Nausea is the feeling of an upset stomach that often results in vomiting. Nausea in itself is not a condition, but is caused by an underlying condition, such as food poisoning, gastroenteritis or car sickness. Nausea can also be caused by sensitivity to certain drugs (this is why many drugs don’t make it to market), concussion, the flu, chemotherapy, anesthesia, over-eating, diabetes, strenuous exercise, migraine, excess alcohol intake, anxiety.
Nausea leads to an urge to vomit, a process by which the (perceived) toxin is eliminated from our body. Prolonged vomiting can be hazardous to our health, because it can result in dehydration and loss of electrolytes.
The feeling of nausea can be extremely uncomfortable. In most cases, vomiting can bring relief, but nausea does not always lead to vomiting or you may still feel nauseous after you vomit. There are (prescription-based) treatments for nausea (antiemetics) that are often used for extreme cases of nausea and vomiting. However, there are a few natural ways that people can use to relieve nausea:
- Fructose: Fructose (as found in high fructose corn syrup) seems to have a calming effect on an upset stomach. Fructose is found in over-the-counter treatments such as emetrol or you may drink a “flat” cola. Beware that fructose cannot be used if you have a fructose intollerance
- Ginger: Ginger (Zingiber officinale) root has been used for centuries to treat upset stomach. You may use the fresh herb or drink a ginger ale
- Peppermint: Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is another herb that has long been used to treat nausea. Peppermint is believed to reduce nausea, indigestion and colonic spasms by reducing the “gastrocolic reflex”
Ensiyeh, J. and Sakineh, M.A. (2008) Comparing ginger and vitamin B6 for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Midwifery (epub).
Apariman, S., Ratchanon, S. and Wiriyasirivej, B. (2006) Effectiveness of ginger for prevention of nausea and vomiting after gynecological laparoscopy. J Med Assoc Thai 89:2003-9.
Spirling, L.I. and Daniels, I.R. (2001) Botanical perspectives on health peppermint: more than just an after-dinner mint. J R Soc Health 121: 62-3.