Natural Remedies for Nausea and Vomiting during Cancer TreatmentMar 01, 2023
Nausea and vomiting are one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. While chemotherapeutic drugs such as cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and dacarbazine are particularly notorious for inducing nausea and vomiting, tumours themselves can also be a cause of these symptoms.
Although there are several anti-nausea drugs that your doctor can prescribe for you, there are also complementary, natural remedies that can combat nausea. Below is a list of the remedies I recommend for my clients to help relieve nausea and vomiting during treatment:
1. Consume ginger: Studies have shown ginger to be as effective as the anti-nausea drug metoclopramide but not as effective as ondansetron. You can use ginger as a tea, eat it raw (grated), or supplement with it (500 mg every four hours). Caution: Ginger should not be consumed if your platelet count is low due to chemotherapy, since it may have anticoagulant (blood thinning) effects.
2. Other herbal teas that are helpful for combatting nausea: Chamomile, alfalfa, slippery elm, peppermint, fennel.
4. Aromatherapy with peppermint essential oil: Carry a small bottle of peppermint oil with you and sniff it occasionally.
5. Gentle exercise: Walking or using an exercise bike for 10-30 minutes can be helpful.
6. Acupuncture, acupressure, and acupuncture point electrical stimulation: Has been shown to relieve nausea. Stimulating the P6 acupressure point yourself can also be helpful. This YouTube video demonstrates how to do this: (94) How to perform acupressure to relieve nausea - YouTube
7. Sea Band anti-nausea wrist band: Commonly used for car sickness, you can purchase these wrist bands online or at most pharmacies.
These remedies should also control vomiting, however it is critical to address dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that can result from vomiting. To stay hydrated and keep your electrolytes balanced, suck on ice chips that are sprinkled with a little fruit juice and sea salt, drink 8 cups of water per day (juices and herbal teas count), or try electrolyte drinks that are formulated using natural products, such as those at www.knudsenjuices.com or www.ceralyte.com.
To further help combat nausea and vomiting, try these tips:
- Avoid eating and drinking at the same time.
- Eat small meals often throughout the day. Not eating will make nausea worse. Eat slowly and try to relax.
- Choose foods that are served cold or at room temperature.
- Avoid foods with strong odours, spicy foods, fatty foods, fried foods, and overly sweet foods.
- Sit upright for an hour after eating. Lying down can make nausea worse.
- Timing is everything. Make the most of the times when you are feeling well by choosing nutritious foods to eat during that time.
- Choose bland, starchy foods that are easy on the stomach, such as dry toast, bagels, crackers, pretzels, plain rice, pasta salad, potatoes, apple sauce, yogurt, hot cereal, tofu, or digestive cookies.
- If you can keep the bland foods down, gradually add protein to these foods, such as adding nut or seed butters to toast, hemp or flax seeds to hot cereal or apple sauce, hummus to rice or pasta, or chia seeds to soy milk to make a 'pudding'.
- When you cannot eat solid foods, try having a smoothie made with protein powder, coconut or soy milk, banana or berries, peanut butter or almond butter, and organic powdered greens for added nutrition.
- Eat oranges, tangerines, grated ginger, and gomasio (a condiment made from roasted sesame seeds and sea salt);eat on its own or sprinkle it over plain rice.
I hope these tips are helpful!
If you're undergoing cancer treatment or recovering from cancer and are curious about finding out how you can further support your healing with nutrition and other complementary therapies, I'd love to chat with you! Book a free phone consultation with me here to discover which therapies may be beneficial for you during and after treatment: https://calendly.com/backtobalancenutrition/15min
Your cheerleader in health,