Acute effects of dietary ginger on muscle pain induced by eccentric exercise

Phytother Res. 2010 Nov;24(11):1620-6. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3148.


Zingiber officinale, commonly known as ginger, has analgesic and antiinflammatory properties. The acute effects of ginger on muscle pain, inflammation and dysfunction induced by eccentric exercise were examined. Twenty-seven participants performed 24 eccentric actions of the non-dominant elbow flexors. In a double-blind, cross-over design, participants ingested a 2 g dose of ginger or placebo 24 h and 48 h after exercise. Pain intensity (0-100 mm), arm volume (water displacement), range-of-motion (goniometry) and metabolic rate were assessed before and 45 min after ingestion of ginger or placebo. Eccentric exercise induced moderate arm pain (39 ± 20 mm; mean ± SD) and dysfunction (14% decrease in ROM) and an increase in volume (1.8%). Overall, ginger consumption demonstrated no effect on muscle pain, dysfunction, or metabolic rate compared with placebo. In the sub-set of participants who consumed ginger 24 h after exercise, arm pain was reduced (13%, -5.9 ± 8.8 mm) the following day, 48 h after exercise. Participants who ingested placebo 24 h post-exercise exhibited no change in pain the following day (0.0 ± 14.7 mm). In conclusion, a single 2 g dose of ginger does not attenuate eccentric exercise-induced muscle pain, inflammation or dysfunction 45 min after ingestion. However, ginger may attenuate the day-to-day progression of muscle pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Elbow / physiopathology
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Young Adult
  • Zingiber officinale / chemistry*


  • Analgesics