Nausea is a feeling of unease and sickness that is hard to put words too, but that at some point another most of us have been all too familiar with. Often times the pre-curser to vomiting, is a miserable thing to experience. It can be caused for many reasons, from dehydration to food poisoning, morning sickness to motion sickness, medications to acid reflux. A lot of the time occasional nausea does not warrant a trip to the doctor-always exercise common sense when make that decision-and there are quite a few natural and home remedies for nausea that you can try. Treating your nausea naturally tends to be less likely than stronger medications to be hard on your body, possibly making you feel worse rather than better.
1. Glorious ginger
Ginger, be it in the form of ginger ale, tea, or even raw, is almost a guarantee to help stop nausea in its tracks. Ginger promotes the secretion of various digestive juices/enzymes that help neutralize stomach acid. It also contains phenols that relax stomach muscles and act similar to a sedative on irritated stomach tissue, reducing over activity of the stomach. At the same time, the phenols are helping your intestine move digested food and toxins through your system quicker, getting any bad stuff that may be making you feel ill pass faster. You can take it in capsule form, nibble the root raw, or grate some into a soothing soup. Personally, if it’s possible, I find fresh tea or ginger ale (the real stuff) to be the best way to calm an upset stomach.
If making tea you will need…
- 1 ginger root, 2 inches
-A peeler or sharp knife
-2-3 cups of water
-A cutting board
Wash your gingerroot well and then peel. Slice it into small pieces, cover with wax paper, and crush it or make your pieces extra small. Boil 2-3 cups of water over medium high heat and then add your ginger, letting it boil for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain if you like, or pour everything into your mug. Add honey if you like. Sip slowly and relax.
If making ginger ale you will need…
-2 cups of roughly chopped fresh ginger, peeled
-3-4 strips of lemon or lime peel
-Chilled club soda, about 3 quarts
-1/2 cup of sugar, or 1 cup if you prefer
In a saucepan place 2 cups of fresh gingerroot, peeled and roughly chopped, lemon or lime peel, and 4 cups of water. Let this come to a boil over high heat, and then at an active simmer let it sit uncovered for 10 minutes or so. While stirring, add in your sugar. I prefer less, and wouldn’t exceed using 1 cup. After you add the sugar continue to boil the mixture until it is reduced to about 3 cups-around another 15 minutes. Strain over a large bowl, separating solids from the liquid. Chill the syrup in a glass container with a lid until cold, or up to 7 days. Mix ¼ cup of the syrup with 1 cup of cold club soda and pour over ice. Add flavorings to taste.
2. Learn acupressure
Acupressure is comprised of putting pressure in specific points on the body to relieve some symptoms causing discomfort or feelings of being ill, like nausea. You can use a nausea band, or just apply the pressure yourself. It is thought that utilizing pressure points in your body will release neurotransmitters, like serotonin or endorphins. These chemicals then block other chemicals that may be out of balance and/or causing you to feel sick.
Some acupressure points to try…
The p6 point or “inner gate”: 2 or 3 finger widths down from the top crease in your wrist (at the base of your palm) there is a groove between two large tendons. Gently apply pressure to this area when you feel nauseas.
Top and bottom of wrist: Take your thumb and index finger and firmly press on the points (where the p6 is) on both sides of your write. Hold for 10-30 seconds, or up to 5 minutes, and breathe deeply.
3. Let it out
If you’re feeling so nauseous you think you need to vomit, don’t fight the urge. It’s your body’s way of getting out something that’s causing harm in your stomach, and you usually feel much better afterwards. Holding it in can also damage the esophagus, because the stomach acid is just being held in your throat.
4. Manage anxiety
For me, when it comes to nausea, I am my worst enemy. If I even think I feel nauseous I worry about it until I really, truly, do feel sick. This happens particularly in places when it would be extremely unfortunate to vomit-like in a class, during a meeting, on a date, and so on and so forth. If you worry yourself sick, you can try-
- Accepting the fact that you might throw up. Acknowledge the thought, and let it go. This masters the fear causing the nausea.
- Breathing and sipping water. It gives you something to focus on feeling better. Hyperventilating can also make you nausea, or even make you vomit.
5. Make milk toast
Bland foods can help tame your tummy, and 2 that are particularly favored are milk and bread. Bread absorbs excess acid, while milk coats your stomach, which is also why they are generally recommended when you something like aspirin, which can hurt an empty stomach. However, you do not want to drink milk straight, as dairy alone can cause upset, so make milk toast for a happy medium. Do NOT make this if you have gastroenteritis (the stomach flu) which reacts poorly to dairy. Milk toast helps the most when the stomach is irritated from over-the-counter pain meds.
You will need…
-1 cup of milk
-1 piece of toast
Heat up 1 cup of milk until it’s hot, but not boiling, and then pour into a cereal bowl, or one similar. Toast a piece of bread, and spread a tiny bit of unsalted butter on it. Crumble the toast into the milk, and eat slowly.
Upper back and neck pain can set off reoccurring bouts of nausea. In this case, the nausea is your bodies’ way of reacting to the discomfort in your back or neck. Try doing some simple neck and back stretches to release the tension causing the queasiness.
A back exercise: Try lying on a flat, solid surface (aka the floor.) Put down a yoga mat or something similar if you like. Lie like you’re about to do a push-up but instead of lifting up your whole mid-section, only lift up your upper body. Let your back arch and stretch as you tilt your head back as far as possible, the underneath of your chin facing the ceiling.
For neck exercise: Do not do actual neck rolls. Growing up playing rugby my coaches emphasized that when we stretched out in warm up rolling your neck around was not a good thing. It can pinch nerves, make you dizzy, and grind on disks. The vertebrae of your neck are not shaped for motion that follows a circular path, and overtime this hyperextension can have detrimental effects. Instead tip your head forward and touch your chin to your chest. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Follow this with tilting, not rolling, your head to left (like you’re trying to touch your ear to your shoulder) and hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat on the right side.
7. Slice a fresh lemon
The smell of citrus can cut through the murky feeling of nausea, calm your stomach, and calm you.
You will need…
-1 fresh lemon
-A sharp knife
Slice the lemon in half and position it close to you so you can smell it, but it’s not overwhelming. Make sure you are inhaling and exhaling fully.
8. Apply a cool compress
Applying a cool compress (not shockingly cold) on the back of your neck when you’re in the midst of a bout of nausea can help kick the queasiness. It is the most effective when combined with the positions as described in #7.
You will need…
-1 cool compress
Get a cool compress-an ice pack that’s been sitting out for a few minutes is fine, a washcloth dunked in cool water, or a compress you’ve made yourself. Take up one of the above positions. If lying down, place the compress under your neck. If sitting, drape it across the back of your neck. Both this, and the position you’re in, are particularly helpful is the nausea is being brought on by anxiety of some sort.
7. Kick your heels up, or sit down
Circulation can be a big reason when it comes to feeling dizzy or faint, and dizziness is often accompanied by nausea. To help reduce the feeling, try the following positions to pump blood to where it is needed, or to stop it from rushing. They may also help your brain maintain a sense of balance or stability by changing up blood flow.
• Find a place to lie down-a bed in a dark, quiet, room is optimum. Make sure your head is lying mostly flat, with no pillows or only a very thin one. Bend your knees, and make sure you’re breathing and not shorting yourself oxygen.
• Sit down with your back up against a wall, put your knees up, and put your head between them. Breathe.
10. Peppermint (again)
Like lemon, peppermint is one of those fresh scents that have the remarkable ability to tame an upset stomach. It has several forms that lend themselves to natural remedies, such as tea or oil. For quick relief, try rubbing some peppermint oil directly on your gums.
You will need…
-Cotton swabs or a means of washing hands
Dip or roll a cotton swab in a few drops of peppermint oil. Apply directly to your gums, and reapply if necessary. If you don’t have cotton swabs, wash your hands thoroughly. Put some oil on your fingertip, and rub onto your gums.
11. Suck on frozen fruit
Keep a few slices of lime or lemon in a plastic baggy in the freezer, and use for the times you find yourself getting nauseas. Like the smell of lemon can help you feel better, so can the sharp, fresh flavor of a straight wedge of lemon or lime. It also helps take your mind off of it, and while it may create a rush of saliva, it might transform it into an experience better than the “wet mouth” you get right before you are sick to your stomach. The cold is akin to sucking on ice-chips or a Popsicle if your stomach is upset, but if you prefer or didn’t plan ahead, unfrozen works too.
You will need…
-Several slices of freshly cut lemon or lime, frozen or unfrozen
At a time you don’t feel ill, cut a few wedges of lemon or lime. Toss them in a plastic baggy and put them in the freezer. When you start to feel nauseas, lie down (unless laying down makes it worse, of course) and suck on a slice. If you don’t have any frozen, fresh can substitute fine.
12. Get some air
Stepping outside into fresh air is sometimes all the remedy you need for nausea. Another way to help calm your body down is get air flowing over you.
You will need…
-A place to sit or lie down
Place a fan so that it blows gently across your face. Having the fan oscillate (or turn) can make this more pleasant. When you start to get that hot and flushed feeling and break into a clammy sweat, a little air can go a long ways to stopping the awful feeling of nausea.
13. Replace fluids and nutrients
If you’ve been sick to your stomach and are still feeling nauseas, you are probably perpetuating the problem by not replacing the fluid you’ve lost. Even if you haven’t thrown up yet, still make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, as it is one of the most steadfast ways to relieve a feeling of queasiness.
14. Follow the BRAT diet
If you’re nausea is caused by something like the stomach flu or food poisoning, follow the BRAT diet to keep it under control. It is comprised of:
-Applesauce (without sugar)
It has a little less ring to it, but you can do the BRATPP diet, which is adding on:
-Pasta (lightly buttered or with a little oil)
-Potatoes (avoid the steak or gravy)
Treating the cause of your nausea is the best route to go, but there are plenty of times when it hits without warning, and with no way to prevent it. In this case, trying out natural remedies is a good route to take. Not only does it mean you probably don’t have to leave the house while you feel sick, but they’ll be easier on your body then the foreign substances we often use to treat ourselves today.
The Golden Rule
“Mind over matter” is a good thing to remember in general, but it pertains to nausea in particular. Queasiness can, a lot of the time, be something that manifests as a result of what’s going on in your head, rather than what’s actually going on in your body. Also, if you fear throwing up (which makes you feel like throwing up) consciously think about how it’s okay if you do. Once you accept it you take the power away from the thought, and then it leaves you alone.
You may also like our list of 14 Home Remedies for Headaches
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By Claire GoodallClaire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, playing with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse. Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything :) Meet Claire
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