Sometimes you can predict it, and sometimes you can’t. Whether or not you see it coming, nausea and vomiting is never pleasant.
Here are some effective home remedies for preventing regurgitation:
1. Stick to clear liquids.
If your stomach is upset, it probably doesn’t need the additional burden of digesting food. Stick to fluids until you feel a little better and have stopped vomiting. Clear, room-temperature liquids, such as water or diluted noncitrus fruit juices, are easier to digest, and they are also necessary to prevent the dehydration that may result from vomiting or diarrhea.
Let it run its course. The best cure for the 24-hour “stomach flu” (it isn’t truly “the flu” — or influenza — which is an upper respiratory infection caused by specific microorganisms) is bed rest mixed with a tincture of time, doctors agree. The more rest you get, the more energy your body will have to devote to fighting the invader.
2. Hit the bed.
Rest is often the best cure for whatever’s causing your nausea or vomiting.
3. Don’t drink alcohol.
As anyone who has suffered a hangover knows, alcohol can be very irritating to the stomach. If you already have an upset stomach, now is certainly not the time to imbibe. (And if your current stomach upset is the result of drinking alcohol, forget the old saw about having “a hair of the dog that bit you”; more alcohol will only make you sicker.) The same goes for fatty foods, highly seasoned foods, beverages containing caffeine, and cigarettes.
4. Let it flow.
The worst thing you can do for vomiting is to fight it, because vomiting is your body’s way of getting rid of something that is causing harm in your stomach. Trying to hold back the urge can actually cause tears in your esophagus.
5. Think pink.
OTC stomach medications that contain bismuth, such as Pepto Bismol, claim to coat the stomach and may help relieve some of the discomfort you feel. Avoid Alka-Seltzer and other aspirin-containing products, however, because aspirin can irritate the stomach.
6. Try a cold compress.
A cold compress on your head can be very comforting when you are vomiting. It won’t stop you from spewing, but it may help you feel a little better.
7. Maintain your electrolyte balance.
Along with replacing the fluids you lose through vomiting, it is also important to maintain the balance of sodium and potassium (the electrolytes) in your system. If you are unable to keep down food for more than a day or so, have a sports drink, such as Gatorade, which is easy on the stomach and designed to replace electrolytes. Try diluting it with water if drinking it straight bothers your stomach.
Certain foods and spices in your kitchen can help cut down on nausea and vomiting too. Go to the next page to read about these natural home remedies.
If nausea and vomiting are persistent, here are several home remedies from the kitchen to put them in their place:
Home Remedies from the Refrigerator
1. Cranberry juice.
Avoiding solid food for a day is sometimes recommended when you’re nauseated and vomiting, but don’t give up the fluids. Drink cranberry juice during your fast. It’s generally easy on your digestive tract.
2. Lemon juice.
Mix together 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. And this cure comes with a folk-ish instruction: Dip your finger into the mix and lick it off so that you take it in slowly.
3. Lime juice.
For an immediate nausea/vomiting stopper, mix 1 cup water, 10 drops lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Then add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and drink.
Don’t drink it straight. Instead, try this vintage milk toast recipe for a bland food that’s easy to eat when combating nausea and vomiting. Heat 1 cup milk until hot but not boiling. Put it in a bowl. Then take 1 piece of toast, slightly buttered, and crumble it into the milk. Eat slowly.
Juice an onion to make 1 teaspoon. Mix with 1 teaspoon grated ginger and take for nausea.
Home Remedies from the Spice Rack
This helps cure nausea and vomiting. Brew aniseed into a tea by putting 1/4 teaspoon in 1/2 cup boiling water. Steep for five minutes. Strain and drink once a day. Or sprinkle some aniseed on mild vegetables such as carrots or pumpkin. If your stomach will tolerate fruits during or just after a bout of nausea or vomiting, try aniseed on baked apples or pears.
Steep 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder in 1 cup boiling water, strain, and sip for nausea. Do not try this remedy if you’re pregnant.
This makes a nice nausea-fighting tea. Brew a cup using 1 teaspoon clove powder in a teacup full of boiling water. Strain out any clove that might be remaining, and drink as needed.
Steep a tea with 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and a pinch of nutmeg to soothe tummy troubles.
Crush 1 tablespoon seeds and steep for ten minutes in 1 cup boiling water. Sweeten to taste with honey. Sip as necessary for nausea.
Without a doubt, ginger is the best stomach woe cure. Taken in any form, it will relieve nausea. Try ginger tea, gingerbread, or gingersnaps. If you’re traveling, take along ginger sticks or crystallized ginger instead of travel sickness pills or patches. Studies show ginger to be more effective than the potion you purchase at the pharmacy. Skip the ginger ales, though, unless they have real ginger content. Much of today’s ginger ale is absent its curative ginger.
Mint tea relieves nausea. Simply steep about 1 tablespoon dry leaves in 1 pint hot water for 30 minutes; strain and drink. Don’t toss out those mint leaves when you drink the tea. Instead, eat them. Eating boiled mint leaves can cure nausea, too.
Home Remedies from the Cupboard
Sometimes the smell of vomit can cause additional vomiting, or continued nausea. After you vomit, rinse the remaining particles out of your mouth with 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup vinegar in a 4-ounce glass. The stomach acids in vomit can be harsh on tooth enamel. Just rinse, don’t gargle. This freshens your breath, too.
With these home remedies, you’ve now got some great tools to prevent and stop nausea and vomiting. Once you’ve got your nausea under control, you’ll be able to start eating, drinking and recovering.