Dude! There’s a reason we describe the urge to hurl as “waves” of nausea. Our word “nausea” is related to the word “nautical” — even our word “navy”, from the Greek word for the sea-waves.  The maritime reference alludes to classic mal du mer, or sea-sickness. But of course these disquieting waves can reach land-lubbers smack in the middle of Nebraska, too.

Aromatherapy for Nausea is a non-invasive approach to handling this common experience. Why do we need Aromatherapy for Nausea? The whirlies come over us in many different settings. Motion-sickness, though not necessarily aboard a boat, is one of the most common.  Even riding in the back seat of a car can give some of us those swirls of indigestion.

A few tips to avoid motion sickness, in planes, trains and automobiles:

Eat lightly.

Get as much air / ventilation as possible. Slow, deep breaths.

Avoid greasy food 24 hours before travel.

If you’re prone to feeling queasy, don’t read or watch videos en route. “Rest” your eyes. Listen to music instead.

Avoid alcohol.

Sip water slowly.

Another common cause of tummy-trouble is the aftermath of surgery (PON–Post-Operative Nausea, following anesthesia), as well as chemotherapy. When under a doctor’s care, always consult your professional before undergoing any treatment. Discuss Aromatherapy for Nausea with your MD or other health care practitioner to be sure that it is safe and appropriate for your condition.

And, what you put down your precious pie-hole also makes a difference. If you are unlucky enough to eat spoiled food with a high bacterial count, your body will try to reject it– and literally eject it. Not a pleasant process, granted…but really, it is your body’s mechanism for trying to protect you from harm. In this case, nausea is similar to a good sneeze, the intention being to expel systemic intruders which may cause harm. Blast ‘em out! You’ll feel better when they’re gone.

The two most effective essential oils used in Aromatherapy for Nausea are soothing Lavender and refreshing, balancing Peppermint. Just inhaling these essential oils can settle a quarrelsome tummy.

How does Aromatherapy for Nausea work? Here are some facts to digest:

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is purported to have sedative effects when inhaled in humans and animals (Lis-Balchin, & Hart, 1999), along with anxiolytic, anticonvulsive, motor inhibitory and spasmolytic effects in animals (Block, Gyllenhaal, & Mead, 2004; Buchbauer, Jirovetz, et al 1993). Inhalation of Lavender oil vapors in mice produced a serum level comparable to that of an intravenous injection. Absorption into the blood stream was rapid via the nasal and lung mucosa and very low levels were required to produce a sedative effect (Buchbauer, Jirovetz et al, 1991). In clinical studies, inhalation of Lavender demonstrated greater improvements in mood and less anxiety in 77% of 122 patients in an intensive care unit (Dunn et al, 1995), increased sleep time and less restlessness during sleep in 4 patients (Hardy, Kirk-Smith, Stretch, 1995), and greater relaxation, less depression, and CNS depressant activity in 23 females with insomnia (Schultz, Hubner, & Ploch, 1997). In 13 healthy female subjects, inhaling Lavender oil reduced alpha waves of parietal and posterior temporal regions (Masago et al, 2000). 


Peppermint (Mentha Piperita) has been a classic essential oil choice for the treatment of nausea for hundreds of years. There are studies showing its efficacy in reducing post-op nausea (Tate, 1997), chemotherapy-induced nausea (Fuguenik, 1998), and colonic spasms during colonoscopy (Asao et al, 2001; Leicester & Hunt, 1982) and after colostomy surgery (McKensie & Gallacher, 1989). Peppermint is believed to exert its antispasmodic influence on the gastric lining and colon through its alcohol compounds menthone and menthol.

Here’s a bit of grandmotherly advice when feeling nauseated: peel a big red apple, and eat the peel (not the white fruit). The skin contains pectin, which is an ancient and effective natural ingredient in digestive treatments.