6 natural remedies for nausea

2nd December, 2020 • 6 min read

Nausea describes a feeling that you might be sick. It can be an unpleasant sensation, sometimes felt in your throat and upper tummy (abdomen).

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Many things can cause nausea, including:

  • a headache (migraine)
  • food poisoning
  • being pregnant
  • being on moving transport (motion sickness)
  • some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy

There are a range of things you can try at home that may help your nausea. So why not take a look in your kitchen cupboards or give the other natural remedies described below a go to help ease your symptoms.

Here are 6 natural remedies that may ease nausea.

1. Ginger for nausea

Ginger has long been known for its medicinal value, especially as a remedy for nausea and improving digestion. Evidence suggests that ginger is effective in helping nausea.

For example, studies show that taking ginger to ease symptoms of morning sickness in people who are pregnant may be effective, but you should speak to a doctor before taking this if you’re pregnant. Ginger has also been shown to be effective at relieving symptoms of nausea caused by chemotherapy.

If you’d like to try ginger to see if it helps, you could try ginger tea or adding fresh ginger to hot water. You could also add ginger in other forms - such as pickled, preserved or powdered - to food, if you feel like eating. Alternatively, you could eat a ginger biscuit.

2. Peppermint for nausea

If you have peppermint at home, you might like to try it to see if it helps relieve your nausea.

Peppermint may help to calm the stomach, and is often used to treat nausea and vomiting. It’s also often used to help with digestive problems.

Peppermint has been shown to be effective at reducing nausea in people undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer. In 1 study, giving spearmint and peppermint tablets (capsules) containing essential oil to people about to undergo chemotherapy helped reduce nausea.

Another study found that peppermint oil, when inhaled, helped reduce nausea in people who had recently had heart surgery. However, it’s not yet clear how safe it is to consume peppermint oil, such as when taking tablets that contain it, and results are mixed as to how effective it is at relieving nausea. The use of peppermint oil has also been known to cause allergic reactions, while taking peppermint tablets can cause a range of side effects, including nausea.

If you’d like to try peppermint oil to see if it helps you, try adding a few drops to hot water and inhaling it. This is generally considered safe and has been shown to help ease symptoms of nausea in some people.

3. Lemons for nausea

Studies show that inhaling the scent of lemon (aromatherapy) can be effective at relieving nausea in people who are pregnant.

Citric acid is present in most citrus fruits, including lemons. This acid is thought to neutralise other acids in the stomach, helping to ease digestion and settle your tummy.

If you’d like to try lemon to see if it helps, you could add a few drops of lemon oil to hot water and inhale it (be guided by any instructions) or simply add a slice of lemon to water, herbal tea or a cordial drink. You can also squeeze some of the juice into your drinks.

4. Cinnamon bark

Cinnamon bark comes from the cinnamon tree, and it’s often recommended as a treatment for nausea during chemotherapy. As with ginger, cinnamon has been shown to help relax the muscles, settle the stomach and aid digestion.

If you have cinnamon sticks at home, you could infuse a little in water to create cinnamon tea to see if this helps your nausea.

5. Relaxation techniques

Research shows some relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery, can be helpful in reducing nausea, especially in people having chemotherapy.

Progressive muscle relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing certain muscles then relaxing them so you become more aware of how your body feels when your muscles are tense or more relaxed.

It may be especially useful in preventing and easing symptoms of nausea in people having chemotherapy, according to a recent study.

Guided imagery

You could also try guided imagery to see if it helps relieve your nausea. To do this:

  1. Sit somewhere comfortable and close your eyes.
  2. Take deep, slow breaths and focus on your breathing.
  3. Now imagine being in a place that helps you feel calm. This could be by the sea, in woodland or anywhere you like to be.
  4. Try to visualise this place, and consider the sights, smells and sounds there.
  5. Do this for around 5 minutes or until you feel more relaxed.

Controlled breathing

If you have nausea, some studies suggest controlled breathing can also help relieve symptoms.

One study that looked at the effect of controlled breathing on people who had nausea following an operation found it to be effective at relieving nausea symptoms in over 62% of cases.

Try these

breathing exercises
to see if they help.

6. Dietary changes

If you have nausea, small changes to your diet can also help.

Cold drinks such as ginger ale or a flavoured cordial may help relieve your nausea as they leave a pleasing taste in your mouth and can be refreshing.

Try to avoid cooking any strong-smelling, greasy or spicy foods as this may make your symptoms worse. Instead, if you feel like eating a little, snack on a ginger biscuit, fruit or yoghurt. Anything cold or room temperature is unlikely to smell strongly and anything that’s more bland in taste is less likely to upset your tummy.

Find out more about

foods that can help to relieve nausea

Key points

  • nausea is feeling sick. It can be caused by many things, such as being pregnant, a migraine headache, food poisoning or having chemotherapy
  • there are different natural remedies you can try to help ease nausea
  • evidence suggests ginger is effective in helping relieve nausea, especially in people having chemotherapy treatment
  • you could also try peppermint oil or cinnamon bark to see if they help your nausea
  • certain relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery, may help in preventing and treating nausea

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.