Home Remedies to Relieve Chemotherapy Side Effects

As a form of cancer treatment, chemotherapy uses chemical substances infused into the patient’s body through intravenous drips. The primary goal of this 4 to 9-session procedure is to destroy the genes within the cancer cell’s nucleus. In these sessions, health centres that offer cancer treatment through chemotherapy in NZ remind patients and family members to be aware of their side effects. 


What are the most common side effects of chemotherapy?

What happens to a cancer patient’s body throughout the multiple chemotherapy sessions? The side effects may vary and depend on the type of drugs used and the severity of the disease.  

In some types of treatment, the most visible is hair loss. Some may also include loss of appetite, fatigue, and nausea. Bowel issues are also common, such as diarrhoea or constipation. Some patients also observed cases of mouth sores and problems in the skin or nails. 


How do you manage the after-effects of this cancer treatment? 

Home remedies can help you manage the side effects of this necessary cancer treatment. 


General Fatigue 

After a chemotherapy session, one might feel a general feeling of fatigue. Short naps, some light exercises, and conserving energy for more important things help give enough boost to get through the day. 


Hair Loss and Dry Scalp

Depending on the treatment, hair loss and dry scalp may be one of the most visible symptoms. Protect your or your loved one’s scalp from harsh sunlight and chemicals, like hair dyes and bleach.   

You can soothe scalp dryness with mild moisturising lotion, shampoo, and conditioners for sensitive skin.  


Nausea and Taste Changes

Cancer therapy, like chemo, may cause nausea followed by vomiting, especially during or after meals. The best way to counter this is to change your eating habits altogether. Rather than three big ones, eat 5-6 small meals scattered throughout the day. 

When it comes to food choices, avoid strong spices. Red meat may taste different, so prepare white meat and fish with mild flavours instead.  

The change in taste that affects cancer patients gives food a metallic taste. It’s a wise idea to use plastic utensils instead of metal ones.  


Mouth Ulcers or Sores 

Substances used in chemo can harm the protective cell lining in the mouth. Harm to this lining causes severe sores on the lips and inside the mouth. One preventative measure is chewing or sucking on ice chips during the treatment. Keep ice in your mouth as long as possible. 

For developing or matured sores, gargle with water-diluted salt or baking soda. Over-the-counter oral ointments and pain relief medications will help manage more severe cases of this painful side effect. 


Mental Fog or “Chemo Brain”

Some chemo treatments may cause a short-term mental fog that can affect memory and focus. Sticky notes, digital reminders, and planners to remember tasks and appointments can help you manage this. Don’t forget to slow down and focus on one task at a time. 

These effects are inevitable but manageable. Before, during, or after chemotherapy sessions, it’s important to prepare medications, home remedies, and other activities that relieve these mental and physical effects.  

Don’t forget to educate your loved ones about the necessary preparations and expectations regarding the treatment.