Motion sickness affects approximately 20% of people worldwide, causing fear and discomfort during long car rides, flights, and boat trips. This can prevent people from enjoying vacations or performing daily activities. However, natural remedies can help prevent or alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness. To combat this condition, there are six natural treatments and seven additional tips that can be effective in reducing the feelings of nausea and dizziness associated with motion sickness.
What IS motion sickness?
Symptoms of motion sickness can occur as soon as the vehicle begins moving and can persist for several minutes after the motion stops. If we look a bit deeper and try to explain the nature of motion sickness and the reason why it attacks us, we can say that it occurs when there is a condition in the body that contradicts itself in terms of the input of our senses. If, for example, you are riding in the back seat of the car, the parts of the inner ear responsible for balance feel movement. However, this is not necessarily what is picked up by the sense of sight, when there is a seat or a tablet screen in front of you, for example. This lack of coordination between the two senses causes motion sickness due to the strange effect experienced by the balance system.
Recently, the opposite has developed among some people, where they experience the so-called “digital travel sickness.” In such a case, when staring at a smartphone, tablet, television screen, or cinema screen, without being in a moving vehicle, the eyes experience a shift while the inner ear has no evidence of this. The condition can also cause nausea, vertigo or even vomiting.
6 natural remedies to treat motion sickness
1. Eat ginger
To prevent motion sickness, ginger is a great natural remedy because it has infection-fighting benefits, can lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease, and even help prevent cancer. Ginger can also be effective for those who get nauseous on roller coasters. Consuming 250 mg ginger capsules three times a day before the trip is recommended, but candied or pickled ginger can also be eaten.
2. Eat mint
Mint is another helpful remedy for nausea, and it can alleviate symptoms regardless of the cause. Drinking mint tea or taking 2-3 mint capsules a day during travel is suggested.
3. Consume vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 consumption can also help alleviate motion sickness. Prior to embarking on a trip via flight or cruise, it is important to consume a minimum of 100 mg of vitamin B6 twice daily, along with vitamin B6-rich foods such as certain breakfast cereals, sprouted wheat grains, beet leaves, cabbage, bananas, wheat bran, salmon, and beef. If motion sickness persists, snacking on pistachios, walnuts, or sunflower seeds can help alleviate symptoms due to their high levels of vitamin B6.
4. Smell essential oils
To distract from the sensation of movement and reduce motion sickness symptoms, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests using essential oils such as peppermint or lavender.
5. Consume licorice root
In 2012, a study revealed that consuming licorice in chewable tablet form can effectively alleviate symptoms of motion sickness, particularly digestive issues like vomiting and nausea. It is advisable to take the tablets and not the candy form of licorice when you begin feeling unwell on your journey.
6. Drink chamomile tea
Another helpful remedy is chamomile tea, which can quickly relieve motion sickness symptoms and reduce nausea. You can prepare the tea before your trip and even drink it cold later on, as long as you consume the beneficial properties of the plant.
7 tips to prevent the onset of motion sickness
1. Look towards the horizon when driving or sailing. If you are a passenger, look out the window or go in the front and look at the horizon from there.
2. Moving air helps a lot. Cold air is best, and you can use the AC in a car or bus, or a window if you don’t have that option. On a ship, going outside in the open air will also help calm nausea.
3. If you can’t get air on you, pack a small battery-powered fan with you for just such an event.
4. While on a ship, if being in the air doesn’t help, sit on the floor or go as low as possible. Research has shown that you will feel less movement that way.
5. Avoid your smartphone and any other reading while you are moving. This includes reading signs, car plates, and anything else that makes you read or stick to unmoving images for too long.
6. Before boarding a ship, airplane, or car, have a light meal that doesn’t leave you dizzy with hunger but isn’t too fatty or acidic.
7. If you’re experiencing ‘digital motion sickness’ by staring at a screen in front of you for too long, try to focus on an object that seems stationary about 10-12 feet (3-4 meters) away from you (such as a car driving next or ahead of you or just any point on a plane or ship).