Although they smell wonderful, foods like gingerbread, gingersnaps and ginger tea may not contain enough ginger to have an effect, says Dr. Altman. The capsule taken twice daily by patients in Dr. Altman’s study contained 255 milligrams (mg) of ginger, the equivalent of nearly a bushel of your grocer’s ginger.

Before taking ginger, be sure to check with your doctor. If you get the “go ahead” from your physician, try a 100- to 200-mg ginger capsule each day for four to six weeks to see if you feel an effect. Steer clear of ginger if you’re taking a blood-thinning medication, like warfarin (Coumadin), as ginger may reverse the effects of these types of drugs.

“Grate” Alternatives

If you prefer the tangy zip of fresh ginger, here’s some good news. Researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens and Georgia State College & University in Milledgeville reported in the Journal of Pain that a few tablespoons of grated ginger can help ease muscle pain caused by exercise.

You can add a few tablespoons to you diet by grating ginger over a salad or into a stir fry.

Or you could grate one to two teaspoons and simmer it in a pot with hot water for five minutes to make a soothing tea.