Motion Sickness (Holistic)Skip to the navigation
About This Condition
Enjoy some ginger
Help prevent motion sickness or reduce its severity by taking 1 gram of encapsulated ginger root powder one hour before travel and again every two to four hours as needed
Get back to basics
Reduce your risks of motion sickness by getting plenty of fresh air, closing your eyes, and avoiding alcohol
About This Condition
Motion sickness is nausea, vomiting, and related symptoms caused by repetitive angular and linear acceleration and deceleration.
Motion sickness is characterized by cycles of nausea and vomiting. These episodes may be preceded by yawning, salivation, pallor, cold sweat, and sleepiness. Dizziness, headache, fatigue, and general discomfort are also common. Once nausea and vomiting develop, a person with motion sickness is typically weak and unable to concentrate.
: Acupuncture, acupressure, and electroacupuncture to specific points have been found to successfully prevent and treat motion sickness in some,1 , 2 , 3 but not all, 4 , 5 clinical trials.
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Adults: 500 mg one hour before travel and then 500 mg every two to four hours as necessary; children: 250 mg (half dose)
Ginger may help prevent and treat mild to moderate cases of motion sickness. Studies have shown it to be as effective as dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) but with fewer side effects.
Ginger may be useful for the prevention and treatment of mild to moderate cases of motion sickness. A double-blind trial examined the effects of ginger supplements in people who were susceptible to motion sickness. Researchers found that those taking 940 mg of powdered ginger in capsules experienced less motion sickness than those who took dimenhydrinate (Dramamine).6 Another double-blind trial reported that 1 gram of powdered ginger root, compared with placebo, lessened seasickness by 38% and vomiting by 72% in a group of naval cadets sailing in heavy seas.7 Two clinical trials, one with adults and one with children, found that ginger was as effective in treating seasickness as dimenhydrinate but with fewer side effects.8 , 9 In one controlled trial, though, neither powdered ginger (500 to 1,000 mg) nor fresh ginger (1,000 mg) provided any protection against motion sickness.10 Doctors prescribing ginger for motion sickness recommend 500 mg one hour before travel and then 500 mg every two to four hours as necessary. The study with children used one-half the adult amount.
Ginger’s beneficial effect on motion sickness appears to be related to its action on the gastrointestinal tract rather than on the central nervous system.11 , 12
Refer to label instructions
Black horehound is sometimes used by herbalists to treat nausea associated with motion sickness.
Black horehound (Ballotta nigra, Marrubium nigrum) is sometimes used by herbalists to treat nausea associated with motion sickness.13 However, there are no clinical trials to confirm its effectiveness for treating this condition.
1. Bertolucci LE, DiDario B. Efficacy of a portable acustimulation device in controlling seasickness. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1995;66:1155-8.
2. Hu S, Stritzel R, Chandler A, Stern RM. P6 acupressure reduces symptoms of vection-induced motion sickness. Aviat Space Environ Med 1995;66:631-4.
3. Hu S, Stern RM, Koch KL. Electrical acustimulation relieves vection-induced motion sickness. Gastroenterology 1992;102:1854-8.
4. Warwick-Evans LA, Masters IJ, Redstone SB. A double-blind placebo controlled evaluation of acupressure in the treatment of motion sickness. Aviat Space Environ Med 1991;62:776-8.
5. Bruce DG, Golding JF, Hockenhull N, Pethybridge RJ. Acupressure and motion sickness. Aviat Space Environ Med 1990;61:361-5.
6. Mowrey DB, Clayson DE. Motion sickness, ginger, and psychophysics. Lancet 1982;1:655-7.
7. Grontved A, Brask T, Kambskard J, Hentzer E. Ginger root against sea sickness. A controlled trial in the open sea. Acta Otolarygol 1988;105:45-9.
8. Ribenfeld D, Borzone L. Randomized double-blind study comparing ginger (Zintona®) with dimenhydrinate in motion sickness. Healthnotes Rev Complementary Integrative Med 1999;6:98-101.
9. Careddu P. Motion sickness in children: results of a double-blind study with ginger (Zintona®) and dimenhydrinate. Healthnotes Rev Complementary Integrative Med 1999;6:102-7.
10. Stewart JJ, Wood MJ, Wood CD, Mims ME. Effects of ginger on motion sickness susceptibility and gastric function. Pharmacology 1991;42:111-20.
11. Holtmann S, Clarke AH, Scherer H, Hohn M. The anti-motion sickness mechanism of ginger. A comparative study with placebo and dimenhydrinate. Acta Otolaryngol (Stockh) 1989;108:168-74.
12. Grontved A, Hentzer E. Vertigo-reducing effect of ginger root. A controlled clinical study. ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec 1986;48:282-6.
13. Hoffmann D. The Herbal Handbook: A User's Guide to Medical Herbalism. Rochester, New York: Healing Arts Press, 1998, 29.
Last Review: 01-20-2015
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2016.