Table of Contents
- What is Nausea?
- How to Deal with Nausea?
- Potential Problems with Nausea
- When to Consult a Doctor?
- Natural Remedies for Nausea
- Baking Soda
- Sugar Syrup
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Rice Water
- Rusk, Dry Toast, Plain Bread
- Cranberry Juice
- Frozen Fruit
- Bitters and Soda
- Caraway Seeds
- Holy Basil
- Wild Yam Root
- Raspberry Leaf
- Wheat Germ
- Fresh Air
- Breathing Exercises and Meditation
- Ice Pack/Cold Compress
- Warm Compress
- Do’s and Don’ts
When was the last time that you had an acute bout of nausea?
We have all suffered from it at some point or another.
And there is nothing pleasant about the ordeal.
Did you know that you can treat most nausea using simple home remedies?
But there are so many different types, some of which can be dangerous if left untreated.
So do try to read our in-depth guide completely to learn everything you need to know about this distressing condition.
Armed with the knowledge provided, you will be better equipped to decide when to treat nausea with simple home remedies, and when to seek expert medical attention.
What is Nausea?
Much like a fever, nausea is not an illness or disease in itself.
Instead, it is a symptom of other diseases or conditions or a bodily defense mechanism to deal with specific situations.
We all know the tell-tale signs very well: that feeling of acute uneasiness, the queasy feeling in the stomach, the urge to vomit, a kind of flushed hotness, and that general lightheaded feeling.
There are two centers in the brain associated with nausea and vomiting and are both located in the region called the medulla oblongata.
When the stomach lining is irritated by different causes, it sends signals to these areas in the brain, resulting in the triggering of nausea.
The vomiting center in your brain can also be affected by stimuli from other parts of the body.
For instance, issues that affect the brain directly, like stress, migraine, vertigo, and motion sickness, can all trigger this part of the brain.
When any such stimulus happens, the brain reacts by starting a process called “emesis,” beginning contractions in the stomach walls and the esophagus and eventually causing the body to vomit the contents of the stomach.
Here are a few common symptoms associated with nausea (1):
- Abdominal Pain
- General Sickness
In medical terms, nausea is called a “non-specific symptom,” meaning it can have many probable causes.
Some of these are downright harmless and short-term, like a bout of motion sickness, or mild flu.
In a few instances, nausea can even be a cause of happiness, like a pregnancy.
But by far, the most common causes of nausea are stomach infections and food poisoning.
Nausea can also be the result of side effects of medication and treatments like chemotherapy.
In instances of chronic nausea, severe complications of the stomach could be responsible.
Let’s look at some of the most common causes of nausea (2):
- Food Poisoning
- Gastrointestinal Infection or Disorders
- Vertigo, or Motion Sickness
- Psychiatric Issues or Stress
- Overdoses, and/or Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Interestingly, the word “nausea” originates from one of the most notorious causes of the condition.
It is common knowledge that seasickness can lead to acute bouts of nausea and vomiting.
The English word nausea is borrowed from Latin and Greek.
It comes from the Greek word “nausia.”
In ancient Greek, “naus” means “ship,” and nausia meant seasickness or a condition you suffer on ships.
You may not like the symptom of nausea, but in many cases, it is the body’s vital defense mechanism.
When you have swallowed something dangerous, like spoiled food or poison, the body uses nausea to initiate vomiting.
This is a useful method to remove the hazardous substances from your stomach before they can cause much damage.
How to Deal with Nausea?
There is no universally valid method for dealing with nausea, as it can be caused by a wide range of factors and diseases.
But following the reasoning from the paragraph above, in some situations at least, the simplest way to deal with nausea may be to give in and vomit.
If you think that your nausea is a result of something you ate recently, this could be the most natural solution.
But if it is the result of other factors like medication or treatments like chemotherapy, or conditions like pregnancy, there are simple remedies available.
If you want to know what’s good to treat nausea, try the following approaches.
Remember, these are only recommended when you (and by extension, your doctor in some cases) know the actual cause of the condition:
- Eat certain foods: If you want to know what’s good for nausea, some categories of foods, like bland items filled with carbs, can help reduce the severity of the symptom. You could try eating more of these foods if you have a bout of nausea.
- Avoid some foods: Rich, oily, and pungent foods can exacerbate the feeling of nausea. Steer clear of such greasy foods to avoid worsening your symptoms.
- Physical activity: In many instances, resting your body can be a great way to let the nausea symptoms subside. Other helpful activities include relaxing massages, or treatments like ice pack/cold compress, exercise, or deep breathing techniques.
- Medication: If you need quick relief, chemical OTC medicines are also an option. But these are not ideal in the case of pregnancies, or chemotherapy when your body is already full of chemicals.
Potential Problems with Nausea
As you know by now, nausea is just a symptom of an underlying cause.
In the vast majority of cases, it is something relatively benign or short-term, like indigestion or minor food poisoning.
But if the feeling persists for more than 48 hours, it means that the cause is something more severe and persistent.
If nausea and vomiting are allowed to continue, it can have serious repercussions.
Since nausea causes appetite to plummet, you could potentially end up with lack of nutrition and a weakened body.
Frequent vomiting can result in dangerous loss of body fluids and nutrition.
Frequent contractions of the walls of the stomach can also lead to actual damage or tears in the gut or ruptures in the esophagus.
In individuals with alcoholism, this can be especially dangerous.
Long-term nausea and vomiting also raise the danger of the stomach contents ending up in your lungs, leading to choking or pneumonia.
All these are complications that can result from the persistent symptom of nausea.
But another major concern is related to the actual stimulus, or cause of the symptoms.
It could be the result of dangerous stomach illnesses like dyspepsia, obstructions in the stomach, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis, tumors, or pancreatic cancer.
It could also be the result of persistent stress or other mental or brain-related conditions.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, some of these conditions can be fatal.
When to Consult a Doctor?
For starters, this depends on the circumstances behind the onset of nausea, and the severity of the symptoms.
For instance, if you had a hard night of partying and wake up the following day with a bout of nausea and headache, there is no need to call your GP.
But if you have sudden bouts of nausea and vomiting without any warning, and none of the home remedies mentioned in this article helps, it might be a good idea to visit the doctor.
Acute bouts of nausea, when accompanied by other symptoms like weakness, stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever, is often a sure sign of food poisoning or acute infection.
If you are wondering how to get rid of nausea from these conditions, a visit to the emergency room is recommended.
But if there are no accompanying symptoms, and nausea persists for over 48 hours without relief, consult your GP as soon as possible.
Natural Remedies for Nausea
For milder forms of nausea without severe accompanying symptoms, you can try the following remedies.
Many of these remedies are also useful for nausea that occurs as a result of special circumstances like pregnancy and cancer treatments.
We have classified the remedies into different sections for ease of reading.
These sections are:
- Home Remedies: Quick treatment options based on easily available ingredients usually found in most homes and kitchens.
- Herbal Remedies: Natural remedies based on herbs and plant extracts. Some of these ingredients may be available in your home.
- Exercises, Massages, and Lifestyle Changes: As the title suggests, this one is pretty self-explanatory. Physical activities can also help reduce nausea symptoms in some cases.
Almost all lists of home remedies for nausea (and other gastric issues) start invariably with ginger.
It is an ingredient easily available in most kitchens.
And if you don’t know already, ginger is an incredibly powerful spice with potent medical benefits.
Ginger is also very safe, with few potential side effects.
The active ingredients in ginger can fight a host of gastric troubles like indigestion, stomach aches, gas, and nausea.
Since indigestion is one of the most common causes of nausea, ginger is a great first option to try.
If you are wondering how to cure nausea with ginger, simply brew some tea by grating fresh ginger and adding it to hot water.
Steep for 10 minutes.
If you want, you can add some additional ingredients like lemon juice, honey, and nutmeg.
Drink this brew twice a day for quick relief.
This is another common ingredient you will usually find in your kitchen.
Lemon juice can provide quick relief from nausea.
For instant relief, you can try sucking on a wedge of lemon.
If that doesn’t feel particularly appetizing, or if you don’t like that much sourness in one go, you can try another method.
Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a glass of water, and add some salt.
Since nausea can be a result of imbalanced electrolytes and fatigue, salt and water will help reduce those factors.
This might sound weird, as baking soda has a pretty gross taste on its own.
But mixing half a spoonful of this powder in a cup of water and swallowing the liquid can give you instant relief from nausea.
And in some cases, when you have already vomited, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth that can trigger further bouts of nausea.
A mixture of baking soda, salt, and water can be used to remove this bad taste from your mouth.
Just mix one teaspoon of baking soda with a ¾ teaspoon of salt, and combine in four cups of warm water
Gargle with this solution, swishing it around generously in your mouth before spitting (10).
You might be wondering how to stop nausea with something as simple as sugar.
Well, in some instances, overdosing on foods like sugar can lead to nausea.
But if that doesn’t apply in your situation, a sugar syrup can be a useful cure.
You can keep this syrup in advance and store it for future instances of nausea as well.
To make this syrup, dissolve a half cup of sugar in a quarter cup of water.
Bring it to a boil in a saucepan. Do not stop stirring.
Wait until you get a clear thick syrup.
Turn off the heat and allow this syrup to cool.
Take one or two teaspoons of the syrup to treat nausea.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Is there any end to the list of ills and conditions that can be cured by ACV?!
Nausea is another discomfort that can be warded off in a flash by drinking some of this wonder liquid.
It is especially effective against nausea caused by morning sickness, food poisoning, or minor infections in the gut.
But it should be said that this is a traditional remedy, and comprehensive scientific research hasn’t backed up these claims just yet (11).
But if you want to know how to get rid of nausea with ACV, it is very simple.
Just add some ACV to 8 ounces of water and drink it.
The vinegar has an antimicrobial effect, which should provide some relief for nausea caused by a stomach bug.
This is the rich, starchy water created by boiling rice in excess water.
Starch is a good choice to suppress nausea; it has a soothing effect on the inner lining of the stomach, especially in cases of food poisoning (12).
White rice generates more starchy water than brown rice.
Rice was an integral part of the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Apple Sauce, Toast), which was prescribed for chemo patients and those suffering from long-term diarrhea and other GI issues.
Though the BRAT diet is not recommended by doctors these days long-term, due to lack of nutrition, the individual components are still used in the short term to provide relief from nausea.
This fruit was also considered a part of the BRAT diet for nausea and gastric issues.
It is useful for people suffering from stomach upset, due to its ability to stimulate mucus production in the stomach lining.
This mucus acts as a protective layer against stomach acid.
Rusk, Dry Toast, Plain Bread
An empty stomach is the worst feeling when you are suffering from nausea.
But the symptom also produces a marked lack of appetite, especially for heavily flavored foods.
So filling your stomach can be a hard task.
This is where very bland foods like rusk or dry toast enter the picture.
Since they are so bland, they are easy to eat even during bouts of nausea.
And once they get into your stomach, the complex carbs in these foods start to work to decrease nausea.
They also help in stabilizing your blood sugar levels and provide you with vital energy.
You can consume this fruit in any number of ways to reduce the severity of nausea.
Since it has relatively little flavor, you can eat a couple of pieces of this raw fruit.
Or you can also drink the fresh apple juice, as long as it does not contain excess sugar.
Drink it at regular intervals (15).
In Iran, apple syrup is also considered as a traditional remedy for nausea (16).
Or applesauce without much sugar in it is a great option and forms part of the BRAT diet we mentioned above.
Continuing the fruit theme, berries are a rich source of vitamin C.
They also contain a lot of valuable dietary fiber.
These are all great for overall stomach health.
For pregnant women suffering from morning sickness, eating a bowl of nutritious and tasty berries can have multiple benefits (17).
Fruits like raspberries can help stave off nausea symptoms, and also provide you with your daily dose of vitamins and fiber.
This tart beverage can be a very effective remedy for all kinds of nausea.
It contains essential nutrients that can help soothe the walls of your stomach (18).
Make sure that the juice you drink doesn’t contain excessive amounts of sugar, as this can have a counterproductive effect.
If the flavor is too strong, you can even consider diluting the juice with fresh cold water.
Cold foods are incredibly useful when dealing with conditions like nausea when strong flavors can increase our impulse to vomit.
So if you occasionally suffer from nausea, you might want to stock up your freezer with frozen fruit or fruit juice popsicles.
Sucking on these can help relieve the symptoms, and provide you with vital liquids and nutrients (19).
You should stay away from highly acidic fruits like citrus if your symptoms are due to acidity or heartburn, though.
Bitters and Soda
While alcohol is a strict no-no if you suffer from nausea, a common cocktail ingredient might be a great option.
Cocktail bitters are a blend of herbs like ginger, mint, fennel, and cinnamon.
Almost all of these ingredients are featured on our list here.
So if you have a bottle of bitters at your home bar, just combine it with some club soda, tonic water, or ginger ale for quick relief from nausea.
Herbal Remedies for Nausea
If you have cloves in your spice cabinet, it can be used as a good home remedy for nausea.
Both the spice and its oil extract have been declared safe for consumption (20).
In fact, you may be aware of the power clove oil has on aching teeth and gums.
Don’t know how to stop nausea?
If you have this spice in its powder form, directly brew a tea by boiling one teaspoon of clove powder in one cup of water.
Steep for five minutes, then strain it and drink. The taste and palatability can be improved by adding some honey.
Inhaling the smell of clove oil is another option to stop nausea.
Or if you have whole cloves, you can use a couple of those as well.
This is another excellent herbal remedy for nausea that is often found in your home spice rack.
The healing and positive effects of cumin seeds on the stomach have been known for thousands of years.
Thymol, a compound in cumin, has a stimulating effect on the digestive system and can end the symptoms of indigestion with ease.
So if you suffer from nausea related to indigestion, cumin is a very effective cure.
Clinical studies have verified the effect of cumin on nausea caused by GI disorders like IBS, as well (21).
You can chew on a few cumin seeds for quick relief.
You can also boil a spoonful of seeds in water and drink it.
Like the cumin seed, to which it bears an uncanny resemblance, fennel is a spice with a lot of benefits for indigestion and other gastric disorders.
It is considered particularly effective in treating nausea symptoms caused by dysmenorrhea, or painful menstruation (22).
Chewing on a few fennel seeds can bring speedy relief from nausea.
Alternatively, you can boil a teaspoonful of the seeds in one cup of boiling water.
Let it steep for ten minutes, then add some honey and lemon juice for extra flavor and effect.
Drink this brew slowly.
These seeds are most commonly mistaken for cumin seeds, because of the uncanny resemblance.
And like fennel and cumin, this pungent spice can be effective in treating a lot of gastric issues.
But be warned though, of the three types of seeds, this one is the most powerful.
Unless used in moderation, it can cause unwanted side effects, and even worsen nausea!
When used in moderation, however, caraway seeds can have an incredibly soothing effect on your stomach.
The oils in this seed contain compounds that can treat indigestion and gas.
And chewing on a few seeds can often bring immediate relief from nausea.
As with the other seeds, you can also brew caraway tea using hot water, honey, and lemon juice.
This is another spice with a great effect on nausea and gastric issues.
It has been in use in India and Iran for centuries to treat all kinds of GI issues.
But as with many other herbal remedies, the hard scientific evidence is still lacking (23).
There are many ways in which you can use aniseed to treat nausea.
Add a quarter teaspoonful of aniseed to a half cup of boiling water.
Strain the solution after steeping for five minutes. Drink this once a day for relief from nausea.
If you can stand fruits or veggies like carrots, apples, or pears, you can sprinkle them with aniseed.
Bake the fruits/vegetables, and then eat.
So you can safely drink cinnamon tea to get relief from nausea.
All you need to do is add a half teaspoonful of cinnamon powder to boiling water.
Allow the liquid to steep for some time, and then strain.
Sip this warm liquid slowly to cure nausea.
Chamomile tea is a trendy beverage to treat several conditions, so you may very well have it in your cupboard.
Make a tea using some fresh chamomile leaves (or bags if you have the packaged variety).
Steep for anywhere from 5-7 minutes. Drink the liquid for quick relief.
Dried peppermint leaves can be used to make very soothing and refreshing tea.
This decoction has a very positive effect on your stomach and nerves.
To make this drink, add two tablespoons of leaves to boiling water in a pan.
Steep the solution by covering the pan and allowing it to stand for up to 20 minutes.
Drink the liquid after having strained it to remove any particles.
If you want it sweeter, add some natural honey (28).
This is a very sacred aromatic herb for ancient religions like Hinduism due to its myriad health benefits.
So it occupies a prime position in Ayurveda, the medicinal system practiced in India throughout the ages.
Even modern medical science agrees with the effectiveness of basil in treating nausea and vomiting (29).
This sticky mixture will have a very soothing effect on your stomach.
For quick results, you can also chew on a few fresh leaves.
Wild Yam Root
This root vegetable is used in many traditional and alternative medical systems to treat nausea and morning sickness (30).
You can find extracts of wild yam in the form of capsules and powders.
You can swallow the capsules or craft a tincture.
But this remedy can be problematic for children, pregnant ladies, and lactating mothers.
It is also considered not safe for people suffering from hormonal cancers.
Consult a doctor before taking this remedy.
This ingredient can be a bit hard to find, but if you have access to fresh or dried leaves, their tea can be used to heal nausea.
Pour some boiling water over a couple of teaspoons of the dried leaves.
Let the solution steep for fifteen minutes, then drink.
The leaves are rich in tannins, which can help check the symptoms of nausea (31).
This highly nutritious product is fast finding a spot in the diet of many health food junkies.
And if you have painful periods and nausea every month, you might want to stock up on this product as well.
Scientific studies have proven its effects on dysmenorrhea and menstrual nausea (32).
If you are wondering how to cure nausea with wheat germ, simply add one teaspoon of wheat germ extract to one cup of milk.
Drink the mix twice a day for best results.
Physical Activity, Lifestyle Changes, and Alternative Therapies
Sitting cooped up indoors will only worsen the symptoms of nausea.
Going outdoors and getting some fresh air can soothe your brain (33).
If possible, head to a nearby park, or the beach if the ocean is close by.
Brisk walks in the open air can help reduce the symptoms.
If neither of those options is available, try opening some windows to let in some air.
And turn on the fan for some air circulation, as well, if possible.
When dealing with nausea related to a hangover, or chemotherapy, physical exercise can help.
These include back and neck exercises, as well as other types of aerobics and yoga.
If you love running, you can try that in some cases, if you haven’t been vomiting.
These remedies might not help if you have nausea related to food poisoning, though.
But in the cases of chemo patients, aerobics and yoga have shown promise, according to some studies (34).
Breathing Exercises and Meditation
These are incredibly helpful when dealing with stress-related symptoms.
Deep breathing may also be beneficial when dealing with an irritated stomach lining, as the changing body rhythms and patterns also create positive changes in stomach wall movements.
Try sitting in spaces that are free from strong scents or smells when trying meditation or breathing exercises.
Close your eyes and visualize soothing images or thoughts to keep away stress.
For any alcohol- or drug-related nausea, a warm shower is a great cure.
It makes both your mind and body fresh and alert.
A warm soak is also helpful for relaxing your body and muscles.
And this is useful when dealing with nausea or morning sickness related to stress or pregnancies (35).
When dealing with postoperative nausea and vomiting, aromatherapy is a proven alternative cure.
Steam inhalation or regular inhalation of fragrant vapors can be equally effective in dealing with nausea.
Always use pure natural essential oils for therapeutic purposes.
You can use lemon, lavender, spearmint, dandelion, or peppermint essential oils.
Ice Pack/Cold Compress
This treatment is for nausea related to head injuries, concussion, or motion sickness (38).
There are many ways to apply a cold compress to your head.
You can use an ice pack or a cold compress.
You can even dip a regular washcloth in some cold water and apply it to your forehead.
Another area to apply cold is on the back of your neck.
You can do this while lying down, or on a chair.
P-6 is a pressure point located near your wrist in the inner forearm, usually three to four fingers’ breadth below your wrist.
You can try applying pressure in this spot to relieve nausea and other symptoms of an upset stomach.
There is both contradictory and affirmative evidence regarding the efficacy of acupressure in treating nausea caused by chemotherapy and postoperative nausea.
But it may not help if you also have vomiting (39).
The opposite of a cold compress, this is ideally placed on the stomach area for relief from gastric complaints and nausea.
It is particularly effective in dealing with the abdominal cramps and nausea often associated with periods in women.
For maximum effect, lie down or lean back in a comfortable position in a chair.
Use a hot water bottle or warm compress on your stomach for 15 minutes.
This can provide relief from nausea and pain.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Keep yourself hydrated. Try to get at least six glasses of water a day. If plain water doesn’t work, try fruit juices or mild soups.
- Try to avoid caffeine as much as possible. It has a dehydrating effect on your body, which can make nausea worse.
- Try to get eight hours of sleep every day. This is especially important for pregnant women and chemotherapy patients.
- Avoid alcohol and beverages like cola. They will worsen any gastric conditions.
- Avoid foods that are high in fats and oils. This includes pork, bacon, dairy, and other greasy non-vegetarian dishes (40).
- Go easy on the spices, as they can cause severe irritation to an already-inflamed stomach lining.
- Avoid hot food, as, in some instances, the smell of food can increase nausea. It is better to eat food at room temperature, or cold if that works best.
- Do not eat heavy meals. Try to consume in small quantities, evenly spaced through the day for easier digestion.
- For morning sickness, try to start your day with some dry crackers. Or you can also try getting some protein into your stomach before going to bed. Lean meats or a little cheese works best.
- Try to sit in cool environments, and avoid hot, smelly areas as much as possible.
Nausea can be an incredibly harmless side effect of some hard partying, or the symptom of a life-threatening condition.
Or it could be anything in between.
So you need to be cautious when dealing with nausea.
If you know the cause, you can try these home remedies without fear or worry.
This is applicable in the case of pregnant women, and special cases like chemotherapy.
But if you don’t know the cause, and your nausea and vomiting last for more than a day, you should seek medical attention without delay.
The same is also recommended for recurring nausea without any known cause.
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Thanks for stopping by, and hope this article answered all your questions on how to treat nausea.
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