Are Ginger Effective in Treating Nausea?

Ginger (Zingiber officinale), has a long history of medicinal use in Asia. Several studies showed that ginger effectively reduces nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness, surgery, and morning sickness during pregnancy.  The antiemetic action of ginger root is attributed to its constituents, gingerol and and shogaol their interactions with 5HT-3 receptors.  Ginger has been approved by German Commission E for indigestion and to help prevent motion sickness.

Nausea and Vomiting Treatment

A double-blind placebo-controlled study of 79 Swedish naval cadets demonstrated that 1 grams of ginger root could reduce nausea and vertigo at sea.  A double blind study aboard a ship demonstrated ginger was equally as efficacious as various drugs in controlling seasickness, in a large study of 1489 individuals. In a 2006 report from the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers sized up 5 studies and concluded that taking ginger root is more powerful than placebo for post surgery nausea and vomiting. The effectiveness of  ginger root as an antiemetic agent was compared with placebo and metoclopramide in 60 women who had major gynaecological surgery in a study. There were statistically significantly fewer recorded incidences of nausea in the group that received ginger compared with placebo. The number of incidences of nausea in the groups that received either metoclopramide or ginger were similar.

Ginger for Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

NauseaClinical trials show that 1g daily of ginger root may reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnant women when used for short periods.  A 2004 study performed at Australia’s University of Adelaide found ginger root reduced nausea related to pregnancy. In a study of 30 pregnant women with severe vomiting, those who took 1 g of ginger root every day for four days provided more relaxation from vomiting than those who took placebo.  A review of 6 study with a total of 675 women, reported in the April 2005 edition of the journal, “Obstetrics and Gynecology”, has showed that ginger root is efficacious in relieving the  severity of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Ginger for Chemotherapy-related Nausea in Cancer Patients

Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting is a common adverse effect of cytotoxic therapy. Early research findings that ginger root may reduce the severity and length of time that cancer patients feel nauseous after chemotherapy. In a study, of over 600 cancer patients found that a ginger root extract lessen chemotherapy-induced nausea by 40%. The Phase II/III placebo-controlled, double-blind study included 644 cancer patients who would receive at least 3 chemotherapy. Patients were divided into four arms that received placebos, 0.5 g of ginger, 1 g of ginger, or 1.5 g of ginger along with antiemetics. They took the ginger supplements 3 days prior to chemotherapy and 3 days following therapy. Patients reported nausea levels at different times of day during following their chemotherapy and those who took the lower doses had a 40% decrease.

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