Study: Ginger reduces nausea associated with chemotherapy


ROCHESTER, N.Y. People with cancer can reduce post-chemotherapy nausea by as much as 40% by using ginger supplements, along with standard antivomiting drugs, before undergoing treatment, according to scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

About 70% of cancer patients who receive chemotherapy complain of nausea and vomiting.

"There are effective drugs to control vomiting, but the nausea is often worse because it lingers," stated lead author Julie Ryan, assistant professor of dermatology and radiation oncology at Rochester's James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. "Nausea is a major problem for people who undergo chemotherapy and it's been a challenge for scientists and doctors to understand how to control it," Ryan said.

The Phase II/III placebo-controlled, double-blind study included 644 cancer patients who would receive at least three chemotherapy treatments. They were divided into four arms that received placebos, 0.5 gram of ginger, 1 gram of ginger or 1.5 grams of ginger along with antiemetics (anti-vomiting drugs such as Zofran, Kytril, Novaban and Anzemet).

Patients took the ginger supplements three days prior to chemotherapy and three days following treatment. Patients reported nausea levels at various times of day during following their chemotherapy and those who took the lower doses had a 40% reduction.

Ginger is readily absorbed in the body and has long been considered a remedy for stomach aches. "By taking the ginger prior to chemotherapy treatment, the National Cancer Institute-funded study suggests its earlier absorption into the body may have anti-inflammatory properties," Ryan said.

The research will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in the Patient and Survivor Care Session on Saturday, May 30, in Orlando, Fla.

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