May 15, 2009

Study: Ginger reduces chemo side effects

Household ginger and a new drug called casopitant mesylate can reduce the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, U.S. researchers said.

Adding about a half-teaspoon of ground ginger to food in the days before and after chemotherapy reduced grueling side effects for many of the 644 patients in a large, random, clinical study, said Julie L. Ryan, lead author of the study at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Ginger has a potent anti-inflammatory effect in the gut, Ryan told the Los Angeles Times in a story published Friday.

In a separate study of 810 patients, casopitant mesylate proved effective alone and in combination with standard anti-nausea drugs dexamethasone and ondansetron, said Dr. Steven Grunberg, a researcher at the University of Vermont.

Chemotherapy has come to be the thing cancer patients fear the most, Grunberg said. We've made a huge amount of progress, but we haven't completely solved the problem.