ginger root

Q. My 86-year-old mother began to suffer with restless leg syndrome in her 40s; the severity has increased through the years. Recently, she realized that the symptoms had decreased markedly.
She tried to isolate the source of her relief and finally hit on crystallized ginger. She began eating a lot of in recent months to minimize her chocolate intake.

A. We could find no scientific studies demonstrating that ginger can relieve restless leg syndrome. Ginger does have anti-inflammatory properties and has traditionally been used for motion sickness, digestive upset and for cold symptoms.
Your mother’s remedy is a low-cost, low-risk approach for a condition that is hard to treat. Readers interested in other remedies will find them in our Guide to Leg Pain.

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  1. Marley

    When I was sick with a stomach flu, the only thing I could digest was canada dry ginger ale. I have had rls for over 36 years and am now on mirapex. I am up to 1mg a night. That night after drinking the ginger ale all day, I noticed my legs were not jumping at all. I woke in the morning and realized it had to have been the ginger ale that helped my rls..

  2. Ark

    Great info. Please keep up the good work.

  3. Lisa

    I am 47 and have had RLS since my 20’s. A cup of coffee works wonders for my restless legs. Its especially useful on flights. I am so happy to have such an easy cure!

  4. frannie

    Can I use fresh ginger and turmeric instead of pill form?

    • Emily
      Belford, NJ

      Frannie, coffee actually exacerbates my restless legs horribly. I am currently at work and my legs are relentlessly jumping under my desk. It is so frustrating; almost unbearably so. I find that the absolute best remedy for my RLS is a cup of chamomile tea. It really is wondrous. It’s too bad that it makes me so sleepy. I don’t trust it enough to drink during the day; I only drink it to sleep at night. It makes me feel like weights are attached to my feet and they just sink comfortably into the mattress.

  5. L

    Rooibos tea, the stronger the more effective, helps a lot with RLS. Take when you have the symptoms, or during the evening. You can also get capsules of ‘Rooibos Tea Extract’ or ‘Full Spectrum Rooibos’ online from Swanson Herbs. Take 1 to 5 caps depending on severity of symptoms. Works better than the tea. I have also made a strong tincture of Rooibos and take 1 to 2 tsp. (Pour half bottle of vodka into a glass jar. Mix in Rooibos tea till when you let it sit for an hour or so, there is 1/4 to 1/2 inch of liquid on top. It will be very thick. You use lots of Rooibos to get a strong tincture. Steep 2-3 weeks, shaking once or twice a day, then strain. It lasts for many years.) The tincture or caps are easier to take in the middle of the night, instead of getting up and waiting for tea to steep. Or you can make a strong cup of tea earlier in the day, so it’s ready for night time.

  6. Sandy

    I have put on 25 pounds in the 3-4 years I have been taking Mirapex. It is the only medication I take. I have never had a weight problem in my life. I went from 130 to 155. I have had RLS for 50 years, I am 77 now. I am going to try the ginger. I had never heard of that remedy before.

  7. Ark

    It is strange but I notice that when I use Gas-x more frequently, it cause me to have RLS symptoms…. is this coincidental or is there is some scientific reason behind that?

  8. Linda

    Does anybody know why my restless goes away when I drink coffee? Seems odd to me but it works. Linda

  9. Ark

    I have been experiencing RLS lately more frequently. Is it possible that taking Gas-x to prevent excess may be causing this symptoms of RLS??

  10. Mrs Patricia H.

    I have just seen your results on ginger does ginger powder you get in the spice department work? I also tried tonic water. Thanks for this site.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: We think that it would work, but we don’t know the dose.

  11. CBF

    Yes, you can get ginger in a capsule, although I am not sure where to tell you to purchase it. I have a supplement that contains ginger and turmeric, both spices that have immense health benefits. I too am tackling RLS and have just now seen these posts about ginger. Will commence to taking ginger and see what happens. Hope this helps!

  12. Patricia

    I have RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME (it’s a horrible thing to have) and taking Mirapex (1 mg.) I have put on 16lbs in the 4 months that I have been taking it. I’m very active. My Dr. doesn’t think that Mirapex is the cause, I do. What do you think and maybe changing to another medicine for Restless Legs???

  13. Judy

    On the subject of RESTLESS LEGS! I’ve dealt with this condition for several years. My Dr. prescribed Requipt for this condition. I received no relief what so ever from this prescription. I was out of work for several months, now that I’m back working my pain is worse than ever. I’ve wakened in the morning with the mattress half way off the bed. This RESTLESS LEG is very real! I’d like to know if you can get ginger in a capsule or if it has to be the actual root, also does Ginger ale have enough ginger in it to do any good for this condition. I really need help from some one or something, Thank you for your time, and help!

  14. walter c.

    My partner has been afflicted to a great degree with RLS, specially after she finished her chemo of six months for Non Hodgekins Lymphoma, it has gotten to the point that almost every night it comes on, with all the consequences sleep deprived etc.
    Her primary Doctor prescribed for her ” Reponirole “to take close to bedtime,……… most of the time its effective but some of the time its not, I was told by her Cardiologist’s nurse that her grandma took a bar of Octagon soap and another one called “Seals Nectar ” either one and to put it in the bed down by the feet in between the fitted sheet and the top sheet at night when she goes to bed, apparently she swears by it and found almost total relief.
    I’m just wondering if you ever heard of that, maybe there are other things you could share with me that would be helpful. I had no Idea how common this RLS is, It’s awful. Please reply to my comment.
    Thank You

  15. R.G.

    I have started taking crysalized ginger for RLS and burning in my feet and legs awakening me from sleep. I read about the effectiveness of ginger in your column in our paper, The Baltimore Sun. I tried, unsuccessfully, several times to get in touch with you via e-mail, etc., as I want to know how many pieces of the ginger should I take daily. I am 79 , take only one medication per day, Linsinopril,(I do not have high B/P but my Dr. likes to have his patiens my age and a little older on this medication) low dosage and lots of vitamins. I’ve stopped wearing flip-flops, running shoes and have returned to my SAS supportive shoes and using the ginger. I feel that the improvement I am having in my legs and feet is, I hope, due to the ginger.
    I take one piece of ginger after each meal and one during the evening hours. Is that too many? Thanks.

  16. MARCEL

    My mother is 95 years old, she has had RLS for over 50 years and as you get older it gets worst…
    We have tried every thing with no results… magnesium, potassium, apple cider, apple juice, I can go on and on. The only thing is maripex .025 mg., still many time no effect. I saw your article and I said maybe this could work….
    On your ginger mixer what is the ratio of ginger to water and how long do you boil it, before using?
    I also saw crystal ginger that is helping other…
    greatly appreciate your response…

  17. carol

    My years of discomfort caused by RLS disappeared about 5 years ago after I mentioned this affliction to an acupuncturist. Amazing how easily an acupuncture treatment just took it away!!

  18. MR

    I have had excellent relief from restless legs syndrome by drinking rooibos tea with or after dinner. I also take a magnesium supplement with dinner, which could be a key ingredient for some — I heard that rooibos tea helps our bodies absorb magnesium. And this may or may not affect restless legs, but definitely makes it hard for me to get to sleep: I finally realized that it is important not to eat anything substantial too close to bedtime (usually a piece of fruit is okay).

  19. Gin

    I love ginger and use it for several different issues. I have food sensitivities and occasionally I will be exposed to a hidden no-no, I make a cup of ginger tea and finds it really helps my discomfort. And for the cold remedy, it works! In the winter months my husband and I routinely drink it in the late evenings. We did not have but one minor sinus type cold all last winter and we are in our mid 70’s.

  20. Paul43

    I would like to see a few more comments about this as I suffer sometimes from RLS.

  21. Carole

    Restless Leg Syndrome can also be caused by iron deficiency if a person is anemic. To find out, the hemoglobin and ferritin levels should both be checked. I had severe RLS for years before I found this info on the internet and contacted my doctor. I had very low stores of iron in my brain. Now I take slow-release iron every day and it’s helped a lot. However, make sure to know your levels before you take high doses of iron!

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