Beat Travel Sickness The Natural Way

Young woman feeling bad during a flight and breathing in vomit bag

By Steve Kippax

Steve Kippax

Steve Kippax

While I am sure that we all love being on holiday, the actual act of travelling there and back for some can almost be such a trauma as to want to call the whole thing off! Travel sickness can really impact not just on the actual act of travel but on the whole enjoyment of being on holiday. So here are a few tips that might help to make for a happier holiday . . .

  • Pick the form of transport that is going to cause the least problem – planes, trains and automobiles (and boats) can all induce the dreaded nausea and sickness if a person is so disposed. Take the path of least resistance and choose the form of transport that is least likely to aggravate… obviously taking a slow boat to China might not be practical for a 10 day holiday!
Young pretty woman in international airport looking at the flight information board with carry on luggage

Pic: iStockphoto

  • Use your common sense – some people find that eating can help – if so, have a few healthy snacks with you. Others find that if they eat too much it aggravates, so passing on the Full English and not drinking alcohol is a no brainer. If on a train, facing the direction of travel can be less problematic. Avoid stuffy environments – easy to do in a car or boat, but more difficult on a train or plane. Distraction can also help – look out of the window, towards the horizon.

Having taken all of this on board there are things that you can do that will help.

  • Ginger – has been shown to be of benefit. Cut up a piece of fresh ginger about 8 cm long (3 inches) and put into a pan with 500 ml (about a pint) of water. Bring it to the boil and simmer quite vigorously for about 7- 10 minutes, then strain. Add some honey/maple syrup to taste.  This is better drunk warm, so put into a flask for the journey and sip as and when necessary. A ginger biscuit or pastille while not being as “pure” may help too.  Ginger being warm is good for “cold” so it’s especially good if the person is pale and shivery as well as feeling nauseous.
  • “Heat” in the stomach can also produce these symptoms so Mint tea or a mint sweet can help. Try them both and see which is best. If they are also stressing, then Chamomile tea will help to calm and settle the stomach.
Pouring herbal tea from a teapot into a white cup and saucer

Pic: iStockphoto

  • Rescue remedy, which is a Bach flower remedy, is good if the person feels like they need rescuing and are anxious.
  • Taking these things will help, but you can additionally help by stimulating certain acupuncture points.
  • Sea sickness bands – these bands are fairly well known and are worn on the wrist. What they do is press on an acupuncture point called Nei guan (Pericardium 6) which is the best point for nausea/sickness. While the ongoing pressure of these bands will help to an extent, it is also good to really press this point pretty hard for say 15- 30 seconds at times. It is 3 fingers breadth up from the creases on the inside of the wrists between the tendons on both sides. This can also help for burping!
  • Putting a hand on the stomach area – in the centre just below the sternum (Breast bone) can also help.
Young casual girl woman is having stomach ache.

Pic: iStockphoto


Steve Kippax is a Western and Chinese herbalist, an acupuncturist and the author of new book Health in Theory and Practice (£14.99, Aeon Books). It is a go to guide for transforming your health and wellbeing naturally, through herbs, acupressure and homoeopathy.

Health In Theory And Practice Book






Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!