Purpose/objectives: To evaluate the effect of ginger as an antiemetic modality for the control of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV).
Data sources: Databases searched included MEDLINE® (PubMed), Embase, CINAHL®, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Korean Studies Information Service System, Research Information Sharing Service by the Korean Education and Research Information Service, and Dissertation Central.
Data synthesis: A systematic review was conducted of five randomized, controlled trials involving 872 patients with cancer. Ginger was compared with placebo or metoclopramide. The participant characteristics, chemotherapy regimen and antiemetic control, ginger preparation and protocol, measurements, results of the studies, adherence to the treatment protocol, and side effects were reviewed systematically. The incidence and severity of acute and delayed CINV were subject to meta-analysis. The incidence of acute nausea (p = 0.67), incidence of acute vomiting (p = 0.37), and severity of acute nausea (p = 0.12) did not differ significantly between the ginger and control groups.
Conclusions: Current evidence does not support the use of ginger for the control of CINV. Ginger did not contribute to control of the incidence of acute nausea and vomiting or of the severity of acute nausea.
Implications for nursing: Ginger has long been regarded as a traditional antiemetic modality, but its effectiveness remains to be established. The findings of this study could be incorporated into clinical guidelines, such as the Oncology Nursing Society's Putting Evidence Into Practice resources. Current evidence supports the need for more methodologically rigorous studies in this area.
Knowledge translation: Although ginger is known as a traditional antiemetic, current evidence does not support the effect of ginger in CINV control. The findings of this study inform healthcare providers that its effectiveness remains to be established from methodologically rigorous future trials.