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Motion Sickness (Holistic)

About This Condition

Riding in a car along curvy roads or traveling by boat can trigger nausea and spoil the trip. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • 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

About This Condition

Motion sickness is nausea, vomiting, and related symptoms caused by repetitive angular and linear acceleration and deceleration.

Symptoms

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.

Holistic Options

: 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.

Supplements

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Supplement Why
3 Stars
Ginger
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

1 Star
Black Horehound
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.

References

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, et al. Ginger root against seasickness. Acta Otolaryngol 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, et al. The anti-motion sickness mechanism of ginger. Acta Otolaryngol 1989;108:168–74.

12. Grontved A, Hentzer E. Vertigo-reducing effect of ginger root. ORL 1986;48:282.

13. Hoffmann D. The Herbal Handbook: A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism. Rochester, New York: Healing Arts Press, 1998, 29.

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