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Why Does Ginger Burn My Throat

by Dan Hughes
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Why Does Ginger Burn My Throat

Why Does Ginger Burn My Throat

The first thing I ever learned about how to cure a headache was that it helps if you take the medicine on an empty stomach. This is because headaches are caused by pressure inside your head, which is why taking a pill can make them go away. In order for this to work, there needs to be room in your skull for the drug to do its job. A full stomach or one with indigestion will prevent any such space from forming. So when you take Tylenol PM at night before bed, and then wake up in the middle of the night needing to use the bathroom, try eating something small like yogurt to help clear out the space for the pain relieving medication.
I’m sure you’ve experienced similar symptoms yourself, though probably without realizing it. You wake up one morning feeling as if someone dropped a brick onto your forehead, only to discover that while sleep must have relaxed your muscles in your face and jaw, it also made your eyes water. The cause of this is usually dryness, so to combat it, you reach for some hand sanitizer and start blowing your nose. But instead of soothing your parched nasal passages, all you feel is searing pain when you inhale through your nostrils. If you’ve ever had a runny nose after being sick, you know what I mean. When you were sick, your body released mucus to protect itself against germs. But now that your body isn’t fighting off infection, the mucus just sits there causing you discomfort.
This is exactly what happens with your mouth when you get a sore throat. Your immune system releases phlegm (a term derived from phlygma, meaning “phlegm”) to fight off infections, especially those in your throat. However, when you don’t need these defenses anymore, they end up doing more harm than good. All that mucus causes irritation and inflammation, giving you a case of soggy sinuses and a nasty cough. Not to mention how much it hurts when you swallow. To treat this, doctors recommend using over-the-counter cold medicines containing antihistamines, decongestants, expectorants, mucolytics, and analgesics. These drugs relax your airways, making breathing easier, and reducing congestion and swelling. While they can relieve many of the symptoms associated with a sore throat, none of them solve the underlying problem — namely, the inflammation and itching caused by dry mucus.
But wait! There are natural ways to reduce inflammation and discomfort caused by a sore throat. And the best part is that they won’t leave you drowsy, nauseous, or groggy. Instead, they’ll give you back your sense of taste and smell. Keep reading to find out what makes ginger so effective.
Ginger Helps Relieve Pain Without Burning Your Throat
When something burns, we call it painful. But things aren’t always painful simply because they burn. For example, heat doesn’t necessarily hurt unless you apply too hot of a flame to skin tissue. Similarly, ginger may not actually burn your palate, even though it feels like it does. Instead, the sensation of pain occurs when nerves in your throat misinterpret sensations as burning. They trick nerve receptors in your mouth into thinking you’re burning, when all you want is to eat or drink something cool. This leads to a vicious cycle of scratchy throat, dry mouth, and more scratching.
While no known compound within ginger reduces inflammation, researchers believe it works due to its high concentration of bioactive compounds called gingerols. One of these, 6-gingerol, blocks calcium channels in the cells lining our bodies’ membranes. Calcium influx triggers inflammatory reactions, including muscle contractions, cell division, and release of chemicals that attract white blood cells to sites of injury. By inhibiting calcium influx, gingerols prevent these processes from happening, thus reducing inflammation. Other studies suggest that ginger contains antioxidants that neutralize free radicals that damage tissues [sources: Singh et al., Chaturvedi].
In addition to acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, ginger contains compounds that relieve coughing. Known as shogaols, these substances stimulate mast cells to release histamine, which opens up tiny pores in the lungs’ bronchial tubes. Histamine dilates them, allowing fluid to pass through. With less fluid backing up in your chest cavity, you can breathe better and expel more mucus.
So next time you feel a burning pain down below, remember that it could come from your throat, but it probably just means you ate something spicy.
To learn more about ginger, see the links on the following page.
Itching and inflammation aren’t the only things ginger treats. It also relieves motion sickness nausea, morning sickness, and digestive disorders. Studies show ginger supplements reduce gastric ulcers and heartburn.

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