Have you ever experienced nausea or discomfort in the stomach while on a bumpy flight or a long car trip? This condition is referred as motion sickness or kinetosis. It can result from any form of repeated motion in the body.
Motion sickness is caused when there is a miscommunication between the eyes and the ears, both end up sending different signals to the brain. Its symptoms include nausea, dizziness, breaking into sudden cold sweats or severe headaches. (1)
While doctors may prescribe anti-histamines and anti-emetics to relieve the symptoms of motion sickness, these medications are usually accompanied with undesirable side effects like constipation, drowsiness or palpitations. (2) Hence, it is better to go with safer and more effective natural remedies which can help combat this problem.
A natural remedy that is very effective in treating or preventing motion sickness is ginger – the herbaceous, perennial rhizome that is widely used as a spice in modern times.
What Makes Ginger Effective in Motion Sickness?
- Gingerols along with shogoals present in ginger help to reduce nausea by inhibiting the chemoreceptor trigger zone that initiates vomiting. (3)
- It slows down intestinal spasms in the digestive system and is used in alleviating symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
- Ginger affects the parasympathetic system of the body and can stimulate salivary secretions. The variety of digestive enzymes secreted as a result of it act in neutralizing the acid content of the stomach, to prevent acid reflux and ensuing nausea.
- Ginger acts as a more effective anti-emetic than other over-the-counter (OTC) nausea medications. (4)
- It is an effective natural aid for digestion and relaxes the smooth muscles lining the intestines to enable food to move along smoothly in the digestive tract, thus helping patients of stomach ache or severe motion sickness. (5)
- It reduces the damage that is caused by free radicals and removes the products produced in the oxidative processes in the intestine, which most commonly causes nausea, vomiting and other symptoms of motion sickness.
Research on Ginger and its Effects on Motion Sickness:
As per a study conducted by Department of Internal Medicine, Taiwan – 13 volunteers with a history of motion sickness underwent the examination during which nausea and other recordings were analyzed with and without ginger. As per this study, it is concluded that ginger reduced nausea, recover time from motion sickness and gastric activity. (6)
How to Use Ginger in Motion Sickness?
There are different ways of using ginger that are helpful in combating motion sickness. You can choose any one as per your convenience and try it as needed.
Note: If you are going on a longer trip then it is better to start ginger remedies at least 24 – 48 hours prior to be on safe side. Additionally, carry ginger (in any form) on you journey to overcome any unexpected motion sickness.
1. Raw Ginger Root
Ingesting raw ginger root is one of the cheapest and simplest ways to get rid of motion sickness.
- Take enough amounts of ginger root.
- Wash it thoroughly under running water and peel it.
- Chop it into fine pieces/slivers.
- Store in a small box to chew on, while on your journey.
2. Ginger Tea
Apart from helping to cope with motion sickness, ginger tea has a multitude of other benefits too.
- Wash, peel and cut fresh ginger root into slivers.
- Place these in a teapot and add boiling water to it.
- Let it stand for about 10-15 minutes before drinking. Or else, you can add some lemon juice, refrigerate it and drink.
- Drink this tea on your journey or before to get relief from the motion sickness.
3. Ginger Extract/Juice
Ginger juice can also be used to treat motion sickness. Instead of purchasing bottled ginger juices from the store, it is better to make it at home by following the below process.
- Take enough amounts of raw ginger and chop it into smaller pieces.
- Using a mixer/blender/juicer, blend the ginger pieces to make juice.
- Add the resulting ginger concentrate to a bottle which can be stored in the refrigerator and used multiple times.
- Add 1 teaspoon of ginger extract to a glass of lukewarm water and drink it to reduce nausea or other discomforts caused by motion sickness.
- Those who don’t like the ginger taste can add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to 1 teaspoon of ginger juice and drink it before starting a journey.
4. Powdered Ginger
If fresh ginger isn’t available then dry ginger powder can also be used to treat motion sickness. Below is the process of using ginger powder…
- Add half a teaspoon of powdered ginger to a glass of water.
- Stir it well. Drink about half an hour before a journey.
- Follow this method before starting your journey.
Note: You could also use apple or orange juice instead of water.
5. Ginger Candy
Sucking or chewing a candy can be a very effective way to keep nausea at bay. The process enables the salivary glands to produce saliva at a steady rate which neutralizes the acid content of the stomach and reduces nausea as well as vomiting. Here is a simple recipe for preparing homemade ginger candies:
- Wash, peel and chop 1 pound of fresh ginger into fairly thin slices.
- Add these slices to a saucepan of water and bring it to a boil.
- Allow it to simmer on a low flame for 30-40 minutes, till the ginger turns translucent.
- Drain off the resulting liquid (keep aside as it will be used in further steps) and weigh the amount of resulting ginger.
- Add an equal amount of sugar to the ginger in the saucepan.
- Add the drained off water that was kept aside so that the sugar and ginger mixture is fully covered. (remaining ginger liquid can be preserved and used as ginger tea)
- Let the mixture come to a boil.
- Stir frequently at regular intervals so that the sugar dissolves. Do this on a low flame for 20-25 minutes.
- Once the mixture assumes a fairly dry texture (crystallizes), turn off the heat and lay the resulting crystals out on a wax paper to dry.
- Once dry and cool, the ginger candy is ready to be stored in an air-tight container and carried along on long journeys.
Note: Crystallized ginger candies are easily available in stores. They are tastier as compared to chewing raw ginger.
6. Ginger Ale/Ginger Beer
Ginger ale is known to slow down intestinal spasms of the gastrointestinal tract and reduce nausea. Ginger beer is quite similar to ginger ale, with a stronger aftertaste of ginger. Here’s a simple way to whip up a quick drink that would do away with your motion sickness blues:
- Add 3 cups of water, 2 inch minced ginger root, ½ cup of sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of molasses (optional) to a saucepan.
- Bring it to a boil.
- Simmer for about 5 minutes until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove from heat and add some extra water to the mixture.
- Allow it to stand until it attains room temperature.
- Add ½ cup fresh lemon or lime juice and ½ cup homemade ginger bug (made from fresh ginger root and sugar).
- Stir it well and transfer into a 2 quart glass mason jar which has tight lid.
- Seal the lid and leave for 2-3 days to let it carbonate. Later it will be refrigerated to last indefinitely.
- It is better to watch this particular step carefully. Using whey helps to ferment very quickly in less time. The fermented product should bubble or make hiss sound when the lid is opened. This depends on the temperature, so the mixture may need to be stirred or burped during the fermentation time over the counter.
- Fermenting a drink is like an art than a science because it entirely depends on the culture strength, sugar used and temperature of the house. So, it is better to keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t become too carbonated. This may sometimes cause pressure and lead to explosion of jar.
- Strain the mixture and transfer it into glass bottles before refrigerating them.
- Before drinking, it is important to strain it.
Note: Since ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink, make sure you open the stored bottle at least once a day to let out excess carbonation. Also, remember to shake out the excess gas first before drinking on your journey.
7. Ginger Biscuits/Cookies
Ideal for those who aren’t very fond of the ginger-like taste, ginger biscuits/cookies are chewy and can help in cases of motion sickness as well. The recipe is pretty simple too.
- In a glass bowl, add 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, 4 ½ cups flour, 4 teaspoons ground ginger and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Whisk them all together.
- Now beat butter in another bowl till it takes on a creamy texture.
- Add 2 cups of sugar and 2 eggs, beating well after each addition.
- Once uniformly mixed, add ½ cup of molasses.
- Add flour mixture from the first step to the butter mixture in the second step.
- Roll the dough into roughly 2.5 inch balls.
- Add some sugar to a separate bowl.
- Roll the dough balls into the sugar to sugarcoat them before baking.
- Place them a safe distance apart on a baking sheet.
- Bake in an oven preheated to about 170-180 degrees C for 15 minutes.
- Spread out on a wire rack to cool. The ideal ginger cookies should be light brown and puffed.
8. Ginger with Black Horehound and Chamomile
Black horehound (Ballota nigra) is a perennial herb containing volatile oils that is used to treat stomach ailments and symptoms of motion sickness. Chamomile is another effective herb for treating stomach cramps, colic as well as digestive upsets and nausea due to nervousness or anxiety.
- Add 2 tablespoons of grated ginger to 1 tablespoon each of black horehound and chamomile.
- Add the mixture to 2 cups of water.
- Stir well.
- Boil till the water reduces to half of its volume.
- Strain the tea.
- Allow it to stand for a while to cool.
- Drink about half an hour before starting your journey.
9. Ginger Essential Oil Diffuser
Ginger essential oil is also helpful to alleviate the nausea and other discomforts caused by motion sickness.
- Into a small glass bottle, add equal amounts of ginger essential oil, petitgrain, dill, roman chamomile, and spearmint.
- Mix well and store it in a dark place.
- Before starting the journey, combine 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and 10 – 15 drops of the essential oil mixture.
- Soak diffuser pads in the mixture for couple of hours.
- Store them in a glass jar and use them as needed along the journey.
Ginger Capsules For Motion Sickness
Ginger in a tablet or capsule form is very effective in tackling the symptoms of motion sickness while traveling. Make sure you buy capsules that solely contain ginger without any other additive herbs. Also, double check the ingredients to ensure it doesn’t contain anything you are allergic to. It should be taken at least 30 minutes before the motion sickness starts.
The University of Maryland medical center advices to take 250 mg of ginger 3 times a day or as needed for motion sickness. Don’t exceed this dose unless and until your doctor or pharmacist advised to do so.
Note: Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking ginger pills. Consult your health care practitioner if you’re pregnant, a nursing women or if the treatment is for a child.
Best Ginger Supplements For Motion Sickness
Tips & Precautions
- In addition to taking ginger in a suitable combination to reduce motion sickness during a journey, here are some additional tips which may be useful:
- If traveling in a car, try sitting in the front instead of the back and focus your eyes directly at the horizon to trick your brain into believing that you are not moving.
- Try having the window open (a source of fresh air) while traveling in a vehicle if you are prone to motion sickness.
- An empty stomach will aggravate motion sickness and the sensation of nausea. Make sure you never travel on an empty stomach and always keep a couple of healthy snacks or nuts at hand for your journey.
- Take deep breaths and suck hard on a peppermint candy; it will help lessen the bouts of nausea.
FAQ’s for Ginger Usage in Motion Sickness
1. Is it safe for pregnant women and young kids to use ginger in the above mentioned amounts to combat motion sickness?
Though ginger is a natural remedy to combat motion sickness, pregnant or lactating women and children below the age of three years are advised to consult their doctor before self-prescribing ginger doses for themselves.
2. Is it safe for heart patients to consume ginger if they suffer from motion sickness?
Heart patients and others suffering from similar ailments are sometimes on prescribed medication such as blood-thinners like aspirin. In such cases, excessive consumption of ginger can lead to unexpected bleeding. It is best to consult a doctor in this regard before self-prescribing.
3. My journey ended almost 24 hours ago, but I’m still feeling nauseated in spite of chewing on ginger tablets on my journey. What’s wrong?
Generally, the symptoms of motion sickness go away once the cause (motion) stops. In case of extended trips, the uneasy feeling may take 48-72 hours to subside. If it doesn’t, it is best to consult a doctor for the same.
4. Ginger capsules don’t seem to suit my gastrointestinal tract. What can I take as a substitute to help with my motion sickness problem?
You could try enteric-coated ginger capsules; they delay the herb’s digestion until it reaches the digestive tract. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, you could also take 1 gram of fresh ginger per day in any form of your choice (raw or in combination) for up to four days to reduce nausea and vomiting.
5. What Kind of Ginger is Effective for Motion Sickness?
Ginger can be either taken in raw, powder, candied, capsules of tea form. All these forms are equally effective in treating motion sickness. You can choose any one as per your preference.
Did this article help to make your journey nausea-free? Which remedial combination of ginger helped you best in getting rid of motion sickness? Share your experiences and suggestions below. We would love to hear from you.