Nausea: Natural Treatments
By Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Needing to throw up probably ranks as one of the worst feelings we experience in life. Nausea is not a disease itself but a symptom of many medical conditions, some related to the nervous system and others to the stomach and digestive tract. Nausea is also commonly experienced as a side effect of many drugs, including chemotherapy medications. Morning sickness is a common symptom of pregnancy. Prolonged nausea, if accompanied by vomiting, can cause rapid dehydration, which depletes the body of vital electrolytes and should be addressed immediately. Most cases of nausea are either due to a stomach flu, food poisoning, or motion sickness.
In Chinese medicine, the energies of the body have a specific rhythm and flow. The stomach energy normally flows downward; when it fails to flow in the proper direction and reverses upward, you experience nausea and vomiting. Treating the stomach and digestive tract is key to symptomatic relief, but to resolve the condition the underlying cause must be addressed. Acupuncture is one of the most effective drug-free therapies, and the National Institutes of Health recognizes the efficacy of acupuncture for treating nausea. Diet and herbal therapy can also play an important role in the treatment of nausea.
I’ve treated many patients for nausea caused by stomach flu, migraine headaches, and the side effects of chemotherapy. Success rests on calming the rebellious energy and harmonizing the stomach with acupuncture and Herbal Therapy.
Related conditions: dizziness, flu, indigestion, migraine headache
Here are some of my favorite home remedies for nausea. If you experience continuous vomiting or unexplained nausea, consult your physician or go to the emergency room immediately.
ACUPRESSURE FOR NAUSEA
- Use the acupressure point above the wrist: find the acupoint Inner Gate (P-6), three finger-widths above the wrist crease, between the two tendons on the inside of the left forearm. Apply moderate pressure with your right thumb. Hold for 5 minutes. Repeat on the right arm.
HOME REMEDIES FOR NAUSEA
- Make a ginger tea by slicing fresh ginger into 2-inch-long slices and boiling it in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Strain, and sip the tea slowly. Drink the tea as often as you need to keep the nausea away. You can sweeten the tea with honey if you find the ginger too spicy.
- Make cinnamon and clove tea by adding 2 cinnamon sticks and 1 teaspoon of ground cloves to 3 cups of water and boiling for 15 minutes. Strain, and drink 3 cups a day. This tea is great in the evenings, as it warms you from the inside and can give you a good night’s sleep.
- For morning sickness, have soda crackers ready on your nightstand and eat some upon waking in the morning before getting out of bed to soak up excess stomach acid and help keep nausea to a minimum.
- Slowly sip plain sparkling mineral water or soda water to settle your stomach.
- Put 5 drops of peppermint oil in a pot of hot water. Place a towel over your head and the pot, and breathe deeply to calm and settle your stomach.
HERBAL THERAPY FOR NAUSEA
Herbs can be found in health food or vitamin stores, online, and at the offices of Chinese medicine practitioners. Herbs should be used according to individual needs; consult with a licensed practitioner for a customized formulation.
- Chamomile and ginger are good remedies for morning sickness. As a tea they can help calm the stomach and reduce nausea and vomiting symptoms. Ginger can also be taken in capsule form.
- Traditional Chinese herbs for treating nausea include Chinese basil, ginger, giant hyssop, cardamom, bamboo, fermented soybean, and licorice.
- Make a tea from tarragon and peppermint and sip as a beverage throughout the day.
DIET FOR NAUSEA
- Food plays a key role in digestive system balance. Ginger tops the list of foods to consume for relief of nausea.
- Stick with clear liquids and avoid heavy and rich foods.
- Eat wholesome foods containing no preservatives or additives and that have not been sprayed with pesticides.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently.
- Favor papayas and pineapples, as they contain bromelain, a digestive enzyme that can help counter indigestion. 
- Eat more yams, potatoes, brown rice, oats, pearl barley, sweet rice, daikon radish, basil, parsley, sage, black sesame seeds, and apples. 
- Drink water – at least six 8-ounce glasses a day at room temperature.
- Sucking on an ice cube can give temporary relief from nausea.
- Do not overeat.
- Avoid spicy foods.
- Avoid dairy products because they are hard to digest.
- Avoid greasy and fried foods – foods high in saturated fats can distress the stomach and digestive system.
DAILY VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS FOR NAUSEA
- Vitamin B6 (50 milligrams) can help alleviate nausea, including morning sickness.
- Vitamin K (200 milligrams) plus vitamin C (1,000 milligrams) can help subdue nausea. (Note that vitamin K can interact with blood-thinning medications- consult your physician.)
- L-methionine (500 milligrams three times a day) can help prevent nausea.
MEDITATION EXERCISE FOR NAUSEA
The following is a meditation exercise to help treat nausea. You can do it either standing or sitting. If your nausea gets worse, keep your eyes open during the exercise and concentrate on an object in front of you.
- Stand or sit with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent slightly, spine erect, and arms hanging at your sides. Tilt your head slightly forward. Breathe slowly and deliberately.
- Inhale, and gently raise your arms straight up above your head, with your palms facing the ground.
- Exhale, and lower your hands as though you were pushing down a large helium-filled balloon.
- Repeat the movement 20 times, then place your hands two finger-widths below the navel, with one hand on top of the other, and rub your abdomen in a circular, clockwise motion for 7 rotations.
- Vigorously swish around any saliva that has gathered in your mouth. Swallow intently, visualizing the saliva going directly down to your lower abdomen.
NAUSEA: WHAT TO AVOID
- Many prescription and over-the-counter medications that cause nausea, in particular ibuprofen-containing medications such as Advil and Albuterol, and many antibiotics. Check with your doctor.
- Smoking and alcohol, as they irritate the stomach lining and can cause nausea.
- Overeating and lying down immediately after eating, which can cause nausea.
- Eating rich sauces and heavy foods can also contribute to nausea.
- Habek, D., et al. 2004. Success of acupuncture and acupressure of the P 6 acupoint in the treatment of hyperemesis gravid arum. Forscho Komplement. Klass. Naturheilkd. (1):20-23.
- Johnson, J. A., PhD. Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy. Paln1 Desert, CA: International Institute of Medical Qi Gong, 2000.
- Ni, M. Self Healing Qi Gong Video. Los Angeles: Seven Star, 1992.
- Ni, M., and C. McNease. The Tao of Nutrition. Los Angeles: Seven Star, 1987.
- Pitchford, P. Healing with Whole Foods. 3rd ed. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2002.
©2015 Dr. Mao Shing Ni
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