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Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a systematic literature review

Authors

  • Wolfgang M Marx,

    Corresponding author
    • Centre for Dietetic Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • Laisa Teleni,

    1. Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • Alexandra L McCarthy,

    1. School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology and Cancer Services Southern Clinical Network, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • Luis Vitetta,

    1. School of Medicine, Centre for Integrative Clinical and Molecular Medicine, University of Queensland, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • Dan McKavanagh,

    1. Division of Cancer Services, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • Damien Thomson,

    1. The Cancer Collaborative Group, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • Elisabeth Isenring

    1. Centre for Dietetic Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    2. Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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Correspondence: WM Marx, Center for Dietetic Research, School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia. E-mail: wolf.marx@uqconnect.edu.au.

Abstract

Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is a common side-effect of cytotoxic treatment. It continues to affect a significant proportion of patients despite the widespread use of antiemetic medication. In traditional medicine, ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used to prevent and treat nausea in many cultures for thousands of years. However, its use has not been confirmed in the chemotherapy context. To determine the potential use of ginger as a prophylactic or treatment for CINV, a systematic literature review was conducted. Reviewed studies comprised randomized controlled trials or crossover trials that investigated the anti-CINV effect of ginger as the sole independent variable in chemotherapy patients. Seven studies met the inclusion criteria. All studies were assessed on methodological quality and their limitations were identified. Studies were mixed in their support of ginger as an anti-CINV treatment in patients receiving chemotherapy, with three demonstrating a positive effect, two in favor but with caveats, and two showing no effect on measures of CINV. Future studies are required to address the limitations identified before clinical use can be recommended.

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