When nausea strikes, many people want to avoid medicines that put chemicals into their bodies. But are there effective, drug-free remedies for morning sickness, motion sickness, or flu-related nausea? And what about natural relief for chemo-induced or post-operative nausea? Happily, many home treatments are available, some you may already have in your pantry, or even at the tips of your fingers (literally!).
While cases of severe nausea—such as the extreme morning sickness suffered by Duchess Kate Middleton (known as hyperemesis gravidarum or HG)—may require treatment by a medical professional, even then you may find that you experience the greatest relief by combining pharmaceutical and natural remedies. When under a doctor’s care, it is important to discuss how any alternative therapies may interact with other treatments you are receiving. For everyone else, here are seven tried-and-true natural nausea-fighting tips—one for every day of the week!
1) Keep a nausea diary
Keep a daily journal of what you eat, when you sleep, any home remedies used, time of day of nausea episodes, and severity. You will be able to identify patterns and trigger foods, allowing you to make modifications to your diet and schedule to ward off nausea in the future. One pregnant mom we know would get sick at the mere sight of the word “chicken.” She learned to ask others to tell her what options were on the menu when dining out to avoid this particular trap. Everyone is different!
2) Avoid hot foods
Hot foods, along with rich, highly flavored dishes, can exacerbate nausea. Choose cool or room temperature dishes. You may find that bland, bready foods go down most easily.
3) Eat dry toast or crackers before getting out of bed
Morning sickness sufferers may find relief by eating some easily digestible bready food as soon they wake up. Hunger can sometimes make nausea worse, and having some carbs in the stomach can help keep it under control.
4) Practice Acupressure
Applying pressure to the Nei-Kuan (P6) acupoint (instructions available here) has been clinically proven to reduce symptoms of nausea and vomiting. In a pinch, you can apply pressure to this point on both wrists with your opposite thumbs. Acupressure bracelets can apply this pressure for you.
5) Go for Ginger
Ginger has been used for settling upset stomachs since antiquity, and is is available in many forms: there’s ginger tea and ginger ale for sipping, candied ginger and ginger snaps for snacking, ginger root and dried ginger for cooking, and ginger supplements for taking on the go. Liquids or small candies are probably easier to keep down than a heavily spiced meal. Just be sure that any ginger-flavored drinks or snacks you buy include real ginger among their ingredients—artificial flavors won’t do you any good.
6) ...And Peppermint
Peppermint is another natural favorite for upset stomachs, and the options for taking it abound. You can drink tea made from the leaves, suck on peppermint candies (check the ingredient list for real peppermint), put peppermint essential oil into a diffuser, or carry around a bottle and inhale its aroma as needed. A word of caution: if your nausea is accompanied by heartburn, peppermint can make it worse.