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Indigestion, motion sickness, morning sickness… all of us experience nausea at some point. I still remember a particularly bad case of food poisoning from years ago! Dealing with nausea is never fun, but these home remedies for nausea can help.
What Causes Nausea?
Like anything in life, there’s no silver bullet when it comes to solving feelings of nausea. Step one is figuring out what’s causing the problem. This makes it easier to choose the right natural remedy. Even if you don’t know the source of your upset stomach though these natural remedies are still helpful.
Whether it’s in a car, on a boat, or on a plane, motion sickness can cause you to experience nausea. If you’re traveling in a car getting out for some fresh air can help, but that’s not really something you can (safely!) do on an airplane!
Motion sickness happens when the inner ear, brain, and eyes are getting mixed signals and not communicating with each other well. Our inner ear controls balance and the vestibular system. When our body is moving but our eyes don’t perceive the movement the disconnect causes symptoms of nausea.
Cancer patients who are going through chemotherapy, radiation, and conventional cancer treatments often get nauseous. Commonly used for things like breast cancer, chemo is hard on the body. It can affect certain parts of the brain that control vomiting. Experts speculate chemo drugs may also irritate the stomach and gastrointestinal system.
It’s a common problem and around 80% of chemo patients have chemotherapy-induced nausea.
That little bun in the oven may be cute but they can also cause some serious nausea. Pregnant women may experience morning sickness in their first trimester. While it usually goes away after early pregnancy, some women have vomiting of pregnancy into the second or third trimesters.
A few years ago I had a lovely dinner at a restaurant. All was great until 3 am when I woke up with awful nausea and vomiting. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say food poisoning is no fun. Food poisoning happens when we ingest harmful microbes, bacteria, viruses, and certain chemicals. Symptoms can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, and headache.
Here are some more health issues that can cause, or accompany nausea
- Indigestion and acid reflux (heartburn)
- Bloating and constipation
- Peptic or gastric ulcers (these are in the stomach)
- Menstrual pain
- Heat stroke and heat exhaustion
- Heart attack
- Certain medications and treatments
Conventional Nausea Treatments
There are plenty of over-the-counter anti-nausea medications at your local drugstore. While these anti-emetic drugs can work, they can often come with unwanted side effects. Anti-nausea meds have listed side effects that include symptoms like confusion, dizziness, and trouble breathing.
So they may ease nausea, but cause other problems instead! There are plenty of complementary and natural nausea remedies out there and these are always my go-to.
Home Remedies for Nausea
Once you know what’s causing your upset stomach it’s easier to know which remedy to choose. Here are some of my favorite nausea remedies and how to use them.
1. Acupuncture and Acupressure
While these two therapies are similar, there are some obvious differences. They both work by activating energy meridians in the body. Acupuncture uses thin needles and is done by a professional acupuncturist. Acupressure on the other hand applies firm pressure to specific body areas.
You can easily use acupressure at home to help relieve nausea. One of the most popular nausea acupressure points is on the hand. Simply pinch the webbing between your thumb and index finger with the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand. Apply pressure for 3-4 minutes and repeat as needed.
Here are more nausea acupressure points to try.
You can also try this wristband called Sea-Bands. It’s a bracelet that activates an anti-nausea pressure point on your wrist. They’re safe for kids and pregnant mamas.
2. Essential Oils For Nausea
Essential oils have so many uses and our family uses them every day. I like to diffuse essential oils for their aromatherapy benefits and it can also help with nausea. Peppermint essential oil is one of the most popular options for nausea, but there are others. Lemon essential oil is also helpful, especially for pregnancy nausea.
These oils have antimicrobial compounds that help fight harmful pathogens when inhaled. The fresh scent of peppermint oil also has a cooling effect to calm nausea. You can also diffuse ginger essential oil or heavily dilute it and apply it over the stomach. Bergamot mint is another good option to inhale for nausea.
In a 2021 study, cancer patients applied peppermint oil below their noses for nausea relief along with meds. The control group only used anti-nausea medication. The peppermint group had less nausea and vomiting than the drug-only group.
Another 2020 study looked at peppermint for nausea after heart surgery. Not only did inhaling peppermint oil reduce nausea, but it helped with vomiting too.
I love my diffusers, but you also just take some deep breaths and inhale directly from the bottle. This way, if the scent becomes overwhelming it hasn’t already permeated the room via diffuser.
To use: Diffuse or inhale peppermint, lemon, bergamot mint, or ginger essential oil as needed.
3. Peppermint Tea
Similar to the oil, peppermint tea helps ease nausea. It’s safe to drink, even for kids, so it’s a gentle nausea remedy. It’s often used for other digestive complaints too, like bloating and irritable bowel syndrome. If you have GERD or acid reflux though it’s best to be wary of consuming lots of mint. It can relax the lower esophageal sphincter and worsen symptoms.
To use: Brew 1-2 teaspoons of mint in 1 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain and take small sips as needed.
Ginger is another popular home remedy for nausea and digestive upset. You can find crystallized ginger chews for a portable option. Ginger tea or ginger ale will also work. A 2015 review looked at ginger for various types of nausea, including pregnancy nausea. The authors concluded ginger has a strong track record for reducing nausea symptoms from a variety of sources.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends it as an alternative to nausea drugs in pregnancy. And some studies show it works better than the antemetic drug dimenhydrinate. It may even help lower blood sugar.
To use: Studies showed results using 1 gram of ginger supplements a day. For tea, it’s generally recommended to use up to 3-5 grams of fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons of dried ginger in tea daily while symptoms are present.
Ginger may interfere with blood thinners, diabetes medication, and high blood pressure medication. If you’re on medication discuss using ginger in medicinal amounts with your healthcare provider.
6. A Breath of Fresh Air
There really is something to be said for taking a moment in fresh air. When we become nauseous our core body temperature drops and blood vessels dilate to allow more heat to escape at the surface. The result is that we feel flushed and hot and instinctively gravitate toward cooler air.
Scientists speculate using cold air or ice packs counteracts our body’s effort to raise body temperature and reduce queasiness.
To use: Pretty obvious, but take some slow, deep breaths and do controlled breathing. If you’re in the car open a window. If possible, go outside and take a moment to relax and breathe.
7. Move it (Maybe)
If your stomach ache is caused by poor digestion or overeating, exercise can help. When we do a gentle workout or go for a walk it increases circulation to our muscles and organs, including the ones responsible for digestion. This circulation boost can help improve digestion which can then help nausea.
This isn’t the solution for all acute nausea situations though, so use your best judgment here.
To use: Go for a walk or do other gentle movements. Avoid bending over though!
8. Cinnamon for That Time of Month
Unbalanced hormones can contribute to heavy or uncomfortable menstrual cycles. While it’s best to address the root of the problem, in the meantime it helps to have symptom relief. Moderate to severe menstrual cramping can also cause nausea or vomiting.
In a 2015 study, researchers looked at cinnamon for menstrual problems. The cinnamon supplement group had less bleeding, pain, nausea, and vomiting. And it did it without side effects.
To use: Sip on cinnamon tea or take cinnamon supplements. In the above study, the women took 3 cinnamon pills a day at 420 mg each. Cinnamon lowers blood sugar so it isn’t for those with low blood sugar and may interfere with diabetes medications.
9. Pregnancy Nausea Remedies
After 6 pregnancies I’ve learned a thing or two about pregnancy nausea. Some doctors even think it can be a good sign and that our bodies are making enough pregnancy hormones to sustain a pregnancy. Other experts believe it could be due to nutrient deficiencies. Whatever the case, these remedies may help:
- Avoid smells that trigger your nausea.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
- Don’t drink water with meals but in between. Water dilutes digestive juices.
- Stick to simple, nutrient-dense foods.
- Have a fan nearby or go outside for fresh air.
- Inhale peppermint or lemon essential oil.
- Sip on ginger ale, lemon water, or mint tea.
- Try a vitamin B6 supplement (they’re shown to help pregnancy nausea)
Foods to Eat With Nausea
If you’re nauseous, food may be the last thing you want to think about. If you have food poisoning, then it’s helpful to let the body clear itself out first then worry about eating. In the case of pregnancy nausea though, you don’t want to avoid eating for too long. You’re eating for two after all!
When you’re ready to venture into food again it’s best to start slow. Try bland foods like applesauce, bananas, and rice. For pregnancy nausea, some moms find it helpful to eat small meals and snacks throughout the day.
It’s also really important to drink electrolytes to prevent dehydration. Years ago I ended up at the hospital on vacation after a long day in the sun with too little water. I’m especially careful now to stay hydrated with healthy or homemade sports drinks. For an on-the-go option, I love these LMNT electrolyte drink mixes.
When to Seek Medical Attention
You know your body better than anyone else. If something feels really off, trust your gut and connect with a healthcare professional.
- If you’ve been in the sun all day without enough water and electrolytes, then heat exhaustion or heat stroke are a risk.
- Nausea can also accompany heart attacks. Feeling lightheaded, nausea and a cold sweat are all signs of a heart attack.
- Pregnant mamas with severe nausea, vomiting, and weight loss may have a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG).
If your nausea is part of a more serious health issue, it’s important to seek medical advice right away.
Final Thoughts on Nausea Remedies
There are plenty of issues that can cause temporary nausea. And fortunately, there are plenty of home remedies that can help. Try to get some fresh air, relax, and see which remedies work best for you.
What remedies have you found to help with nausea? Any I missed? Leave a comment and share below!