If you’re the type of person who turns green just looking at a boat, try these natural remedies for motion sickness.
Motion sickness is a common condition affecting approximately one in three people. (1) However, under the right circumstances, everyone can experience motion sickness. For those who are prone to feeling motion sick more frequently, there are ways to naturally address it. But first, let’s understand why it happens in the first place.
Why We Get Motion Sickness
The feeling of motion sickness is caused by a disturbance with the inner ear which controls the body’s sense of balance. When there is an imbalance in the inner ear, it sends messages to the brain that cause an overload of conflicting information: Your ears are sending one message, your eyes are sending another message, and the rest of your body might be sending additional data.
The brain gets an onslaught of info about the motion that it’s feeling or sensing, but might not be able to visually match it up. The result is motion sickness. It’s also possible to develop motion sickness while you’re stationary, like when playing a virtual reality game or at an IMAX theater.
10 Symptoms of Motion Sickness
Most people think that motion sickness is just feeling nauseated and dizzy, but the symptoms often go beyond that. (2) If you’re feeling motion sickness, you’re likely to experience any of the following:
- Nausea and upset stomach
- Drowsy feelings
- Sweating or cold sweats
- Sensitivity to smells
- Lack of appetite
Motion sickness can happen in anyone, but it is most common in children, women of reproductive age, and those who are prone to getting migraines. (3)
Conventional treatments for motion sickness involve antihistamines, like Dramamine and Benadryl, or patches that can be applied for up to three days at a time. The downside is that antihistamines often cause more drowsiness, and the patch medication may not be appropriate for many people depending on health conditions. If you’re pregnant, none of these treatments are typically recommended.
Natural Remedies for Motion Sickness
Here are easy and natural ways to relieve a bout of motion sickness. Make sure you plan ahead and prepare these remedies you can take on the go!
If you’re feeling queasy, reach for some ginger to help settle the stomach and relieve motion sickness. The good thing about ginger is that it can address motion sickness that has already started, but you can also take it proactively to help reduce the onset of symptoms. (4) Enjoy ginger as a lozenge, take it as a capsule, or even bring your own ginger tea bag on the plane and ask the flight attendant for a cup of hot water.
Chamomile is great for upset stomachs and it can provide some relief for motion sickness too. (5) Because it’s not so easy to brew a cup of tea on the spot, consider taking your own portable thermos of hot tea with you if you know that you’re prone to symptoms of nausea and other motion-related issues. Like ginger tea, you can also bring a few tea bags of chamomile and prepare it while on a flight or on a train.
Whether eaten or inhaled, peppermint has a calming effect on nausea. Try keeping some organic peppermint candies on hand, like these, which have worked well for me over several years of pregnancy and motion sickness. (6) You can also make your own mini roller for easy application to your forehead, neck, and temples to help relieve symptoms. (7) Simply combine two drops of peppermint essential oil with two drops of lavender essential oil and a tablespoon of carrier oil, like coconut, to a dropper or roller and keep it in your pocket for quick, natural motion sickness relief.
- Look at the horizon, not moving cars or waves: Motion sickness gets worsened by the sensation that everything around you is moving. To combat this, focus your eyes on something that doesn’t appear to be in motion, like the horizon. While you’re focusing on something stable, take a few deep breaths to help combat nausea and dizzy feelings. Try standing, if possible, as sitting can sometimes worsen symptoms.
- Don’t read: If you’re in a car, an airplane, or any other surface that’s moving and you’re reading, put it away. That includes your smartphone!
- Close your eyes: If all else fails, close your eyes and continue breathing deeply. While this isn’t an ideal way to travel, if your symptoms come on strong and you want to stop the cascade of nausea and dizziness, this can help to provide a momentary reset for your equilibrium.
- Drink lots of water. Dehydration can worsen the symptoms of motion sickness, so stay well hydrated to help lessen motion sickness severity. (8)
- Get lots of rest. Sleep deprivation can worsen symptoms of motion sickness, so get adequate sleep before a trip. (9)
(Read This Next: A Traveler’s Guide to Staying Paleo on The Road & In The Air)