Featuring a queasy stomach often accompanied by an urge to vomit, nausea affects all people at one time or another. Common causes include excessive consumption of food or alcohol, food poisoning, motion sickness or seasickness, pregnancy, or viral infection (also known as the stomach flu). While doctors can prescribe medication for ailing patients, three natural remedies have shown promise for easing discomfort.
For centuries, Eastern practitioners have used acupuncture to treat a variety of physical ailments. The process involves the insertion of paper-thin needles through the skin at certain points in the body. According to Eastern medicine, the needles are thought to release a flow of energy (or qi) to reduce physical symptoms and/or promote healing.
Studies show that acupuncture is as effective as medication for control of nausea in cancer patients, and it reduces the need for medication for vomiting following chemotherapy treatment.
Chinese health practitioners have used ginger root for centuries as a remedy for a variety of digestive ailments, from stomachache to nausea. It contains chemicals called gingerols and shogaols that relax the intestinal tract.
Ginger has been proven safe for pregnant women, and a study published in Integrative Cancer Therapies showed that women with breast cancer who took ginger after chemotherapy experienced less nausea from six to 24 hours following treatment than women in a control group.
People can grate raw ginger into salads, add ginger to cooked dishes, eat candied ginger, or sip ginger tea.
Peppermint is another remedy with a long history for treating nausea. It relaxes stomach muscles, making the process of digestion quicker and more efficient.
Research published in The Journal of Holistic Nursing examined 35 women with postoperative nausea resulting from C-section. They were divided into three groups and given different treatments when they began to feel queasy. One group inhaled peppermint oil, one inhaled a placebo, and the control group received standard medication.
Participants rated levels of nausea at two and five minutes following intervention. Women who inhaled peppermint oil reported feeling significantly less nauseous than women in the other two groups. Researchers concluded that peppermint oil might be a valuable treatment for postoperative care.
Peppermint is available in the form of essential oil, tea, or capsules. People with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should not use peppermint, as it can worsen symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.
Nausea is a symptom of a variety of conditions from motion sickness to pregnancy. Uncomfortable queasy feelings sometimes lead to vomiting. While doctors can prescribe medicines for nausea, some people prefer more natural alternatives. Acupuncture, ginger, and peppermint have all proven to be helpful remedies.