Can Ginger Provide Relief from Nausea?

Zingiber Officinale. Unless you are an herbalist or botanist, you probably are not familiar with this plant by its official name. However, the plant's humble stem is a key ingredient in many ethnic dishes and you would quickly recognize its distinctive taste and smell. Ginger has a long tradition as an herbal treatment for nausea from morning sickness and other conditions. The Chinese have used this herb medicinally for more than 2,000 years.

Therefore, it's no surprise that ginger is used as a natural remedy for chemo-induced nausea. More than 70 percent of cancer patients report experiencing nausea, making chemotherapy treatments difficult to tolerate for many. Furthermore, nausea and vomiting can lead to nutritional deficiencies and further compromise a cancer patient's fragile immune system.

Physicians prescribe medications called antiemetics to suppress nausea and vomiting as part of chemotherapy treatment. However, when patients also consume ginger, they report a 40 percent decrease in nausea. Researchers are not yet sure why ginger provides relief but suspect it works as an anti-inflammatory in the stomach. Some patients begin using ginger in preparation for cancer treatment.

Ginger has many active compounds, including volatile oils, which contain the chemical properties in ginger that provide its broad healing and disease prevention power. This herb may be one of Mother Nature's super foods because it is effective for treating so many health problems. In addition to relieving nausea and vomiting, herbalists and other natural practitioners recommend ginger to support digestion, reduce joint pain and swelling from arthritis, ease migraine headache pain, and prevent stomach ulcers. It's also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Fortunately, doctors are recognizing ginger's place in modern medicine.

If you struggle with nausea from chemo treatments, ginger is readily available and easy to take. You can purchase fresh ginger from the supermarket and boil it to make tea. It also comes in a tincture, capsule, extract or as an essential oil.

Ginger is generally harmless; however, it can trigger some side effects and may interact with your other medicines or herbs. It's best to check with a qualified herbalist and your physician before taking ginger.