One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy, nausea,
may be most effectively treated by traditional Chinese herbs, according to a
Researchers from Hong Kong, China, and England's University
of Birmingham evaluated the effects of Chinese herbal medicine prescribed by a
trained herbalist on 120 patients with early-stage breast or colon cancer. Each
patient was assigned to one of three Chinese herbalists to have their needs
assessed. One group received a Chinese herbal treatment based on their
individual needs, while the other group received an inactive placebo.
The researchers found that mild to medium levels of nausea
were found in 14.6 percent of patients treated with Chinese herbs, as opposed
to 35.7 percent of the control group. Neither group experienced a significant
difference in side effects.
The study's authors recommended further study to determine
an effective dosing regimen for Chinese herbs, but noted that the use of
Chinese herbal medicine may "have a significant impact on control of nausea."
Source: Annals of Oncology, March 2007