The other day a new patient came to my office feeling like he was “coming down with something.” There was no fever or coughing… but he felt tired, stiff, and achy. He even told me he was taking four Advils a day – just to get by.
If his story sounds like your life too, you’re among the millions who suffer from chronic pain. It’s the leading cause of disability in the U.S. And I know it can be downright unbearable at times.
But as a doctor, I must warn you: Taking painkillers can have dangerous – even deadly – side effects. Drugs such as Motrin, Advil, Aleve, and other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have been linked to kidney damage, anemia, heart palpitations, and gastrointestinal hemorrhaging.
That’s pretty scary stuff. Especially when you consider that tens of millions of prescriptions (not to mention over-the-counter drugs) are written for NSAIDs each year in the U.S. alone!
But today I want to recommend to you a painkiller that’s not scary at all. In fact, you probably don’t have to look beyond your kitchen cabinet to find it.
I’m talking about ginger.
For centuries it’s been used throughout Asia to treat joint pain, colds, and even indigestion.
It can reduce pain in the muscles and joints by as much as 25%.(1)
And taking raw and cooked ginger daily can be an effective pain reliever – even for inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis.
That’s because inflammation is the root cause all kinds of problems – from arthritis to back pain to muscle aches.
Ginger contains 12 different compounds that fight inflammation. Some block the Cox-2 enzyme, which triggers it. Some lower pain receptor and nerve-ending sensitivity. Together they work almost the same as anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
So, if you want to cut back on painkillers and avoid the harmful side effects, supplement your diet with ginger.
Here are some ways to get your daily doses:
- Stir fry food with it: It’ll add an invigorating taste to any meat and vegetable dish. Sprinkle some grated ginger on top for even more great flavor.
- Supplement: Most pharmacies or health food stores sell ginger powder in pills or capsules. Look for an extract with 5% gingerols.
- Use a ginger compress on painful areas: It’ll stimulate blood flow and ease achy joints.
- Drink ginger tea: It’s cheap. It’s easy. It tastes great. And it heals. Here’s a recipe I use:
- water, 4 cups
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root
- optional: honey and lemon slice
Peel the ginger root and slice it into thin slices. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Once it’s boiling, add the ginger. Then cover it, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the tea. Add honey and lemon to taste.
1. Ozgoli G, Goli M, Moattar F. “Comparison of Effects of Ginger, Mefenamic Acid, and Ibuprofen on Pain in Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea.” J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Feb;15(2):129-32.
Dr. Al Sears is fast becoming the nation's leading authority on longevity and heart health. His cutting edge breakthroughs and commanding knowledge of alternative medicine have been transforming the lives of his patients for over 15 years.
Dr. Sears currently owns and operates a successful integrative medicine and anti-aging clinic in Wellington, Florida with over 15,000 patients. Over the course of his career, he has developed his own approach to heart health, longevity and anti-aging medicine - combining the best of modern medical science with natural holistic techniques and treatments.