6 Natural Remedies to Relieve Nausea
"Nausea is a symptom, and you can't treat symptoms effectively unless you know the basis for the symptom," says Steven Lamm, MD, author of No Guts, No Glory (Basic Health Publications). Common causes include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis, and mal-digestion.
Since nausea is felt in the gut, you may think that the gut is responsible, but that's not necessarily true, says Dr. Lamm. Sometimes it comes from being anxious, experiencing motion sickness, as part of a migraine headache, or the result of a medication that you're taking. It can also be due to heart, liver, or kidney problems.
Oftentimes, it is the result of some sort of digestive ailment. But there are a myriad of reasons why people get nauseated, and it's a mistake to just treat the symptoms.
However, says Lamm, there are certain well-known natural substances that are very helpful in relieving nausea.
Dr. Lamm's favorites are ginger and peppermint oil. Both have been proven to be beneficial at reducing nausea symptoms. What's more, they are available in many forms. For instance, ginger is available in root form and can be found in tea, capsules, candy, and even soda (but drink soda flat—see below). Peppermint oil is also widely available as a tea, and can be found in enteric-coated capsules. Peppermint is not recommended if you have GERD since the herb may worsen heartburn symptoms.
You probably know that probiotics contain gut-friendly bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These organisms are naturally found in dairy products such as yogurt with active cultures and kefir and in fermented foods such as pickles and sauerkraut. But Dr. Lamm says you'll get more bang for your buck if you get a good probiotic supplement. Available in liquid or capsule form, you can find probiotics at your local health food store.
If you're nausea is due to mal-digestion or an irregular functioning gut and colon, then you should take some digestive enzymes along with probiotics. Digestive enzymes will boost your ability to break down food. Lamm recommends Digest Gold from Enzymedica, but there are a variety of enzyme supplements on the market. That said, it's smart to discuss with your doctor to find a supplement that's right for you.
Natural OTC Acid Reducers
If your nausea is due to gastritis, Dr. Lamm says there are some natural acid reducers that you can use. One to try: Acid Soothe. "It contains marshmallow root, papaya leaves, and more," says Lamm. "I love it for acid indigestion." Also, look for DGL (deglycerrhizinated licorice). The herbal extract, along with slippery elm and marshmallow root, has been shown to help heal the stomach's lining.
"The only time I recommend soda is for nausea," says Lamm. One caveat: The carbonation in soda may upset your stomach even more, so let it de-fizz before you sip. And, while a can of cola may help, why not go for a one-two punch and reach for a ginger ale? Experts at the Cleveland Clinic agree. They say drinking clear, sweetened liquids such as soda pop, fruit juices (except orange and grapefruit because these are too acidic) and popsicles may quell nausea and prevent vomiting.
Studies have shown that acupressure may alleviate nausea from motion sickness, chemotherapy, and morning sickness. You can find bracelets that stimulate the P6 acupressure point, but it's easy enough to try on your own. Here's how: Use your thumb to gently, yet firmly, press between the two tendons on the inside of your opposite wrist, about two to three finger widths from the wrist crease. Make small, circular motions on this point for a few minutes. Release, then repeat a few times. By stimulating this point, you'll send signals to the brain to release neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, or endorphins, to calm the central nervous system.
Steven Lamm, M.D., "house doctor" on ABC's The View and author of No Guts, No Glory (Basic Health Publications, 2012)
Diseases & Conditions: Nausea and Vomiting. Cleveland Clinic. Web. 2009
Wrist Acupuncture of Acupressure Prevents Nausea From Anesthesia, Review Finds. ScienceDaily. Web. 2009.
Weil. Andrew Weil, MD. Q&A Library. Q: Always Nauseated?
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