Can Herb Help Chemotherapy Nausea? Study to put ginger to the test

Ginger has been used for thousands of years to prevent or treat nausea. Now researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center are leading a national trial to determine if this plant can help people with cancer avoid nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy.

Typically, chemotherapy patients take a regimen of anti-nausea drugs that effectively help most people avoid this unpleasant side effect. But for some people, two to five days after receiving chemotherapy, a second wave of nausea may hit. Researchers are studying whether capsules of a standardized form of ginger can help relieve this delayed nausea.

The trial plans to enroll 180 adults with cancer at 10 sites throughout the US. Participants are randomly assigned to one of three groups: low-dose ginger, high-dose ginger or placebo. The study participants will not know what dose they are getting.

Recent research has found ginger to be effective at relieving nausea related to motion sickness, post-operative recovery and pregnancy.

“In most studies with ginger, it’s been shown to be safe and efficacious, so we felt it might be beneficial for cancer patients as well. It appears from previous studies to be very safe with very few side effects, and it tends to be inexpensive, whereas current anti-nausea drugs can be expensive,” says lead investigator Suzanna Zick, ND, MPH.

University of Michigan Health System, Jun 28, 2005