Ginger Curbs Sickness of Chemotherapy: Study

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2009 7:00 PM CDT
William Darker of Imperial Beach, Calif., prepares to undergo chemotherapy at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., Tuesday, March 24, 2009.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – A dose of ginger or a new anti-nausea drug can make chemotherapy less debilitating, the Los Angeles Times reports. One study showed that capsules of ginger on days before and after treatment reduced nausea in cancer patients by 40%. Normally about 70% of chemotherapy patients endure sickness during treatment. "Chemotherapy has come to be the thing cancer patients fear the most," said Dr. Steven Grunberg, who led one study.

Patients in a second study received the usual anti-nausea drugs, ondansetron and dexamethasone, and a new drug, casopitant mesylate. The added drug controlled nausea after the first day of chemo in 86% of patients by blocking what's called the NK1 path in the brain. Patients only had to take the drug on the day of therapy. "That is a huge convenience for the patient," Grunberg said.