Are you tired of feeling nauseous and unable to enjoy your day? Whether it's due to motion sickness, morning sickness, or another underlying condition, nausea can put a damper on your mood and leave you feeling miserable. Fortunately, there's a natural and effective solution that you might not have considered yet: essential oils. These powerful plant extracts have been used for centuries to alleviate a variety of ailments, including nausea and vomiting.
We’re going to explore what’s causing your nausea, how essential oils can help treat it, and which oils are the best for the job. From refreshing lemon to calming lavender and invigorating peppermint, we'll introduce you to the best essential oils for nausea, ones that will calm your stomach & lift your spirit. Plus, we'll show you how to use them through diffusers, steam inhalation, bottle inhalation, and topical application. Get ready to say goodbye to nausea and hello to natural, holistic healing with essential oils.
Nausea: What is it and what’s causing it?
Nausea is that sick feeling in your stomach that makes you feel like you’re about to vomit. It’s generally caused by motion sickness, anxiety, migraines, certain medications, and unpleasant smells. It’s also a common symptom that pregnant mothers experience, as well as those undergoing chemotherapy or surgeries involving anaesthesia. These cause chemical imbalances in the digestive system, which triggers brain signals that result in the nauseous feeling.
How do essential oils help treat nausea?
Essential oils are natural oils that come from plants, like lavender, peppermint, and lemon. They're made by extracting the oils from the plant using a process called distillation. Then, they’re bottled for use in aromatherapy to treat anxiety, chronic pain, hair & skin conditions, and more.
They’re also an effective way to get rid of nausea. They help calm the stomach and weaken the resulting brain signals with their anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic (prevents muscle spasms), antioxidant, and antiemetic (anti-nausea) properties. But they don’t just work to reduce the nauseous feeling, they prevent it at the source. When inhaled or applied topically, they help treat anxiety, manage motion & seasickness, and mask unpleasant smells, keeping you from ever feeling unwell.
There are over 100 oils, all of which serve a different purpose. But if you want to treat chronic nausea or relieve an acute episode, these are the 8 best essential oils for nausea and vomiting.
8 Essential oils for nausea and vomiting
Lemon essential oil (Citrus limonum) is one of the most effective anti-nausea oils, primarily due to its strong, refreshing aroma. Its healing properties help reduce both inflammation and oxidative stress in your body, eliminating that queasy feeling. And once it’s gone, it won’t come back – lemon oil relaxes your gut to re-balance the digestive system.
For those who constantly struggle with nausea caused by digestive issues, lemon essential oil will help you balance your gut and prevent this recurring uneasiness. It’s also effective at alleviating nausea & vomiting of pregnancy (NVP); and it’s 100% safe for pregnant mothers. For maximum effectiveness, inhale the oil directly from the bottle or add a few drops to your aromatherapy diffuser.
Fennel essential oil (Foeniculum vulgare) is a natural digestive aid that’s used to treat a number of disorders, including digestive-induced nausea. It works by easing stomach discomfort and improving digestion, especially issues like bloating, gas, or constipation.
The anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties help ease stomach discomfort, quickly ridding you of the feeling. For general digestive discomfort, fennel essential oil is commonly used as a laxative and to resolve acid reflux and indigestion.
Cardamom essential oil (Elettaria cardamomum) helps relieve digestive issues, stopping nausea before it ever happens. The refreshing aroma possesses anti-inflammatory properties and “significant antibacterial activity,” which ease stomach discomfort, prevent diarrhoea, and promote overall healthy digestion.
And similar to lemon oil, cardamom oil relaxes the body & mind, reducing anxiety-induced nausea. This is beneficial for people who experience postoperative nausea, a common complication of anaesthesia.
Lavender essential oil (Lavandula) is one of the most popular aromatherapy oils, and for good reason. Just one of its many benefits, lavender helps calm and relax every major bodily system. It also has anti-inflammatory & antispasmodic properties that calm your digestive system, much like the other oils.
And when compared to lorazepam, it was found to be more effective at reducing generalised anxiety orders in adults. Lorazepam is one of the most common prescription-anxiety medications; unfortunately, nausea is a common side effect. If your anxiety medicine is making you feel sick day after day, lavender oil may be a suitable alternative. Make sure to consult with your doctor before making the change.
Peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) is another potent essential oil with antispasmodic and notable antiemetic properties. The cooling scent relaxes gastric muscles, settling the stomach from triggering your queasiness. It also helps treat digestive-related issues like bloating, gas, or acid reflux. In a 2012 scientific review, researchers cited 5 articles that suggest the inhalation of peppermint essential oil reduces both the frequency & severity of nausea and vomiting, and subsequently, overall patient satisfaction.
Lemongrass oil (Cymbopogon flexuosus) soothes the stomach and treats gastric ulcers, a common cause of nausea & vomiting. It works by reducing inflammation and discomfort in the digestive tract, promoting relaxation and eliminating nauseous symptoms.
Additionally, lemongrass essential oil promotes mental clarity and reduces stress & anxiety, reducing the likelihood of the uneasy feeling in the first place.
Chamomile (Chamomile recutita) is one of the most relaxing natural oils, often used at night because of its mild sedative effect. But if you experience nausea as a result of anxiety, its mild sedative effect simultaneously reduces anxiety while combating the nauseous symptoms. But it does more than just that; the sedative effect protects you from uneasiness caused by digestive issues and motion sickness as well. It’s valued as a digestive relaxant and used to treat gastrointestinal conditions like gas & indigestion.
Mix with a carrier oil and apply topically to your stomach area to relieve nausea and stomach cramps, or inhale directly from the bottle for near-instant relief. Chamomile tea is also a popular remedy, where you can settle your stomach with a flavourful & healing beverage.
How to use essential oils to treat nausea and vomiting
We’ve briefly covered a few different ways to use these powerful oils to treat nausea. But we’re going to break down exactly how to safely use these oils via diffusion, bottle inhalation, steam inhalation, and topical application.
To alleviate nausea and vomiting with essential oils, add 5-10 drops of your chosen oil to a diffuser filled with water according to the manufacturer's instructions. Then, turn on the diffuser and let it run for 15-30 minutes in a well-ventilated room, inhaling the aroma of the essential oil. Adjust the amount of oil and water used based on the diffuser's size and the oil's strength.
Boil 2-3 cups of water in a pot and remove it from heat, letting it cool for a minute. Add 5-10 drops of essential oil to the water and lean over the pot, covering your head with a towel and keeping your face at a safe distance from the pot. Inhale deeply for 5-10 minutes through your nose and exhale through your mouth. This steam inhalation method can be an effective way to alleviate extreme feelings of nausea.
Inhaling essential oils from a diffuser or steaming pot of water are effective anti-nausea remedies, but it may take 10+ minutes to feel the effects. If you need instant relief now, open one of these oil bottles and inhale deeply for 30-60 seconds. Because you can’t carry your diffuser or boil water everywhere you go, this is a portable & convenient method for all-day use.
Dilute 1-2 drops of essential oil in a carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba oil. Apply the mixture to the stomach area or temples and massage it into the skin using circular motions. This method provides localised relief for stomach pain and anxiety.
What relieves nausea fast?
If you don’t have essential oils on hand, there are other naturally ways to harness the therapeutic properties of plants:
- Ginger - drinking ginger tea, chewing on ginger candies or ginger chews, or taking ginger supplements
- Peppermint - drinking peppermint tea, inhaling peppermint essential oil, or chewing on peppermint gum
- Lemon - slice a lemon and take a few deep inhales near the slices or the peel, where the un-distilled essential oils are released
Essential oils are an excellent natural remedy for nausea and vomiting. And whether that sick feeling is due to motion sickness, anxiety, morning sickness, or a digestive disorder, these oils & application methods can alleviate the queasy feeling and keep it from coming back. And if you don't have essential oils on hand right this second, there are other plant remedies that can hold you over in the meantime. But before it comes back, stock up on these healing oils so you can take control of your health and feel your best.