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Ginger trials for osteoarthritis

Trial 1

In this trial, 67 participants with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee were given one of the following treatments three times a day for three weeks:

  • 170 mg capsules of ginger extract
  • 400 mg ibuprofen tablets
  • a placebo.

Participants were given paracetamol as a ‘rescue drug’ for pain relief during the study.

  • Participants who were given ibuprofen or ginger had a significant reduction in pain scores and reported taking less paracetamol compared to those who got placebo tablets.
  • Ibuprofen was more effective than ginger in both treatment outcomes.

Trial 2

Trial 2 included 29 people with knee osteoarthritis. Participants were given either 250 mg of ginger capsules or placebo capsules four times a day for 3 months (phase A). The groups then swapped treatments for three months (phase B).

  • At the end of phase A, participants who were treated with ginger had a significant reduction in pain and disease-related disability when compared to participants who were allocated a placebo during the same phase.
  • No significant difference between treatment groups was observed at the end of phase B.

Trial 3

In the final trial, 247 participants with knee osteoarthritis were given either 255 mg of ginger capsules or placebo capsules twice a day for six months. Paracetamol was given as a rescue drug for pain relief during the study.

  • 63% of the participants who were treated with ginger had significant reduction in knee pain compared to 50% of the placebo group.
  • The severity of pain and overall improvement of osteoarthritis-related symptoms were also significantly reduced in the group taking ginger compared to the placebo group.
  • Both groups were similar with respect to their perceived improvement in quality of life.
  • The ginger group reported more gastrointestinal side-effects (like heartburn), but they were relatively mild and tolerable.

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