Ginger as a miracle against chemotherapy-induced vomiting

Zohreh Parsa Yekta, Seyyed Meisam Ebrahimi, Mostafa Hosseini, Alireza Nikbakht Nasrabadi, Sanambar Sedighi, Mohammad-Hosein Salehi Surmaghi, Hossein Madani


  • Context: Vomiting is one of the most prevalent side effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients.
  • Aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of ginger plant on chemotherapy-induced vomiting, since the previous studies were somehow imperfect and have provided controversial results.
  • Materials and Methods: This randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted on 80 women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy and suffering from vomiting in Imam Khomeini Hospital, Tehran, Iran, between July and December 2009. During a convenience sampling the participants were randomly allocated into treatment and placebo groups after taking a written informed consent. Two groups were matched based on the age and emetic risk of chemotherapy drugs. The treatment group received 250 mg ginger powder capsules (Zintoma) and placebo group 250 mg starch capsules 4 times a day (1 g/day) for 6 days since 3 days before chemotherapy session. A two-part self-made questionnaire was used to assess the effect of ginger. Patients completed the instrument every day.
  • Statistical analysis used: Then by STATA software version 8, the gathered data were analyzed using Fisher’s exact, Kruskal– Wallis, and Chi-square tests.
  • Results: The 2 groups had no significant age differences and were matched (ginger: 41.8±8.4 vs placebo: 45.1±10, P = 0.1). Vomiting cases were significantly lower in ginger group at anticipatory (P = 0.04), acute (P = 0.04), and delayed (P = 0.003) phases. Also, heartburn was the only and venial reported side effect (P > 0.05).
  • Conclusions: Taking ginger capsules (for 6 days since 3 days before chemotherapy) accompanied by the routine antiemetic treatment could relieve chemotherapy-induced vomiting in all phases.
  • Key words: Cancer, chemotherapy, complementary and alternative therapy, ginger, vomiting

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