Nausea Remedies

Medically Reviewed by Jabeen Begum, MD on May 27, 2024
11 min read

Nausea is not an illness but a common symptom of many conditions, ranging from bacterial or viral infections to problems with internal organs. It’s also a common side effect of certain treatments and medications. If you feel nauseous, you can have an unpleasant, uneasy, or weak feeling in your stomach. You may also feel lightheaded and it may be hard to swallow. You feel like you have to vomit, but that won’t always happen.


Some common things that cause nausea are:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Medications
  • Emotional distress
  • Food poisoning
  • Gastritis (an inflammation of the stomach lining)
  • Migraine
  • Morning sickness during pregnancy
  • Motion sickness
  • Stomach flu
  • Vertigo
  • Having too much alcohol or marijuana

You can treat most nausea at home. As soon as you start feeling sick, limit your diet to clear liquids in frequent, small amounts. Clear liquids are easy to digest and don't put extra strain on your stomach or intestines.

Some people find that peppermint and ginger help with their nausea, but there is not enough research to know whether these remedies work well. 

What to drink when nauseous

While drinking water is an effective way to replace fluids, it doesn't contain the sugars and nutrients (electrolytes, such as calcium, sodium, and potassium) you need to nourish your body until you can eat solid food again. That’s why it’s good to slowly drink liquids with electrolytes such as:

  • Clear soup broth or bouillon
  • Sports drinks
  • Clear soft drinks such as 7UP, Sprite, or ginger ale
  • Juices such as apple, grape, cherry, or cranberry (avoid citrus juices)
  • Ice cubes made from juices
  • Teas (including herbal ones such as ginger and mint)

Avoid alcoholic beverages, dairy products, smoothies, and vegetable juice. You may also want to skip that morning cup of coffee, which can upset your stomach and dehydrate you. If the carbonation in soda bothers you, wait until it's flat (the fizz is gone). You may also find it easier to drink beverages at room temperature instead of very hot. Drink enough fluids to keep your urine a pale straw color. If you’re not able to keep liquids down and begin to vomit, start with sipping water or sucking on ice chips.

Foods for nausea

Once you are able to keep all liquids down, try some solid foods along with the liquids. Keeping your meals small (have snack-sized meals six to eight times a day) and eating slowly can reduce nausea. Good foods to try are: 

  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Soda crackers
  • White rice
  • Plain, white toast, or breadsticks
  • Popsicles
  • Gelatin
  • Dry cereals
  • Sherbet
  • Baked or mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Pretzels
  • Plain noodles

It's best to avoid sweet, fried, spicy, or greasy foods. Room-temperature foods are good because they won't have as strong a smell, which can make nausea worse. After you eat, it's best to not brush your teeth or have a lot of physical activity. You may also want to sit up for at least 2 hours after a meal because lying down can make you feel sick. If you need to rest or sleep, keep your head at least 4 inches above your feet.

How does lemon help with nausea?

Sour foods and drinks such as lemonade, lemon candy, or pickles may help reduce nausea. You can also rinse your mouth with water and lemon juice.

Does vitamin B6 help with nausea?

Your doctor may recommend taking B6 during pregnancy to help with nausea and morning sickness. You can take 10-25 milligrams of vitamin B6 three times a day to reduce nausea. But talk to your doctor before taking any supplements during pregnancy.

Sometimes when you are nauseous, the thought of eating or drinking anything only makes it worse. If that's the case, you can try some other home remedies for nausea.


You may have heard that aromatherapy may help with sleep, cold symptoms, and headaches. But it may also help relieve your nausea. You can use essential oils such as lemon, ginger, and peppermint oil for nausea. These oils can be used with a diffuser, or you can roll them directly onto your skin (it's best to use a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, if you put them on your skin so you don't have irritation).

Acupressure for nausea

Acupressure is a type of massage where you push on certain spots of your body called acupoints. The pressure point P-6, also called Neiguan, is thought to help ease nausea. P-6 is by your wrist on the inside of your arm. To find the spot, hold your arm in front of you, with your palm facing you and fingers pointed up. With the other hand, put three fingers on your arm, starting just below the crease in your wrist. At the bottom of your fingers is the pressure point. Push on this point for 2-3 minutes using your thumb or another finger. Do the same on your other wrist. You can do this a few times a day until your nausea gets better. If you have any broken skin or sores in the area of your P-6, don't do acupressure there.

Getting fresh air

Step outside, roll down a car window, or stand in front of a vent blowing cool air. All of these things can help get rid of nausea. Going outside can get you away from odors that are making your nausea worse and take your mind off of your stomachache.

Mindful breathing exercises

A study of people being treated with chemotherapy showed that doing mindful breathing exercises daily for 6 days after treatment helped them have fewer bouts of nausea than people who didn't do breathing exercises. And when they were nauseous, their symptoms were less severe. Another study found that slow, controlled breathing helped ease motion sickness among people taking part in a virtual reality experience of being on a boat in a choppy ocean.

To try deep breathing (also known as belly breathing), sit up straight and put one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 2 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for 6 seconds. Focus on inhaling and exhaling from your stomach, not your chest. The hand on your chest should move just a little and only when the hand on your stomach moves. When you are first learning to do this, start with just a few minutes of belly breathing and add more time as you find it easier to do.

Nausea is a common side effect of chemotherapy. But if your nausea turns to vomiting, you can lose needed fluids and calories that keep you strong during treatment. There are several ways to manage your food that will help keep nausea and vomiting at bay during chemotherapy. You can:

Eat foods that you can tolerate. Sometimes, during chemotherapy, the food you used to like may make you queasy.

Eat small meals. If you are only nauseous on an empty stomach, eat small meals and frequent snacks throughout the day.

Eat before treatment. On days when you have chemotherapy, eat something small beforehand.

Stay hydrated. Sip on cool, clear liquids (such as tea, apple juice, and ginger ale) frequently throughout the day.

Improve breath. Chemotherapy can leave you with a bad, or metallic, taste in your mouth, which may make nausea worse. If this happens, you can eat popsicles or suck on hard candy with nice flavors such as lemon, ginger, or mint (choose sweet, not tart, flavors if you have sores in your mouth).

Avoid weight loss. Nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy can lead to a lot of weight loss. If you can't eat a lot, try having small, easy-to-eat, high-calorie snacks such as pudding, ice cream, and milkshakes if you tolerate those well. You can also add oils, sauces, and syrups to food to increase your calories.

Rest after eating. When you have a meal, try not to move around a lot afterward. Relax, stay seated, and sit upright for at least an hour if you can.

There are also a lot of nondrug treatments you can try to stop feeling nauseous. These include:

  • Hypnosis
  • Meditation and breathing exercises
  • Acupuncture or acupressure
  • Music therapy

If you are on chemotherapy and your nausea becomes very strong or you are vomiting frequently, talk to your doctor about what helps with nausea.

Morning sickness, which typically lasts about the first 12-16 weeks of pregnancy, can leave you feeling nauseous when you wake up, or sometimes all day long. You may feel miserable, but it's a normal part of pregnancy and doesn't cause any health issues for you or the baby. There are natural remedies for nausea during pregnancy that you can try to help you feel better. 

  • Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Eat foods that are low in fat and high in carbohydrates such as toast, crackers, and rice.
  • Keep crackers or something light near your bed so you can eat them before getting up.
  • Get lots of sleep because being tired can increase nausea.
  • Eat cold foods, especially if the smell of hot food bothers you.
  • Sip fluids regularly to avoid dehydration.
  • Eat and drink things that include ginger (talk to your doctor before taking any supplements).
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine as well as fatty and spicy foods.
  • Bring snacks with you if you will be away from home for very long.
  • If prenatal vitamins are making you sick, take them with food or before bed.

There is a more severe form of nausea during pregnancy called hyperemesis gravidarum. This can be more serious and cause you to dehydrate or not get enough nutrients for you and the baby. You should talk to your doctor if you:

  • Can't eat and drink regularly
  • Have nausea or vomiting that interrupts your daily life
  • Have very dark pee or don't pee for 8 hours or more
  • Vomit blood
  • Have extreme weight loss

If you have hyperemesis gravidarum, your doctor can offer treatments, which could require you to stay in the hospital.

You may have a hangover -- nausea and other physical and mental symptoms -- the day after you drink too much alcohol. About three-quarters of people who drink too much will have some kind of hangover, but how much you drink to get one varies from person to person. You are more likely to have a hangover, though, if you have more than one alcoholic beverage per hour (this is the amount your body can usually process).

Alcohol irritates your stomach lining. It also slows down your digestion, which can cause your liver, pancreas, and stomach to secrete more fatty substances. This is why you might feel nauseous or sick to your stomach the next day. Too much alcohol can also cause you to have low blood sugar, which can cause symptoms such as sweating, anxiety, and nausea.

Many things that help ease nausea from stomach flu are also recommended for hangover nausea. These include:

  • Eat carbs such as crackers and toast, which reduce nausea and increase blood sugar.
  • Take antacids such as Pepto-Bismol or Tums.
  • Get plenty of rest.

The kind of medicine you take for nausea will depend on your situation. Not all medications, for instance, are safe to take during pregnancy. Some may work for other people, but not for you. The cause of your nausea may also impact what kind of medication you take. Some antinausea medications are available over the counter, while and others need to be prescribed by your doctor.

Over-the-counter antinausea medications

  • B6 (also called pyridoxine) can be used to treat nausea during pregnancy.
  • Dimenhydrinate and meclizine treat motion sickness by blocking your inner ear from feeling motion changes.
  • Doxylamine (Unisom) is also used to help you sleep and treat allergies.
  • Pepto-Bismol protects your stomach lining and is used to treat stomach flu and food-related stomach sickness.

Prescription antinausea medications

  • Benzodiazepines (alprazolam, lorazepam) help reduce anxiety, which can ease nausea.
  • Cannabinoids may be used to ease nausea and increase appetite for people taking chemotherapy.
  • Diclegis is a prescription medication for nausea that's safe for pregnancy.
  • Dopamine antagonists (metoclopramide) keep dopamine from binding to the parts of the brain that cause nausea and vomiting. 
  • Metoclopramide is used to treat nausea that comes from chemotherapy, migraines, and surgery.
  • NK-1 receptor antagonists (fosaprepitant, aprepitant) block the NK-1 receptor in the brain. This receptor is associated with the vomiting reflex.
  • Olanzapine may be combined with other medications to treat nausea.
  • Serotonin antagonists (ondansetron, dolasetron) block substances in your body that make you feel queasy. These are often prescribed by your doctor to prevent nausea after surgery or chemotherapy.
  • Steroids might be prescribed by your doctor to go along with other antinausea medicines.

Though nausea is not typically a sign of something serious, you should reach out to your doctor if your vomiting lasts more than 2 days for adults, more than 24 hours for children, or more than 12 hours for infants. You should also schedule an appointment if you've dealt with bouts of nausea for more than a month, or if you have unexplained weight loss along with your nausea or vomiting.

While you wait to talk with your doctor about how to get rid of nausea, make sure to stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, and eat bland foods. Keep track of your symptoms and watch for any signs of dehydration. If your nausea causes frequent vomiting, doctors may give you oral rehydration therapy, which involves drinking a rehydration solution that replaces the minerals and body fluids you lost.

You should call 911 or your primary doctor right away or go to the nearest urgent care facility or emergency room if you have nausea along with any of the following warning signs:

  • Dark urine or infrequent urination
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Dry mouth and other signs of dehydration
  • Extreme belly pain
  • Extreme headache
  • High fever
  • Frequent vomiting during a period lasting more than 24 hours
  • A reason to think that nausea and vomiting is due to food poisoning
  • Severe stiff neck
  • Some blood in your vomit

Nausea can be a symptom of more serious conditions such as:

  • Concussions
  • Blocked intestines
  • Meningitis, an infection that causes swelling around the brain and spinal cord
  • Brain tumors
  • Swelling in the brain (encephalitis)
  • Ruptured appendix (appendicitis)

Nausea is a symptom of conditions such as pregnancy, stomach flu, migraines, and chemotherapy. It's typically not serious, but talk to your doctor if it lasts more than 48 hours for adults, or if you have signs of dehydration or other symptoms such as a fever. There are many home remedies, over-the-counter drugs, and prescription medicines that can help ease your symptoms.

What relieves nausea fast?

Try stepping outside to get some fresh air or deep, slow breathing. Both may help you feel better in just a few minutes.

Can Coke help with nausea?

Caffeine can make nausea worse. Instead, try clear sodas such as Sprite or ginger ale. Noncarbonated drinks including tea, apple juice, or sports drinks with electrolytes are even better.

Does a cold washcloth help with nausea?

It may. One study found that putting an ice pack on the back of people's necks after surgery helped relieve nausea. So, a cool cloth on the forehead or back of your neck may relieve your symptoms.