Nausea refers to a sensation of uneasiness in the stomach that is accompanied by an urge to vomit. Most commonly associated with pregnancy, wherein 70 – 80% of expectant mothers are likely to experience nausea, it can also affect otherwise healthy individuals. Although sometimes associated with illness and other health conditions, nausea can have a variety of causes, including dietary and environmental factors. In most cases, the condition can be easily dealt with, especially if you understand the underlying cause. As nausea is not a threatening condition and occurs quite commonly, it is best dealt with using natural methods. Ayurveda offers a number of nausea remedies that have long been used to deal with the condition and many of these natural solutions have proven to be quite effective.
Traditional Ayurvedic texts refer to nausea as hrillasa, a condition often accompanied by vomiting (chardi) and salivation (praseka). Most often, the problem is associated with dosha imbalance and indigestion (ajirna). Ayurvedic nausea remedies can provide relief from nausea, easing digestion and reducing feelings of discomfort. Of course, the effectiveness of natural solutions can vary, depending mainly on the underlying cause.
Common Risk Factors & Causes of Nausea
Nausea is not a disease, but is symptomatic of an underlying condition or a physiological response to environmental or dietary stimuli. Nevertheless, some of the most common causes of nausea include:
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Intense pain
- Motion sickness
- Emotional stress
- Food poisoning
- Numerous underlying medical conditions, including colds, infections, organ diseases, & diabetes
All of us suffer from nausea from time to time and it usually resolves within a few hours, whether treated or not. Such instances of nausea are quite normal, but if the condition develops frequently, it would be best to consult a doctor. If you have also been vomiting and if the vomit contains blood, solid particles, or has an unusual color, you should seek emergency medical care.
Nausea Remedies for Natural Relief
Non-threatening nausea that surfaces occasionally can be easily dealt with using natural remedies. These natural solutions can be particularly handy when you don’t have quick access to medications or if you simply wish to avoid using pharmaceutical products because of possible side effects.
Here are some of the best natural remedies to help treat or prevent nausea.
1. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Arguably one of the most effective Ayurvedic herbs, ginger offers excellent digestive health support and can provide relief from conditions like stomach pain, nausea, and bloating. Ginger is so widely used across the world, that the treatment of morning sickness with ginger is not exclusive to Ayurveda. Ginger intake is generally regarded as safe, but your dosage should not exceed 1500 mg during pregnancy because of an increased risk of miscarriage.
According to a recent study published by the World Journal of Gastroenterology, people with indigestion (a common cause of nausea) who consumed ginger experienced a 25% digestion boost as compared to the placebo group. Additionally, several studies confirmed its positive effects on relieving stomach pain and nausea symptoms.
Ginger is a versatile herb that can be added to various dishes. Simply peel the root, grate it, and season your foods with it. You can also use ginger powder in a similar manner.
2. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
Chamomile tea has been used as a traditional remedy thanks to its ability to relieve stomach pain, nausea, and gas or bloating. In Ayurveda, the herb is best known for its calming effects, especially on childhood illnesses.
As one study examining the effects of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting points out, chamomile is “significantly effective for reducing the frequency of vomiting.” Several other studies claim that this ancient herb may be used for eliminating nausea effectively.
For optimal results, prepare yourself some warm chamomile tea and drink it after experiencing nausea or before going to sleep. The herb, however, should be avoided by pregnant women as it could increase susceptibility to miscarriage.
3. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
This aromatic and flavorful spice demonstrates both anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, which is why it has been widely used in traditional medicine systems across the world. Nausea is just one of the many conditions that cinnamon can help treat, but it’s the one we are most interested in.
As research suggests, cinnamon has a positive influence on the health and function of the gastrointestinal tract and could be an effective treatment for diarrhea, nausea, and chills. You can easily reap the benefits of cinnamon by adding it to your diet whilst cooking. You can use whole cinnamon, pod
4. Vitamin B6
Aside from the fact that vitamin B6 plays a vital role in supporting almost every bodily process from blood cell production to brain function, it is also vital for the metabolism and processing of various macronutrients. Vitamin B6 allows the body to process amino acids, which possibly helps to reduce feelings of nausea. While experts are still not sure as to the exact mechanism of action, it is widely accepted that the vitamin does help to reduce nausea, which is why it is routinely prescribed during pregnancy.
According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology, patients with nausea and vomiting who received Vitamin B6 showed significant improvement after a 3-day therapy compared to those in the placebo group who experienced worsening of the condition.
Foods rich in vitamin B6
You can increase your Vitamin B6 intake by consuming foods like chickpeas, beef liver, seafood, vitamin B6 fortified products like cereals, chicken or turkey breast, potatoes, bananas, pistachio, avocado, and sunflower and sesame seeds. If you’re also planning to use vitamin B6 supplements, make sure to consult a nutritionist or dietitian as excessive intake of vitamin B6 in very high doses can cause side effects like nerve damage.
5. Mint (Mentha × piperita & Mentha spicata)
Commonly described as pudina in India, mint leaves are widely used as a culinary ingredient for their distinctive flavor. Owing to its wide ranging therapeutic benefits, cooling effect, and dosha balancing properties, the herb is commonly used in Ayurvedic medications for indigestion and nausea. This traditional use of the herb is also supported by modern science.
Researchers have identified strong antiemetic effects in commonly used strains of mint, including peppermint and spearmint. In fact, the efficacy of mint for nausea relief is so well established that it is also recommended as an alternative to pharmaceutical antiemetics for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. A study that appeared in the journal Ecancermedicalscience found that oral administration of mint capsules helped reduce the severity and frequency of chemotherapy-induced nausea. These benefits can also be enjoyed through the use of mint oil extracts when used in aromatherapy. The antiemetic action of mint is not clearly understood, but is most likely connected with the influence of menthol on certain receptors in the nervous system.
Tips to Manage Nausea
While antiemetic medications and natural remedies for nausea will help to provide relief from the condition, a more permanent solution would require identification and treatment of the underlying cause itself. To reduce the frequency and severity of nausea, you can also try to follow these suggestions:
- Avoid foods that are hard to digest like fatty foods such as pork and bacon, fried and greasy foods, sugar-rich foods, dairy products, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Limit your intake of raw foods including vegetarian salads.
- Maintain adequate fluid intake.
- Do not go to bed or recline soon after eating.
As most cases of nausea are isolated and infrequent, home remedies and lifestyle changes can be extremely helpful. However, persistent nausea can be indicative of serious health conditions that can be life threatening if left untreated. For this reason, it is advisable that you consult a medical professional if you continue to suffer from nausea or if it is accompanied by other symptoms.
- Lee, N. M., & Saha, S. (2011). Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America, 40(2), 309–vii. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.gtc.2011.03.009
- Ming-Luen Hu, Christophan K. Rayner, Keng-Liang Wu, Seng-Kee Chuah, Wei-Chen Tai, Yeh-Pin Chou, Yi-Chun Chiu, King-Wah Chiu, Tsung-Hui Hu. (2011). Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia. World Journal of Gastroenterology. Jan 7; 17(1): 105–110. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i1.105
- Lete, I., & Allué, J. (2016). The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy. Integrative Medicine Insights, 11, 11–17. http://doi.org/10.4137/IMI.S36273
- Sanaati F., Najafi S., Kashaninia Z., Sadeghi M. (2016). Effect of Ginger and Chamomile on Nausea and Vomiting Caused by Chemotherapy in Iranian Women with Breast Cancer. Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention : APJCP. 17(8):4125-9.
- Shen, Y., Jia, L.-N., Honma, N., Hosono, T., Ariga, T., & Seki, T. (2012). Beneficial Effects of Cinnamon on the Metabolic Syndrome, Inflammation, and Pain, and Mechanisms Underlying These Effects – A Review. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 2(1), 27–32.
- Sahakian V., Rouse D., Sipes S., Rose N., Niebyl J. (1991). Vitamin B6 is effective therapy for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Jul;78(1):33-6.
- Tayarani-Najaran, Z., Talasaz-Firoozi, E., Nasiri, R., Jalali, N., & Hassanzadeh, M. (2013). Antiemetic activity of volatile oil from Mentha spicata and Mentha × piperita in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Ecancermedicalscience, 7, 290. http://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2013.290