Ginger Appears to Relieve Chemotherapy-Related Nausea

Posted by Admin on February 16, 2011

Simple ginger root seems to dramatically ease the nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy, a recent study demonstrated. The research, which was revealed at a news conference sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), validates what has been standard practice in homes around the world, namely, that taking ginger ale or ginger tea relieves an upset stomach. The study - the largest to date showed that taking a quarter - to a half-teaspoon of ginger a day reduced nausea symptoms by at least 40 percent.

To overcome chemotherapy-caused nausea, doctors use a number of anti-nausea drugs. But some 70 percent of patients still experience nausea and vomiting, according to researcher Julie Ryan, assistant professor of dermatology and radiation oncology at the University of Rochester, who spoke at the briefing. She said previous studies were smaller, had contradictory results, and didn’t examine whether ginger taken before the start of chemotherapy (allowing the herb to fully penetrate the system) would affect nausea.   

Douglas Blayney, a University of Michigan professor and incoming president of ASCO, said, “Patients undergoing chemotherapy often ask if there is anything more they can do. Here’s a simple intervention that can be used along with standard [nausea drugs].”

In the study, the researchers chose 644 mostly women patients, two-thirds of whom had breast cancer and all of whom had nausea after one cycle of chemotherapy. Each also had at least three more upcoming cycles. The subjects were randomly divided into four groups, one receiving a placebo, and the others getting capsules containing 0.5 grams (a quarter-teaspoon of fresh or dry ginger), 1.0 gram (a half-teaspoon) or 1.5 grams (three-quarters of a teaspoon) of ginger once a day for six days. The patients, all of whom also took regular doses of traditional anti-nausea drugs Zofran or Kytril, started their capsules three days before undergoing chemotherapy.

The subjects rated their nausea from 1 (no nausea) to 7 (terrible nausea), four times daily for the first four days of the chemotherapy treatments. As the first day ended, the participants who received the two lower amounts of ginger rated their nausea to be 1 or 2 – no nausea to just a little. But those on the placebo had a 4 or 5 nausea level – fairly intense. The highest ginger dose was also effective, but not as much.
Similar results were obtained on the second through fourth days


Subscribe to our newsletter

Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new stories on

Featured Specialities:

Featured Doctors:

Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma

 Cancer Hospital in OK
Tulsa, Oklahoma Cancer Treatment Center

10109 E. 79th Street (81st Street & Highway 169)
Tulsa, OK 74133

Call: 800-655-1253

Eastchester Center for Cancer Care

Dr. Fabio Volterra
Medical Oncologist Bronx

2330 Eastchester Road
Bronx, NY 10469

Call: (888) 860-7136

The Farber Center

Skin Cancer Treatment NY

21 West Broadway
New York, NY 10007

Call: 888-460-0581