Does ginger help with nausea caused by chemotherapy?

Yes. Ginger can help relieve the feeling of nausea but has no effect on vomiting. Ginger cannot prevent or make nausea go away and is therefore not a substitute for anti-nausea medications.

What is nausea?

Nausea is an uncomfortable sick feeling in the stomach that often comes before you vomit.

What is ginger?

Ginger is the root of the tropical plant Zingiber officinale, it’s a spice used all over the world. Ginger is mainly used in spicy dishes, sweet dishes and in drinks. Various cultures say that ginger has a medicinal effect.

Nausea from chemotherapy

Three scientific review studies have shown that ginger slightly reduced the level of nausea caused by chemotherapy. These studies looked at dried ginger or ginger extract in capsule form. Ginger tea, fresh ginger or other forms of ginger were not looked at by these studies (these types of ginger are more typical in a diet).

Another study which involved 744 patients who received chemotherapy for different types of cancer found that patients who took ginger supplements had fewer symptoms of nausea than the group of people who received a placebo (fake ginger-free supplement).

The ginger and placebo supplements were taken 3 days before chemotherapy and up to 3 days after the course of treatment finished. The placebo group used slightly more nausea medications than the ginger supplement groups. Ginger supplements had no effect on vomiting.

Ginger tea

There are no studies that have looked at the effect of ginger tea on nausea. Drinking enough is important as not consuming enough fluids can make nausea worse. However, this can also be other types of tea or water, milk products, fruit juice, soft drinks, broth etc.

Get more tips and advice for dealing with nausea

In association with

NIHR cancer and nutrition collaboration logo


British Dietetic Association logo