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Remedy for Motion Sickness

Updated on April 21, 2011

If you have ever felt the dizzy, unconnected feeling of motion sickness, you know how easily it can ruin a trip.  Whether you are traveling by car, boat, or plane, you probably don’t care why you are feeling miserable, you just want to feel better.

Motion sickness starts in your ears.  That’s because they are your body’s center of balance.  Inside your ears there are thousands of tiny nerve endings filled with fluid.  The fluid supports tiny pebbles, one in each nerve ending, and when your body moves, the pebbles move with it.  The motion of these pebbles sends messages to your brain, telling it what your body is doing, whether you are sitting, standing, or in motion.  When this mechanism is not working right, your brain receives confused or incorrect messages from the nerve centers in your ears, and this confusion can cause nausea.

These mismatched signals can result from an ear infection; ear damage; or from drastic, unusual motion.  Sometimes, if your eyes are focused on something moving, like a wave, your body is moving differently or not at all.  Like on deck, your brain receives two sets of conflicting messages.  Your eyes tell your brain the world is moving, but your ears tell your brain you are standing still.

While it is not known why some people suffer from motion sickness and others don’t it is clear that several factors, including nutritional deficiencies, can lead to ear damage, which can impair the balancing function of the ear.

The following vitamins and minerals can help keep your inner ear in top shape and help fight motion sickness.

Vitamin D and calcium are important to inner ear health.  Not only is vitamin D important by itself, a lack of vitamin D can lead to a calcium deficiency.  One of the best sources of vitamin D is fortified milk, and it is also a great source of calcium.  Other good sources of vitamin D include eggs, green leafy vegetables, and fortified cereals.  For a nondairy source of calcium, try some peanuts or broccoli.

Magnesium deficiency is linked to hearing loss.  Squash, potatoes, skim milk, and oatmeal are all good ways to boost your intake of magnesium.  Magnesium supplements are available at most drug-stores, and they are often combined with calcium.

Zinc is another important nutrient that many older people do not seem to get enough of.  Some studies suggest this may contribute to the ear damage and hearing loss that frequently occurs in older people.  Zinc is abundant in meats, shellfish, and poultry.  You can also get it from legumes, such as black beans and whole grains.  Do not take zinc supplements without checking with your doctor.  Zinc supplements can cause serious side effects in high doses.

What causes motion sickness?


Kitchen Spice That Soothes Stomach

Ginger has been used for thousands of years to treat everything from constipation to impotence.  However, numerous recent studies prove that ginger is an effective remedy for the symptoms of motion sickness.  When taken a half hour before traveling, ginger can prevent the nausea that comes from rocking boats or swerving cars.

In one test, powdered ginger was tested directly against Dramamine, an over-the-counter motion sickness drug.  The people who took ginger lasted, on average, almost twice as long in a rotating chair as those who took the drug.  In fact, half of the people treated with ginger did not experience motion sickness at all.

Ginger doesn’t affect your inner ear, and it doesn’t work on your central nervous system.  Rather, it works in your gastrointestinal tract to soothe the vomiting reflex and reduce the feeling of nausea.

You can buy ginger at any supermarket or health food store.  You will find it in its natural form or as a pill or a powder.  A typical capsule, containing 500 mg of ginger, should usually be enough to head off your weak stomach.  Some herbal experts recommend taking one or two tablets 30 minutes before your activity, then repeat as symptoms develop.

Candied ginger is a tasty way to enjoy ginger’s benefits.  This sugary treat can be found at many oriental markets.  A one-inch square of the crystallized snack equals the amount of ginger in one 500 mg tablet.

If you are still not sure about this natural remedy, try a variation that could very well be in your refrigerator right now.  That’s right.. ginger ale has been used for years to calm hostile stomachs and tame nausea.


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