Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nausea Home Remedies

Nausea can have many causes , from morning sickness or food poisoning to motion sickness, over-eating or even hangover (not that any of my patients would ever have that problem). And, when you are feeling sick, over-the-counter medications or prescriptions can be too strong or have side-effects that make you feel worse (constipation, headache, muscle spasm). So, here are a couple tips for mild relief of the unpleasant symptoms of a sick stomach.

1. Ginger tea, or Ginger Beer. Fresh ginger can be great for calming the stomach and eliminating gas pains. Fresh ginger is less “hot” to your system than the dried variety, and is preferred for this use. Just take a couple of slices of ginger root and soak in hot (not quite boiling) water for 5 to 10 minutes, and then drink as a tea. In Chinese Medicine, Ginger Root (Sheng Jiang) is said to warm the Stomach and Spleen, clear the head and prevent sea sickness. Some people use small slices of ginger externally for motion sickness (taped below the ear, or to the wrist). Ginger Ale or (nonalcoholic) Ginger Beer is the remedy I grew up with, and it can work well, if you aren’t concerned about the high levels of sugar found in most commercial brands.

2. Mint and Ginger Tea. Ginger and Mint are a nice combination; Ginger is very warm and Mint is cooling. This balance can be very soothing to the body and help ease conflicting symptoms which are common with stomach upset – feeling overheated or sweaty one moment and chilled the next. In Chinese, Mint is known as Bo He (peppermint), and is used in many formulas for mild illnesses such as colds, headaches, and upset stomach. It is an important addition when headache is a feature of the illness.

3. Orange Peel. Interestingly enough, tea made from dried Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) is quite strong for treating bloating and a feeling of stagnation in the bowels. It gently increases smooth muscle contractions in the intestines. This is a great choice when over-eating (just after a big Thanksgiving meal, for instance) is the problem. Other citrus peels have a similar effect though they may not act as strongly.

4. Cardamom Seeds. Called Sha Ren in Chinese medicine, this spice is used to stop vomiting and diarrhea and is specifically mentioned for use in morning sickness. Crush one teaspoon of the seeds and soak in hot water for 2-4 minutes and then drink as a tea. It is the volatile oils that are useful, so don’t boil the herb or steep for too long a time.

There are many other herbs used for the treatment of digestive illness, but I picked these because they are remedies found in most kitchen cupboards. If you are interested in a more formal herbal approach to this problem, the traditional patent formula for treating stomach upset is called Pill Curing. The version I use in my clinic is Quiet Digestion from Health Concerns. It is based on the Pill Curing formula and Bao He Wan (a traditional formula for indigestion). This formula can produce amazing results in 10 to 15 minutes in many situations, especially nervous stomach, chronic stomach distress, hangover, over-eating, mild stomach virus. Many of my Irritable Bowel Syndrome patients find it extremely helpful in controlling and eliminating symptoms with regular use. This is a great formula to keep in your cupboard for emergencies.

Byron Russell

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