Nobody likes feeling nauseous. Whether it's caused by a stomach bug, motion sickness, altitude, pregnancy, chemotherapy, or any other reason, nausea is a debilitating sensation that leaves you longing for relief.
Fortunately, there are several natural ways to help alleviate that queasy feeling and get back on your feet (or in a car or boat). In this article, we’ll explore your options to tackle nausea head-on without needing products that may result in unwanted side effects.
What Causes Nausea?
Nausea is not a disease but the result of internal or external conditions.
The most avoidable form of nausea comes from overeating and/or indigestion. We’ve all experienced this at some point in our lives.
Nausea can also be triggered by a viral infection, such as rotavirus or norovirus, or food poisoning caused by food infected by bacteria or parasites. Generally, nausea from stomach viruses and bacterial food poisoning passes in a few days. However, if you have a parasite, you may not get relief until you take medication to kill it.
Motion sickness/sea sickness, commonly experienced during travel, is another common cause of nausea. This occurs when there is a discrepancy between what you see with your eyes and the motion your inner ear senses. The discomfort can linger even after you’ve stopped moving.
Hormone changes or lower blood sugar may cause nausea in the early stages of pregnancy, although the exact cause of morning sickness isn’t known.
Emotional factors like anxiety, stress, fear, or anticipation can release a flood of hormones that affect your digestive system and induce a sense of nausea.
In some cases, medications, such as chemotherapy drugs or painkillers, can induce nausea as a side effect. Additionally, gastrointestinal disorders like gastritis, gastroenteritis, or acid reflux disease may contribute to persistent nausea.
Identifying the root cause of nausea is crucial in determining the best way to relieve it. While natural remedies should help reduce the discomfort, if symptoms persist or worsen, you should seek medical advice for a comprehensive evaluation to ensure you don’t have a more serious condition.
Why You Should Consider Natural Nausea Relief Support
In most cases, nausea is a temporary condition that passes on its own. In the meantime, it can be miserably uncomfortable and exhausting. Using natural strategies to relieve the pain has several benefits:
- Gentler on your body: Natural treatments often involve using herbs, lifestyle changes, and alternative therapies that tend to be gentler on the body compared to strong medications. This approach aims to work with your body's natural healing processes, minimizing the risk of unwanted side effects and promoting overall well-being.
- Holistic care: Instead of merely targeting the symptom of nausea, natural strategies aim to understand and address the root causes, considering various factors such as diet, lifestyle, stress, and emotional well-being. Natural treatments promote balance and harmony within your body when you take a comprehensive approach to your healthcare.
- Empowerment: Exploring natural relief empowers you to take an active role in your health, connect with your body, listen to its needs, and make conscious choices that support your overall health and vitality.
- Sustainable and cost-effective: A natural strategy is often easily accessible, cost-effective, and sustainable in the long run. Many herbal remedies and lifestyle changes can be incorporated into your daily routine without breaking the bank.
- Complementary to medical care: Natural treatments can complement traditional medical care when appropriate. If your nausea stems from a chronic medical condition or from taking toxic medications, collaborating with your healthcare provider may give you a well-rounded and personalized approach to nausea relief support.
By using natural strategies for nausea, you put more value on the power of nature and your body's innate healing abilities. You may find that with a few lifestyle adjustments, the right herbs, alternative therapies, and self-care, you can find relief and avoid many of the triggers that cause nausea.
Lifestyle Changes to Relieve or Avoid Nausea
If your nausea is not caused by a medical condition or the medications you are taking, making lifestyle changes may help you relieve occasional nausea, reduce its frequency, or even avoid it altogether.
These small but significant changes may make a significant difference in enhancing your health and overall quality of life.
- Eat small, frequent meals: This helps prevent overloading your stomach, making digestion easier and reducing the likelihood of experiencing nausea. This is especially important in the early stages of pregnancy. Focus meals on nutrient-rich options to support your body's needs.
- Avoid trigger foods and drinks: Pay attention to foods and drinks that tend to trigger your nausea. Common culprits include fatty, greasy, or spicy foods, as well as caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages.
- Stay hydrated: Dehydration can make you feel nauseous. Plan on drinking half your body weight in ounces of clear fluids per day: water, herbal teas, and broth. Avoid or limit your use of alcohol, which can be dehydrating. Electrolyte-rich drinks can help replenish fluids and maintain proper hydration levels.
- Position yourself for comfort: If motion sickness is an issue, you can minimize discomfort by sitting in the front of the car or bus and facing forward, following the road with your eyes. On a boat, keep your eyes on the horizon. If that’s not possible, lying down and sleeping or listening to soothing music may help you tune out the sensations that create your nausea. It may also help to sleep on your back, with your upper body elevated or sleep on your left side, since this helps move food and stomach acids lower in your stomach and away from your esophagus.
- Rest and manage stress: Aim for sufficient restful sleep each night to promote overall well-being and give your body a chance to recharge. Incorporate stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or physical activities you enjoy to help alleviate both physical and emotional stress.
By implementing these changes, you can create an environment that supports your digestive system and minimizes the occurrence of nausea.
5 Herbs To Alleviate Nausea
Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to help manage nausea. Some are used in extracts and teas, while others show more potential when used as essential oils in aromatherapy. The following five herbs have proven most effective in studies, although they are not the only herbs that have been used traditionally to promote healthy digestive function.
Nausea can be caused by gastroparesis, a condition where the stomach empties its contents slower than normal. Ginger has been shown to accelerate gastric emptying in human studies and alleviate the symptoms of nausea.REF#2338 Its impact on pregnancy-induced nausea has also been studied extensively in human trials, with the finding that a divided daily dosage of 1500 mg of ginger is beneficial for nausea relief.REF#2339 Additionally, a 2012 double-blind, multicenter trial with 744 adult cancer patients determined that ginger supplementation significantly reduces the severity of nausea induced by chemotherapy when given at a daily dose of 0.5 grams to 1.0 grams.REF#2340 Ginger can be consumed as ginger tea, made by steeping freshly grated ginger in hot water. Ginger extract can be taken in pill form or as a tincture mixed with water or other liquids. Additionally, ginger candies or lozenges can provide a convenient way to alleviate nausea on the go. You can also find natural ginger ale made from ginger root, which may provide similar relief.
Peppermint is an herb with good potential to calm the stomach and ease nausea. Peppermint extract has been shown in clinical studies to reduce the severity of nausea and increase appetite in cancer patients.REF#2341 Additionally, the essential oil constituents in Peppermint, menthol, and menthone, have demonstrated a relaxing effect on the digestive system in studies when used in aromatherapy.REF#2342 You can take Peppermint extract or make your own Peppermint tea by steeping dried peppermint leaves in hot water. You can use Peppermint essential oil in aromatherapy. Alternatively, a few drops of peppermint essential oil diluted in a carrier oil can be applied topically to the temples or gently inhaled for its soothing effects.
Chamomile is known for its calming properties, which may help reduce nausea related to stress and anxiety.* In a 2016 study of the effects of extracts of Ginger and Chamomile on breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, both herbs performed equally well in reducing the frequency of vomiting, whereas Ginger was more effective at reducing nausea.REF#2343 Enjoying a cup of chamomile tea, brewed from dried chamomile flowers, may promote relaxation and alleviate digestive discomfort.
Fennel seeds have traditionally been used as a digestive aid to calm indigestion and nausea and support normal digestive activity. While no human studies have proven its effectiveness, you may find relief by chewing on a small number of fennel seeds or brewing them into a tea for a soothing effect on the stomach.
The seeds of this plant contain a very high amount of volatile oils, which are thought to promote the absorption and elimination of gas and improve digestive function.* Human studies have indicated that Cardamom essential oil, when used in aromatherapy, helps reduce nausea in chemotherapy patients.REF#2344 The herb can be made into tea or taken as an extract or in pill form.
When using herbal remedies, it's important to remember that everyone's body reacts differently. Start with small amounts and monitor your body's response. If you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications, consult a healthcare professional before incorporating herbal remedies into your routine.
Aromatherapy for Nausea
Aromatherapy offers a natural and soothing approach to managing nausea. It involves the use of aromatic plant extracts known as essential oils, which are inhaled or applied topically. You can add the essential oils to a diffuser or inhale them from their container. You can also put a few drops diluted with a carrier oil directly on your temple, or apply the oil to a damp washcloth or towel and lay it on your forehead or neck for several minutes.
As noted above, both Peppermint and Cardamom may be effective essential oils for calming nausea. Additionally, the scent of lemon can promote a sense of freshness that may help reduce queasiness.* Lavender also is known for its calming and relaxing properties and may help reduce stress or anxiety-induced nausea.*
When using essential oils for aromatherapy, it is crucial to ensure their quality and purity. Essential oils are highly concentrated and should be used with caution. When using them topically, dilute them in a carrier oil such as olive, coconut, or jojoba oil before applying them to your skin. If you have any concerns or allergies, consult with a qualified aromatherapist or healthcare professional before using essential oils.
Acupressure for Nausea
Acupressure offers a non-invasive and drug-free approach to managing nausea, which you can do yourself at home. A specific acupressure point called P6, also known as the Neiguan point, is believed to help relieve nausea and vomiting. This point is located on the inner forearm, about three finger-widths above the crease in your wrist and between two large tendons.
You can purchase a wristband designed to apply pressure to the Neiguan point. These are commonly known as acupressure wristbands or anti-nausea bands. Alternatively, you can perform self-massage by applying firm pressure to the P6 point with your thumb in a circular motion for two to three minutes.
Find The Strategy That Works Best for You
From lifestyle changes to herbs to acupressure, these strategies promote the body's natural healing abilities and can be used in conjunction with other treatments to provide holistic relief from nausea. Remember, everyone's journey with nausea is unique, and what works for someone else may not work for you. It's important to listen to your body and find the strategies that provide the most relief. If symptoms persist or worsen, get in touch with your healthcare provider.
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