Topical Ginger Treatment With a Compress or Patch for Osteoarthritis Symptoms

J Holist Nurs. 2014 Sep;32(3):173-82. doi: 10.1177/0898010113512182. Epub 2013 Dec 4.


Aim: This article is a report of a study evaluating changes in health status before and after topical ginger treatment for adults with moderate to severe osteoarthritis.

Method: In 2011, 20 adults with chronic osteoarthritis were randomly assigned to one of two groups for 7 consecutive days of topical ginger treatment by trained nurses: Group 1 received a manually prepared ginger compress and Group 2 a standardized ginger patch. Participants had the option to continue self-treatment using the ginger patch for a further 24 weeks. A brief arthritis health questionnaire was completed weekly for 3 weeks and 4 weekly for 24 weeks.

Results: The mean scores for Group 1 and Group 2 show a notable decline following 1-week topical ginger treatment; scores in pain, fatigue, global effect, and functional status reduced by 48%, 49%, 40%, and 31%, respectively, whereas health satisfaction improved from 80% dissatisfied to 70% satisfied. Scores for all participants in all five domains progressively reduced over the following 24 weeks of self-treatment.

Conclusion: Topical ginger treatment has the potential to relieve symptoms, improve the overall health, and increase independence of people with chronic osteoarthritis.

Keywords: alternative therapies; chronic conditions; chronic pain; herbal remedies; older adults.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical*
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Osteoarthritis / complications*
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Osteoarthritis / nursing
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain / nursing
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transdermal Patch*
  • Zingiber officinale*


  • Plant Extracts