Ginger: Can it reduce nausea caused by chemotherapy? in 2022

Ginger: Can it reduce nausea caused by chemotherapy?
Ginger: Can it reduce nausea caused by chemotherapy?

Ginger may help reduce nausea caused by chemotherapy. This is a common saying in our current society; But is it real information or just a rumor?! Let's find out.

One of the most annoying side effects of cancer treatment is the nausea and vomiting associated with receiving chemotherapy. Not only does it make a person feel bad, but it can also lead to dehydration, which leads to hospitalization.

Although there are very useful medical drugs in reducing these symptoms. However, in some cases, alternative therapies have been shown to be helpful in reducing or preventing many of the symptoms associated with cancer treatment. But does ginger help reduce nausea caused by chemotherapy?

If so, what is your favorite type of ginger? And should ginger be used alone or in combination with traditional remedies used to reduce nausea?

*** Benefits of ginger for health

Ginger has had many health benefits for thousands of years. It has long been used in China as a medical practice to reduce feelings of nausea. Ginger was also used by the ancient Greeks to prevent nausea after eating a feast or fatty foods. Indeed, recent studies suggest that it may positively help people with chemotherapy-induced nausea.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is an ingredient derived from the root of the ginger plant. It can be eaten or used as a food or beverage or as a seasoning to add to your favorite foods.

***Ginger and chemotherapy that cause nausea

Nausea causes an upset stomach that may or may not cause vomiting. It is a common side effect of chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy works by attacking any abnormal, fast-growing cells in the body. Cancer cells divide rapidly, so do cancer cells in the hair follicles that cause hair loss, and in the bone marrow that cause anemia and low white blood cell count, in addition to cancer cells in the digestive system that cause nausea.

Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely to cause nausea than others, however all experts differ when it comes to how much nausea this type of treatment causes. Although the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea has been very successful in the past decades, it is estimated that at least 70 percent of patients still experience some degree of nausea during and after chemotherapy.

***Ginger and nausea

It is not known exactly how ginger works in the body to relieve nausea. Knowing that ginger contains oleoresin, which are substances that have an effect on the muscles of the digestive system. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory effects.

A 2009 study of more than 600 cancer patients found that a supplement rich in ginger actually reduced patients' feelings of nausea caused by chemotherapy by 40 percent.

A 2012 study evaluating the best dose to take to get the benefits of ginger, such as reducing nausea, was also found. In this study, ginger was given as a dietary supplement at a dose of 0.5 g, 1 g, and 1.5 g divided twice daily for 6 days, and the subjects were given these doses 3 days before receiving chemotherapy. The most effective dose here was 0.5 to 1.0 grams.

***Ginger is effective in reducing nausea that occurs after receiving chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can cause nausea immediately, lasting more than several hours and even days after receiving it. Another study conducted in 2012 on breast cancer patients found that ginger was more effective in relieving nausea that occurred between 6 to 24 hours after receiving chemotherapy. Another study in children and young adults with cancer found that ginger helped reduce both acute (within 24 hours) and late (after 24 hours) nausea associated with chemotherapy.

While ginger appears to help treat nausea, another 2015 study found that ginger did help reduce nausea and vomiting, but did not reduce rebound episodes experienced by women with breast cancer.

The results of a 2017 study published in the Annals of Oncology indicate that the effect of ginger on nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy may differ between men and women, depending on the type of cancer and drugs taken.

In this study, ginger did not appear to provide a protective effect for many of the study participants (with lung and head and neck cancers). But it appears to be beneficial, especially for females and those who have had head and neck cancer. Notably, this study specifically looked at the role of ginger in people receiving cisplatin.

Studies that have been conducted to evaluate how ginger can relieve nausea, indicate that ginger roots contain the active ingredients that help in this. Both ginger and shogaol compounds seem to affect gastrointestinal motility and gastric emptying rates, but they also affect neurotransmitters in the brain that may reduce feelings of nausea.

*** Effective doses of ginger

Studies of ginger for chemotherapy-related nausea typically involve using ginger over a period of several days—starting a few days before chemotherapy. The doses of ginger-enriched supplements used in these studies ranged from 0.5 grams to 1.5 grams per day. According to the American Cancer Society, the maximum daily dose of ginger is 5 grams or less.

In the research studies conducted to date, the most effective dose of ginger has appeared to be a 250-mg supplement given two to four times a day. This is equivalent to about 1/4 teaspoon of dried ginger or 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger per day.

Crystallized ginger contains about 500 mg of ginger per square inch. Ginger tea made from one teaspoon of ginger contains about 250 mg. In addition, homemade ginger contains approximately 1 gram of ginger per 8-ounce serving. It is important to note here that fresh ginger is necessary to obtain ginger's anti-nausea effects. Store-bought ginger may contain "ginger flavour" instead of real ginger.

It is also important to speak with your oncologist before using ginger during cancer treatment. As described below, ginger contains properties that may be harmful to some people.

***Warnings about using ginger

It is important that you discuss the idea of ​​taking any nutritional supplement with your oncologist, as these supplements may be harmful for some people.

It is also important to stress that the use of ginger is not a substitute for anti-nausea medications that are given to relieve nausea and vomiting during and after chemotherapy. In the studies we talked about above, ginger has been used in addition to anti-nausea preventives.

One of the disadvantages of ginger is that it can cause blood clots. It is therefore important to avoid using it with medications (or other supplements) that reduce the efficiency of the blood, such as Coumadin (warfarin), heparin, and Ticlid (ticlopidine).

Also, ginger should not be used around the time of a surgical procedure as a way to treat cancer.

Low platelet count due to chemotherapy (thrombocytopenia) may also increase the risk of bleeding, so your oncologist will want to do a CBC before recommending ginger to help relieve nausea.

Ginger should not be used by people with gallstones.

Ginger might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.

It is a good habit to take dietary ginger or supplements rich in it. Although some people may experience heartburn, diarrhea, bruising, redness or a rash when taking it.


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