Though there are many types and cases of cancer that are able to be treated without the use of chemotherapy, for the majority of patients who get a cancer diagnosis there is a good chance that the protocol will be in their future. Chemotherapy is highly effective at killing cancer cells, but it has some unfortunate side effects, with nausea and vomiting being two of the most common.
Not every chemotherapy drug causes nausea — in fact, today’s treatments are broken down into categories based upon the likelihood that they will cause nausea and vomiting, and the chances of your having these side effects not only depend upon the drug you take, but also the dosage that you have been prescribed and a number of personal factors.
Nausea from Chemotherapy & Cancer Treatments
The people who are most likely to experience nausea and vomiting are those who are:
- Younger than 50
- Have a history of motion sickness
- Have a high level of anxiety
- Have very little previous exposure to alcohol
- Are prone to vomiting when sick
- Have a high expectation of vomiting
How to Minimize Nausea from Chemotherapy and Cancer Treatments
Though your physician will probably give you anti-emetic medications to help prevent vomiting and nausea, there are other steps that you can take on your own to minimize the chances of getting sick. These include:
- Eating smaller meals throughout the day rather than a few large meals
- Don’t skip meals before treatment – having a light meal a few hours before can be a big help
- Avoid foods that are fried or fatty or have strong smells
- Stay hydrated with water, unsweetened fruit juices, flat ginger ale or herbal teas
How Teas for Nausea Can Help Cancer Patients
Drinking tea has been found to provide tremendous relief to many patients who are undergoing chemotherapy relief. Herbal teas can be enjoyed either hot or over ice, and not only keep patients well hydrated but also can provide added benefits depending upon which you choose. It is strongly suggested that cancer patients avoid teas that are caffeinated, as they can add to anxiety and keep them from getting a good night’s sleep if they are consumed too late in the day.
Experts also warn that you should specifically ask your physician about drinking green tea during active chemotherapy and radiation, as there have been some studies that have indicated that it may make certain cancer cells less sensitive to chemotherapy.
Best Teas for Cancer Patients Going Through Chemotherapy
There are certain types of teas that patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments have found to be particularly helpful in countering the effects on their stomachs. Top suggestions include:
- Ginger Root Tea
You can make your own ginger tea easily enough by adding boiling water to slices of ginger root and allowing it to steep. Not only has ginger been shown to help fend off nausea and vomiting, it can also help to stimulate appetite, which is important for cancer patients. Some studies have shown that it helps to treat certain kinds of cancer, including ovarian cancer. If you prefer to purchase prepared tea bags, this is a good one, as it is made up entirely of chunks of dried ginger root. Be cautious when selecting a ginger tea, as many brands combine ginger with black or green tea leaves, which are not recommended for those undergoing certain chemotherapy treatments.
- Peppermint Tea
Mint is a well-known remedy for nausea. People who are suffering stomach discomfort can get benefit both from drinking it and from inhaling its soothing aroma. In addition to providing relief from stomach issues, mint is also an immune system booster and is known to help patients suffering from memory and focus problems, which are also common among chemotherapy patients.
- Milk Thistle Tea
Milk thistle’s strengths do not lie in its ability to combat nausea – rather it is known to be a powerful stimulant for the liver, which is the organ responsible for cleaning out toxins and waste from our blood, which means that it will help clear chemotherapy drugs out of our systems once they are no longer needed. It is also an effective anti-inflammatory. One note of warning – there are certain cancers for which milk thistle tea is specifically prohibited, so check with your physician before adding this tea to your pantry.
- Valerian Root Tea
Valerian counters another one of chemotherapy’s more challenging side effects: the inability to sleep. Valerian is a known stress reliever that has long been recommended as a potent treatment for insomnia.
- Licorice Root Tea
Licorice root is a familiar taste that will take you back to your childhood while providing you with health benefits at the same time. It has a reputation for boosting the immune system, and many people believe that it actually helps to shrink cancer tumors, but it is important to discuss this tea with your physician before you begin drinking it, as there are some studies that show that it can cause muscle weakness and suppress the production of anti-stress hormones. If you get the okay from your doctor, you can drink it with the knowledge that it is an effective liver stimulant that will help flush chemotherapeutic drugs out of your system once they are no longer needed.
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