Nausea can hit you for a wide variety of reasons, but as soon as that queasy feeling kicks in, there's probably just one thing on your mind: How do you make nausea go away?
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It might be from something you ate or a side effect of pregnancy, motion sickness or chemotherapy. Whatever the case, ID'ing what's causing your nausea can help you find the right treatment for it — and help you avoid it in the future, Christopher R. D'Adamo, PhD, director of research at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
If you're asking yourself how you can stop feeling sick naturally, you're going to be turning to home remedies for nausea and upset stomach. And there are quite a few non-medication options to try.
Just keep in mind that these natural remedies may work for some people but not others, so it's important to try a variety and keep what works for you. You might also want to combine a few approaches so you're tackling your nausea from all different angles, D'Adamo says.
Here are 15 natural ways to stop nausea fast, whether you're sick to your stomach from eating, motion sickness, pregnancy, illness or chemotherapy:
1. Slow Your Breathing
One of the best home remedies for nausea during pregnancy is practicing diaphragmatic (deep) breathing. D'Adamo recommends inhaling slowly for five seconds through your nose, then exhaling slowly for five seconds through your mouth.
Mouth breathing can send a panic feeling through your body that can make nausea worse, while inhaling through the nose quiets those anxiety signals, he explains.
This can also work as a home remedy for nausea and chills. Often, you might treat chills by reaching for a medication like ibuprofen, but D'Adamo points out that these can be tough on an already upset stomach. Try controlled breathing first to calm your whole system.
2. Eat Ginger
Research shows that ginger can help relieve vomiting and nausea during pregnancy and chemotherapy, according to a January 2017 review in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. It can also help if you're sick with an illness like the flu, per the Cleveland Clinic.
In a meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials of more than 1,200 pregnant people, ginger was found to be effective in lessening nausea, as well as both safe and free of side effects, per March 2014 results in Nutrition Journal.
For chemotherapy, it appears that ginger root compounds called gingerol and shogaol interact with certain pathways that, among other things, affect GI function and reduce inflammation.
Depending on how much you like ginger, you can eat it, drink it in tea or take a capsule.
3. Sip Soothing Drinks
Ginger tea is a good drink for nausea, D'Adamo says. Just avoid overly sugary sources of ginger like ginger ale, which can make nausea worse, he warns.
Peppermint tea or capsules can likewise help with nausea because of the mint's muscle-relaxing effects, which may help calm your digestive tract and relieve gas pain, indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome, according to Mount Sinai.
Clear or ice-cold carbonated beverages — like seltzer water or decaffeinated, sugar-free sodas — are also some of the best drinks for nausea, per the Mayo Clinic. However, skip the fizzy drinks if you're bloated in addition to nauseous, as they can make bloating worse, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Baking soda can also soothe nausea because it works as an antacid to neutralize a sour stomach, according to the Mayo Clinic. For adults, dissolve 1 to 2.5 teaspoons into a cup of water, mix until completely dissolved and then drink your fizzy liquid slowly.
Drinking a baking soda solution when you're nauseous may not be the best option if you have high blood pressure or heart, liver or kidney disease, per the Mayo Clinic. It may also not mix well with certain cancer and other medications, so check with your doctor before trying the drink.
You should also avoid peppermint if you have acid reflux, as it may worsen your symptoms, per Mount Sinai. Talk to your doctor before trying a capsule — especially if you're pregnant — to make sure it's safe for you.
4. Sniff Some Peppermint
"With nausea, especially from pregnancy or chemotherapy, there's often fatigue that comes along with it," D'Adamo says.
That's why some people turn to aromatherapy — specifically, smelling peppermint oil — for nausea and fatigue, per the Cleveland Clinic. But because breathing in the scent can be energizing, it's one of those natural nausea remedies that's best tried during the day and avoided at night.
5. Snack on Protein
Good options include:
- Nuts and nut butters like almonds, cashews and peanut butter
- Chicken breast
- Milk or fortified non-dairy milks if you're lactose intolerant, like soy or almond milk
Can Almond Milk Make You Sick?
Almonds and related products like almond milk or extract can make you sick if you have a food intolerance or allergy, per the Mayo Clinic. That's because food allergies can trigger your immune system to produce high levels of histamines, which can cause symptoms like upset stomach, itching or trouble breathing. So if almond milk makes you nauseous, it may be best to sip a nut-free drink like oat milk instead.
For others, it helps to eat almonds or drink almond milk for nausea from pregnancy, a hangover or even after the flu because these foods are bland and high in protein, which can help nourish you without further irritating your stomach, according to the Mayo Clinic.
6. Eat Cold Foods Like Yogurt
So, what can you eat to make nausea go away? Well, when you have diarrhea or vomiting — and the nausea that can come with it — the answer used to be bananas, rice, applesauce and dry toast, aka the BRAT diet. However, that's no longer recommended because it generally doesn't provide enough calories or nutrients (especially if you're pregnant).
It can be hard to eat when you're nauseous but hungry because the smell of food may turn your stomach. In that case, try going for cold foods, which have less of an aroma than warm or hot grub, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
For instance, try making a smoothie filled with frozen fruit, veggies and a protein-rich base like Greek yogurt, which is good for an upset stomach.
As a bonus, the probiotics in yogurt support healthy digestion to potentially help you avoid nausea and upset stomach down the road, per Harvard Health Publishing. Just be sure to pick a variety that's free of added sugars and artificial sweeteners.
But if you feel nauseous after eating yogurt (like if you're lactose intolerant), skip it.
7. Try Acupressure
Using pressure points for nausea is one of the easiest home remedies to try and comes with zero side effects, D'Adamo says.
You're looking for the P-6 point, which is on your inner arm near your wrist. To locate it, hold out your arm with the palm up and measure three finger widths (that's your ring, middle and index finger) below the wrist crease, per Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Place your thumb just below your index finger, between the two large tendons.
Press down on this point with your thumb for 30 seconds to one minute, D'Adamo advises, then switch wrists. For an even bigger benefit, he says to combine this acupressure with deep breathing.
While D'Adamo says he prefers to do acupressure by hand because it gives you more control over the pressure, there are also numerous acupressure wrist bands out there that target the P-6 area that can work for some people.
One randomized controlled study including just shy of 100 people recovering from gynecologic surgery found that wristband acupressure helped control nausea and vomiting, per December 2018 research in the Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing.
8. Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a technique where you slowly activate and release different muscle groups in your body. (For example, start by clenching and releasing your toes, working your way up your legs and all the way to your head.) This is another body-calming technique to keep in your toolbox for help with nausea.
A randomized controlled trial of 208 chemotherapy patients found that using a combination of guided imagery and PMR reduced a variety of treatment symptoms (including nausea and vomiting) more effectively compared to a control group, per June 2016 research in PLOS One.
9. Consider Vitamin B6
If you're pregnant and experiencing nausea, your health care provider may suggest taking over-the-counter vitamin B6 to quell morning sickness, per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
This supplement is considered safe during pregnancy, but make sure to discuss it first with your ob-gyn. Why? The FDA does not require supplements to be proven safe or effective before they are sold, so there's no guarantee that any supplement you take is safe, contains the ingredients it says it does or produces the effects it claims.
Nausea After Eating
10. Go for a Walk
Feeling nauseous after eating? Take a short, gentle walk, D'Adamo recommends.
Physical activity increases peristalsis, which is the movement of intestinal muscles that helps with digestion, he says. There are likely calming benefits to being out in the fresh air, too.
11. Sit Upright
Lying down after eating can also stymie the digestive process and contribute to nausea, D'Adamo says. This can be a common problem after dinner, especially if you eat your final meal too close to bedtime.
If you tend to watch TV after dinner, avoid sprawling out on the couch. And try to separate dinner and bedtime by a few hours to decrease your risk for acid reflux that can contribute to nausea.
12. Eat Slowly
Feel yourself shoveling bite after bite? Eating too fast could land you with an upset stomach.
"Not chewing your food thoroughly can contribute to digestive issues that can include nausea," D'Adamo says.
The same goes for drinking too fast, per the Cleveland Clinic. Slow down by putting your utensils or cup down between bites and sips, he suggests.
Nausea From Motion Sickness
13. Look at the Horizon
Motion sickness from riding in a car, train, bus or boat is a common cause of nausea. If getting off at the next stop isn't an option, you can stop nausea fast by looking into the distance, according to University of Michigan Health.
In other words, stop looking at your phone or reading, which can bring on and exacerbate nausea symptoms when you're in motion. Instead, train your eyes on something unmoving and farther away.
14. Face Forward
Here's how to get rid of nausea on public transportation: If you're sitting backward on a train or bus, turn around to ride forward for quick relief, D'Adamo says.
15. Suck On Hard Candy
Ginger and peppermint candies are good options to help with nausea from motion sickness, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
However, it's best to pick low-sugar sweets to avoid further agitating your carsick stomach.
When to See a Doctor About Nausea
You should seek medical attention if your nausea comes with any of the following symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Chest pain
- Severe headache
- Vomit that contains blood, is green, looks like coffee grounds or has a fecal odor
- Severe cramping or abdominal pain
- High fever and stiff neck
- Blurry vision
- Rectal bleeding
- Signs of dehydration, such as excessive thirst, dry mouth and feeling dizzy, weak or lightheaded
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: “Ginger-Mechanism of action in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: A review.”
- Nutrition Journal: “A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect and safety of ginger in the treatment of pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting.”
- Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing: “The Effect of Neiguan Point (P6) Acupressure With Wristband on Postoperative Nausea, Vomiting, and Comfort Level: A Randomized Controlled Study.”
- PLOS One: “Guided Imagery and Progressive Muscle Relaxation as a Cluster of Symptoms Management Intervention in Patients Receiving Chemotherapy: A Randomized Control Trial.”
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy.”
- Cleveland Clinic: “Nausea & Vomiting”
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: "Acupressure for Nausea and Vomiting"
- Cleveland Clinic: "The Best Teas to Drink for Your Health"
- Mayo Clinic: "Nausea and Vomiting"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Ginger Ale and Saltine Crackers? 5 Ways to Ease Stomach Pain and Nausea"
- Mayo Clinic: "Sodium Bicarbonate (Oral Route, Intravenous Route, Subcutaneous Route)"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Herbal Supplements"
- Mount Sinai: "Peppermint Information"
- FDA: "FDA 101: Dietary Supplements"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Motion Sickness"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Health benefits of taking probiotics"
- Wexner Medical Center: "The nutrition cheat sheet for morning sickness"
- University of Michigan Health: "Motion Sickness"
- Mayo Clinic: "Food allergy vs. food intolerance: What's the difference?"
- Mayo Clinic: "Nausea and Vomiting: When to See a Doctor"