Expert Commentator: Dr. Andrew Albert - 11/17/2009

Oncologists typically use prescription medicines like Zofran and Compazine to combat the nausea usually associated with chemotherapy. The research reported in the American Society of Clinical Oncology confirms the folk wisdom of generations past. The ginger found in ginger ale and ginger tea is a natural anti-nausea medicine.


As a gastroenterologist, we deal with a number of medical issues, besides the effects of chemotherapy, which may trigger nausea. For example, pancreatitis, peptic ulcers, gastroenteritis, or colitis can cause sensitive stomachs and subsequent nausea. Our goal is to quell the nausea using the simplest of remedies, often natural foods, and thus avoid pharmaceutical drugs. The pharmaceuticals, while effective, often come with unwanted side effects – most often severe drowsiness and lethargy.

The good news is that the natural anti-nausea remedies, when effective, are also good tasting and even nutritious. First of all, as mentioned in the article there is ginger ale and ginger tea. Both remedies should be sipped at room temperature. I suggest other simple remedies – all tried and true - such as mashed apples,  apple sauce, rice, bananas, and toast. Another natural remedy is simply chewing mint leaves or drinking mint tea.

During bouts of nausea and vomiting it is very important to remain hydrated. So other juices, such a cranberry juice, warm water, or even sports drinks, to replenish electrolytes, are essential. And if one is sick for a longer time, it is important also to find ways to continue to eat protein. One way to do that is to try low-fat nuts. Dry roasted almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans and pistachios are low in "Saturated Fat".
Most importantly, if you do feel nauseous for more than a day or two, contact your doctor, as it may be a sign of more serious medical issues.


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