Easing chemo side effects using ginger

New research has found that ginger has the potential to improve the quality of life of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

La Trobe’s Dr Wolfgang Marx presented the promising results from a ginger trial to this month’s Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting in Queensland.

A La Trobe Research Fellow in Nutrition and Dietetics, Dr Marx conducted the research for his PhD at Bond University.

“Previous studies have shown that ginger is effective in relieving the symptoms of seasickness and morning sickness, but there has been limited research on its effect on chemotherapy symptoms,” Dr Marx said.

“Our research found that taking daily doses of ginger extract can help chemotherapy patients overcome some of the common side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting.”

The double blind placebo controlled study involved 51 cancer patients from Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

“We took note of the severity of their symptoms and the impact they were having on their own lives and those closest to them to determine whether ginger supplements made a difference.

“We found those in the group who were taking four ginger extract tablets a day, alongside their anti-nausea medication, experienced an improvement in quality of life in relation to nausea, vomiting and fatigue.”

Dr Marx said he hoped to undertake further research on the benefits of ginger on cancer patients.

“Chemotherapy is a necessary treatment for millions of cancer patients, but many suffer greatly from nausea and vomiting.

“It would be wonderful if they could find additional relief through a widely available, low-cost intervention.

“Our study results, although preliminary, are promising. Now there is a need for a larger study to further explore the safety of ginger supplementation during chemotherapy and whether we should be recommending ginger supplements as a treatment for chemotherapy-induced symptoms.”

Media contact: Anastasia Salamastrakis 0428 195 464