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If you are bothered by the pain of arthritis or "muscular discomfort," you may get relief from a common spice -- powdered ginger. So finds a new study by Danish researchers at Odense University.

When 28 persons with rheumatoid arthritis and 18 with osteoarthritis used ginger every day for up to 2 1/2 years, three-fourths of them got relief of pain and swelling. All 10 patients with muscular discomfort reported less pain.

The theory is that ginger works as an anti-inflammatory by blocking production of substances called prostaglandins and leukotrienes that cause pain and swelling.

Further, ginger did not cause any adverse side effects, unlike other powerful drugs used to treat arthritis, the researchers noted. The spice has a long history of safety and effectiveness as an anti-arthritis drug in Indian medicine, they point out.

Dr. Krishna Srivastava, study director, says a typical effective dose is about one-third teaspoon of ground ginger taken three times a day. Dissolve it in liquid or take it with food so it doesn't burn your mouth.

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