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Ginger Capsules Ease Chemotherapy Nausea

    May-22-2009

Preliminary findings of a recent research financed federally have discovered that ginger, which has been traditionally used by different communities as medication to alleviate stomach aches, is useful in suppressing a frightening aftereffect of cancer therapy. The study has found the herb to be effective in easing nausea or queasiness among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

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According to scientists who undertook the study, cancer patients who have been taking ginger capsules for days before undergoing chemotherapy suffered infrequent and less harsh spells of revulsion or nausea after the cancer treatment compared to other patients who were given dummy capsules during the research. Commenting on the research, the study leader Julie Ryan of the University of Rochester in New York said that they were somewhat beside themselves to find the extent of consequences of ginger on patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Julie Ryan, however, warns people not to take ginger ale thinking it to be an effective product to ease chemotherapy after effects. Substantiating her view, Ryan says that the sodas and cookies only have the flavoring of ginger and not the real herb. During her research, Ryan examined an extract derived from the ginger roots, and it is yet to be ascertained if using teas prepared from the herb or grinded ginger, that is available in the market as spice, will have the same effect on the cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

According to many physicians, even then the ginger capsules may perhaps present an economical and easy method to combat nausea after a chemo treatment, which is much more than merely an issue relating to a superior lifestyle. This is all the more important because a number of cancer patients terminate their cancer treatment early or say no to chemotherapy in general simply owing to the pangs of the nausea. And this, in turn, effects the treatment as well as chances of overcoming the deadly ailment. However, with ginger capsules helping to ease the nausea effect in the aftermath of the chemotherapy, cancer patients will now be more willing to undergo the treatment to beat the disease.

Julie Ryan says that various drugs available in the market are quite effectual in controlling the vomiting tendency among cancer patients after chemotherapy; nevertheless, almost 75 per cent of the patients undergoing chemotherapy endure nausea. And the situation can be worse at times. In such cases, patients continually want to know from their physicians what else they can do to ease the nausea after a chemotherapy treatment.

Since ages, physicians as well elders have recommended the use of ginger to cure stomach aches and tummy disorders, including motion illness to morning sickness among pregnant women. The new research undertaken by the team led by Julie Ryan used a particularly devised gel capsule that enclosed a strong and sanitized extract from ginger roots prepared by Aphios Corp. of Woburn in Massachusetts.

The research covered as many as 644 patients suffering from cancer from different parts of the United States. Apart from being cancer patients, another aspect was common among them - they all had endured nausea after their earlier round of chemotherapy treatment. Among these 644 patients, around 66 per cent were women suffering from breast cancer, while the remaining subjects endured other forms of the deadly disorder. These subjects were divided into four groups and administered different doses of ginger medication or dummy capsules along with the regular anti-sickness drugs. The ginger dosages administered to the four groups were equal to 1/2, 1 and 1 1/2 grams of the herb daily.

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The patients, who were given ginger doses, took them for six days starting from three days prior to the chemotherapy treatment and their queasiness or nausea indications were measured on a seven-point scale on the first day of every three therapies. According to Julie Ryan, patients who were given ginger dosages before the chemo treatment on an average recorded their nausea symptom two or three points lower on the seven-point nausea scale. While this demonstrated a 40 per cent development over their earlier chemotherapy sessions when they did not take any ginger medication, subjects who were provided with dummy pills did not show any improvement whatsoever in their condition.

Many experts are of the view that the timing of administering the ginger dosages to the cancer patients undergoing chemo treatment may perhaps be crucial in the success of the research conducted by Julie Ryan and her team. The views of these experts holds good because a similar research conducted previously on cancer patients undergoing chemo treatment found that taking ginger medications did not help to improve their conditions. This is attributed to the fact that during the earlier study the patients were given ginger doses just on the day of their chemo treatment and not prior to it.

Hence, the new study headed by Julie Ryan was undertaken to find out if taking ginger doses before the chemotherapy had any positive impact on the patients. In other words, the researchers wanted to see if having ginger in the system helped to reduce the nausea symptoms among the cancer patients after their chemo treatment. Julie Ryan describes the new study undertaken by them as a special means to cure nausea symptoms in cancer patients after chemo treatment and to make an effort to prevent condition.

Although the use of ginger capsules did not result to any aftereffects during the course of the new study, physicians are still skeptical and have advised people to consult their doctors before taking the ginger dosages for it may possibly inhibit clotting of blood particularly during the course of cancer therapy and also when the herb is administered with a blood thinner like Coumadin or any other frequently used drugs. Even the American Cancer Society has cautioned that using ginger capsules may also prove to be a health hazard for people undergoing any surgical procedure.

It may be mentioned here that the study undertaken by Julie Ryan and her team was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the scientists had no relation whatsoever with Aphios, the firm that manufactured the capsules. Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of Aphios, Trevor Castor said that the company has already been marketing several varieties of ginger capsules that are used as dietary enhancements and now they have made an application seeking the approval of the national Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for marketing their new ginger product to cure nausea. Commenting on this aspect of the medication, Julie Ryan said that she was uncertain if any other formulation of ginger other than what was used in their research would be as effective in preventing nausea among cancer patients undergoing chemo treatment.

Describing the findings of the new study as a 'relief' for the cancer patients taking chemotherapy as well as their family members, Dr. Durado Brooks of the Cancer Society said that it is inspiring to know that ginger may possibly usher in a new hope as an inexpensive and easy means to help cancer patients overcome the symptoms of severe nausea following chemotherapy. According to Dr. Brooks, it is really agonizing to watch someone suffering or be in a wretched condition. Hence, anything that can be done to help assuage the nausea symptoms following chemotherapy are always appreciated, he added.

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