality of life was equal in the 2 groups. Patients receiving ginger extract experienced more gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events than did the placebo group (59 patients versus 21 patients). GI adverse events were mostly mild.

Conclusion: A highly purified and standardized ginger extract had a statistically significant effect on reducing symptoms of OA of the knee. This effect was moderate. There was a good safety profile, with mostly mild GI adverse events in the ginger extract group.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Digestive System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Digestive System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Ginger* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / drug therapy*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome

Substances

  • Plant Extracts