This site is intended for health professionals only

Chemo nausea ‘cut by use of ginger’


Taking ginger to settle an upset stomach has been found to help when treating nausea caused by chemotherapy, according to a study.

Researchers from University of Rochester, in New York, gave cancer patients ginger capsules several days before a chemo infusion and found fewer and less severe bouts of nausea were recorded, compared with a placebo.

Study leader Julie Ryan, from the university, said: “We were slightly beside ourselves” to see how much it helped.”

But people suffering from nausea have been warned that not all ginger-related products can help. Ms Ryan said many drinks and biscuits contain only flavouring – and not the real thing.

Her study, which was released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and will be presented at the group’s annual meeting later this month, tested a drug-like ginger root extract. She said it is not known if people would get the same benefits from ginger teas or the powdered ginger sold as a spice.

Some cancer patients are known to put their lives at risk by cutting treatment short or refuse chemotherapy altogether because of nausea.

Medicines do a good job of curbing vomiting, but nearly three-fourths of chemo patients still suffer nausea, which can sometimes be worse, Ryan said.

Copyright Press Association 2009

Be in the know
Subscribe to Hospital Pharmacy Europe newsletter and magazine