Nausea refers to feelings of nausea – often with an urge to vomit. Symptoms of nausea include sweating, salivation in the mouth, tiredness, and loss of appetite.
While it’s commonly associated with acid reflux and overeating, nausea can also occur during pregnancy, with motion sickness, or as a side effect of other medical disorders or more common illnesses.
There are many nausea medications that can help with severe or persistent nausea. But if your nausea is mild or occasional, there are also a number of effective home remedies that can help relieve your symptoms naturally.
1. Use ginger
Ginger is an effective remedy for nausea, says Dr. Daniel Devine, internist and geriatrician at Devine Concierge Medicine, a primary care practice in Philadelphia.
That’s because ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can aid digestion, and its compounds are also said to speed up the process of moving stomach contents into the small intestine, which can reduce symptoms of nausea.
A 2014 analysis of six different studies examining the use of ginger during pregnancy, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, found that consuming about one gram of ginger once a day for at least five days reduced symptoms of nausea and Vomiting decreased in early pregnancy. Studies have also shown that ginger can be effective in treating nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients.
Ginger can be taken as a supplement and sold as capsules. You can also add whole pieces of fresh ginger to your tea, or include it in your food as a condiment or condiment.
2. Try peppermint
Peppermint has long been considered a traditional nausea remedy, although the scientific evidence of its effectiveness isn’t as robust as it is for ginger, says Devine. Still, many people swear by its calming properties.
The main ingredient in peppermint, menthol, is said to relax the stomach, which can help relieve cramps and nausea.
A small 2014 study published in the Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing suggested that even the scent of peppermint oil can help relieve nausea. However, more research is needed to determine if it is an effective remedy.
However, if you experience both nausea and vomiting, peppermint may not be very effective because it is mainly used to treat nausea, not vomiting.
If you want to try peppermint, you can buy it as a tea or diffuse peppermint essential oil for aromatherapy by adding two to three drops of peppermint oil to a diffuser filled with water.
3. Eat smaller, mild meals
Eating too much can cause nausea, says Devine. This is because when you overeat, the stomach becomes stretched, causing gas, heartburn, and excessive digestive movement – all of which can lead to nausea.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals and consuming a mild diet without strong flavors can help reduce episodes of nausea, Devine says. Boring foods are easy to digest and can help calm your stomach.
Some of the mild foods that can help with nausea include:
- White bread or toast
- Simple chicken
- Apple sauce
- Salt crackers
If you feel uncomfortable, avoid spicy foods and acidic drinks like soda, juice, or alcohol – all of these can worsen symptoms of nausea. You may even want to try the BRAT diet when you feel nauseous.
4. Stay hydrated
It can be difficult to eat or drink anything – including water – when you feel sick. But according to Devine, dehydration will only make your nausea worse.
This can be especially important if you feel nauseous from extreme heat or humidity. In fact, nausea and vomiting are some of the main symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Overheating causes your blood vessels to dilate when your body tries to cool down – and this change in blood pressure can manifest as nausea or dizziness. However, if you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, you can cool off and return to a normal body temperature.
If drinking water is a challenge for you when you feel sick, consider sipping small sips throughout the day or trying a calming drink like warm mint tea.
For more information, read on how much water to drink each day to stay hydrated.
5. Sit up straight or lie down with your head supported
If you feel uncomfortable, you might be tempted to lie down, but that’s actually not the best idea. Lying flat when you feel sick could lead to vomiting, Devine says.
“It’s important to use gravity to your advantage and keep your head above your stomach,” says Devine.
When you stay upright, gravity helps keep stomach contents down. Sitting in an upright position – or lying with your head on a couple of pillows – is the best option when looking to relieve nausea.
6. Practice acupressure
Acupressure is an alternative medical practice that involves putting pressure on specific areas of the body called meridians. The idea is that by applying pressure to these areas, you are sending a message to the body to activate its self-healing mechanisms which can relieve pain or nausea.
A 2006 review of more than 40 studies published in the journal Autonomic Neuroscience found that acupressure can relieve some symptoms of nausea.
One of the main pressure points for nausea is the 6 pericardium, or neiguan, which is located near your wrist. This pressure point is believed to relieve nausea as the meridian path of this point is up the arm, into the chest and upper abdomen near the stomach.
To locate P6 and use this pressure point:
Find P6 under your wrist.
Crystal Cox / Insider
- To access the P6 point, extend your arm with your palm facing up. From your opposite hand, place three fingers (pointer, center, and ring) directly under your wrist.
- Place your thumb in the spot just below your index finger. If you can feel two large tendons or bumps on your skin, you have identified the P6 point.
- Once you find P6, slowly apply pressure on this point with your opposite thumb.
- Press firmly on the tip for two to three minutes while moving your thumb in a small circle. Don’t press so hard that you feel a lot of pain, but you should feel a dull ache.
- Repeat on the other wrist.
For more information, see these other pressure points for nausea.
When to see a doctor
If nausea is associated with frequent episodes of vomiting, chest pain, or dark stools or vomiting, you should see your doctor, Devine says. And if the nausea lasts for more than a few days, or if the symptoms worsen quickly, it could also be a sign that something more serious is going on.
For example, conditions like pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, or even a heart attack can cause nausea and require medical attention.
Some people are also more prone to nausea due to certain conditions. These include:
The final result
Nausea can feel uncomfortable, but is generally very manageable with the right approach. If you can’t get rid of nausea with these natural home remedies, contact your doctor who can work with you to create a treatment plan.