Ginger could be an effective treatment for arthritis, US researchers reveal this week. In a recent clinical trial a pill containing extracts of the root spice has proved to be as effective as conventional painkillers. Scientists at the University of Miami Medical School tested a highly-concentrated ginger supplement on 250 people with osteoarthritis, the most common form of the condition. Each was suffering from moderate to severe pain. Over a six week period, some were given a 255 milligram dose of the dietary supplement twice a day. The rest were given a placebo. The results revealed that two-thirds of those given the ginger pills reported relief from pain - significantly more than those taking the placebo. Professor Altman, the study's leader, said: "The effect is similar to that seen with trials using conventional drugs." The scientists stressed that more research was required to fully explore the effect of ginger on arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the commonest form of joint disease and is generally considered to be due to "wear and tear" of the joints leading to damage of the joint surfaces which gives pain on movement. Full findings are published in the current issue of ,the official journal of the American College of Rheumatology, Vol 44, 2001, November 2001, No.11.