Cancer patients know that chemotherapy comes with a range of unpleasant side effects, one of which is nausea. Although most chemo patients are prescribed antiemetic drugs to help, these drugs often have little effect on chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. The answer to chemo drug side effects may be found in natural cures such as ginger, which new research shows can be used daily to treat nausea from chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy Induced Nausea
Most chemotherapy drugs cause some degree of nausea or digestive upset. Whether it’s stomachache, queasiness, vomiting, or heartburn, roughly 70% of chemo patients report nausea and related symptoms and receive antiemetic (antinausea) medication at some point during treatment. In most cases, though, these drugs don’t work completely, leaving cancer patients suffering from the side-effects of treatment.
Ginger, a Natural Nausea Remedy
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used in traditional medicines around the world as a natural treatment for nausea, stomachache, and other digestive ailments. Although ginger hails from China, it has been used in India’s Ayurvedic medicine, West African healing traditions, and more as well as TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Ginger is most often used to prevent and treat motion sickness and to energize and restore vitality. It has been used to treat nausea, vomiting, and digestive upset for centuries – so it’s only logical that researchers might begin looking into its possible use as a treatment for chemotherapy induced nausea.
Ginger Treatment for Chemo Nausea and Vomiting
New research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology suggests that small to medium doses of ginger (Zingiber Officinale) administered in capsules can be effective in treating post-chemotherapy nausea.
Researchers divided 644 chemo patients into four groups: a placebo group that received only antiemetic drugs and placebo capsules, and three ginger groups who each received antiemetic drugs immediately after their first round of chemo, and either 0.5g, 1.0g, or 1.5g of ginger in capsules for a week overlapping successive rounds of chemotherpay. Each group was asked to report on how nauseous they felt at four different times during the day.
At the end of the trial, the study concluded that all cancer patients who received ginger instead of the placebo experienced “significantly reduced nausea” in the first two days after chemotherapy. The most effective doses were the 0.5g and 1.0g dose of ginger, which was more helpful in reducing nausea than the 1.5g dose.