Well Worth It: Ginger with Chemo

Excellent news on the Well Worth It front – a superbly-designed study shows that even small amounts of ginger, taken three days before the start of chemotherapy, can significantly reduce nausea. For many patients, nausea is a profound form of suffering associated with chemotherapy – anything that can help is a Halleluyah moment.

The study showed that 0.5 mg to 1.0 mg of ginger were most effective, and reduced nausea (especially the worst – first day nausea) as much as 40%, with rapid decreases in nausea after the first day. There were no documented drug interactions or side-effects, making ginger a Three-Stethoscopes-Up winner in the Doc Gurley rating scale of Well Worth It interventions. No one knows exactly how ginger works its magic, but the belief is that ginger reduces inflammation, making it an excellent chemo-accompaniment. What may be harder to prove is ginger’s effectiveness in other forms of nausea, where you don’t get three-day’s warning that its going to hit. Ginger has long been suggested as an anti-nausea approach to the nausea of pregnancy. However, as with any substance, ginger too is a drug, so don’t

Ginger cross-section
Image via Wikipedia

mega-dose or take concentrated amounts in early pregnancy (when a developing fetus is most vulnerable). But it’s probably (based on cultural cuisines) safe to use ginger in normal food amounts.  If you’re storing ginger root at home, here are two kitchen tips – one, keep your ginger buried in sandy-dirt (but wash carefully before using!). Ginger root will keep growing and stay fresher that way. Second, store some ginger root in the freezer. It’s much easier to grate when frozen.

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