Ginger Relieves Nausea Due to Chemotherapy

Ginger Half a teaspoon of ground ginger a day can significantly reduce the nausea associated with chemotherapy, according to researchers from the University of Michigan Integrative Medicine.   In a recent randomized controlled trial, researchers found that ginger reduced nausea by 40%, when taken along with standard antinausea medications, in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

In the study the participants took the spice in capsules, but it should “theoretically” also work in cookies or soft drinks — as long as the ginger flavor isn’t artificial. The optimal dose of ginger was 1.0 gram per day in this trial, which is equivalent to about half a teaspoon of ground ginger, dried or fresh. 

The rhizomes and stems of ginger have had significant roles in Chinese, Japanese, and Indian medicine since the 1500s.  In the U.S., ginger tea and ginger ale, has long been used as a folk remedy for upset stomach and diarrhea.  It is also frequently found in over-the-counter digestive products, as well as antitussive, antiflatulent, laxative, and antacid products.   

The herb is believed to affect receptors in the digestive tract for the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is the action similar to conventional antinausea drugs, according to the leading researcher Dr.  Suzanna Zick. “Ginger has been shown to be effective in a number of clinical trials against nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness, pregnancy, and postoperative recovery,? said Dr. Zick in an article on the website of the National Cancer Institute. Some researchers discourage large doses of ginger during pregnancy, however, due to concerns about mutations or abortions.

Caution: Ginger can be a problem for those on the anticoagulant warfarin (Coumadin). The herb increases the anticoagulation of Coumadin which could increase the bleeding risk.

Source: “ASCO: Ginger Eases Chemo-Related Nausea”, MedPage Today, May 14, 2009
Source: “ACP: Garlic, Ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba, and Ginger All Bad Actors with Coumadin”, MedPage Today, April 9, 2006


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