Home Remedies for Motion Sickness

by Sam Malone

Motion sickness has no pathological basis and is based entirely on reflex mechanisms. Over the years, many different substances have been prescribed for motion sickness like gin, brandy, champagne, belladonna, lime, ginger, honey, etc. While some people feel motion sickness only in ships and boats, others can feel miserable in a car, airplane, etc. It is believed that one third of people suffer motion sickness either in cars, trains, ships, airplanes, or rides.

Early research has shown that this reflex reaction of motion sickness arises in the vestibular apparatus of the ear. The wave that is set in the ear carries through in the nerves and spreads across the body due to the motion; this finally results in nausea and vomiting. While mild motion sickness will lead to only nausea, severe cases result in actual vomiting.

Movements of the eye muscles or muscles that support the body can also aggravate motion sickness. Research has found it difficult to comprehend the effects of this, but habituation to motion sickness alters the responses and is modified by the activities of the brain. For example, a person who gets sea sick can feel better if he/she is habituated; slowly lessening the intensity of their response to motion sickness can be used as a cure. However, this often works only for one type of movement, for instance, if a person gets accustomed to large ships, he/she may still find it difficult to travel in smaller boats and airplanes.


The symptoms of motion sickness are as follows:
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pale skin 
  • Headaches
Diarrhea and sweating are not in themselves a result of motion sickness but can be due to nervous excitation.

Home Remedies

Home remedies for motion sickness have been prevalent for centuries. Some of the common ones still in use are as follows.
  • Ginger has been used as an effective home remedy for motion sickness by the Chinese. Ginger can be taken as tea, ginger candy or fresh root, capsules or tincture to prevent and relieve motion sickness. Ginger taken half an hour before traveling will help prevent motion sickness.
  • Another home remedy for motion sickness is taking olives as it contains tannin, which keeps nausea at bay. It can be taken as soon as you begin to feel the symptoms.
  • Sucking on a slice of lemon can also keep motion sickness at bay.

Sea sickness

Sea sickness can be triggered due to the rocking motion of the ship. The smaller the vessel, the more intense is the rocking. Some simple tips for sea sickness are as follows.
  • The simplest and best remedy for sea sickness is fresh air. Staying out on the deck as opposed to inside a cabin helps to prevent nausea.
  • Relax yourself as it relieves most of the problems such as stress and anxiety that only aggravate the symptoms.
  • Find a place where the movement is less, depending on the waves and the speed of the boat or ship.
  • Lying down also helps in keeping sea sickness at bay.
  • Focusing on a point in the horizon helps keep the mind off the nauseous feeling.
  • It is important to stay well hydrated by drinking water or juices, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Keep your stomach full, but do not eat oily and spicy foods.

Air sickness

  • Sit at the wings of the airplane as that would provide more stability during the flight.
  • Try not to read books or watch something at close range, but look to distant objects; this helps keep the sensory parts at a lower ebb.
  • Eat dry crackers or olives or lemons as this helps in keeping nausea and vomiting under control.
There are certain medications given for air and sea sickness such as meclozine, promethazine, or hyoscine hydrobromide. While all of these are effective, they are known to have side effects such as dry mouth, etc. Do not take any medication without the advice of a doctor.

  1. EM Glaser, Prevention and treatment for Motion sickness, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1959

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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