Background: Ginger rhizomes (rich in gingerols, shogaols, paradols and zingerone) have been used in Asia for the treatment of asthma, diabetes, and pain, and have shown potent anti-inflammatory attributes. Common spices such as Cinnamon (including cinnamic aldehyde and cinnamyl aldehydeis) are used in food and many studies have focused on its anti-inflammatory components. Intense exercise can result in an inflammatory response to cell damage and also muscle soreness. The efficacy of dietary ginger and cinnamon as anti-inflammatory agents and their effectiveness in reducing muscle soreness has been investigated in limited studies on humans. Therefore, we have studied the effects of dietary ginger and cinnamon on inflammation and muscle soreness in Iranian female taekwondo players.
Methods: Sixty healthy, trained women, aged 13-25 years, were enrolled in the six-week investigation and randomly categorized into three groups (cinnamon, ginger or placebo) and received 3 g of ginger, cinnamon or placebo powder each day, depending on the group they belonged to. The IL-6 level and Likert Scale of Muscle Soreness were evaluated at the beginning and the end of the study and compared among the groups.
Results: Forty-nine of the participants completed the six-week intervention. There were no significant changes in the IL-6 cinnamon and ginger group when compared with the placebo group, whereas, there was a significant fall in muscle soreness in the cinnamon group and placebo (P < 0.1) and ginger group and placebo (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: Administration of ginger and cinnamon in athlete women for six weeks did not show any significant change in the IL-6 level, but showed a decrease in muscle soreness in the cinnamon and ginger groups.
Keywords: Athletes; cinnamon; ginger; inflammation; muscle soreness.