When you’re in the throes of nausea, there’s not very much you won’t do to feel better. I would know — I have chronic nausea, and it’s a real bummer. The feeling comes with a host of fun symptoms: stomach upset, dizziness, and GI issues that throw a wrench in my day-to-day life. But day-to-day life must carry on, and so it’s been my quest to test any and all remedies that might allow me to soldier forward in the past year. I’ve found a handful that are worthwhile, and they all live in a worn-out Ziploc bag that goes wherever I go.
My DIY nausea kit has been my saving grace on planes, in cars, at concerts, and on random afternoons when I don’t have the luxury of subsisting on saltines and ginger ale at home. My friends have also benefited from its contents for motion sickness, mild stomach bugs, and hangovers. So whether you also suffer from chronic nausea (or IBS or Crohn’s or colitis), are pregnant, or suddenly find yourself carsick while driving cross-country, these things are worth having around to take the edge off.
This wearable technology is like a supercharged Sea-Band, the acupressure bracelet that combats seasickness. Instead of simple pressure, the Reliefband delivers quick pulses to stimulate the median nerve on your wrist, which sends a signal telling the part of your brain that controls nausea and vomiting to chill. The sensation is weird but not unpleasant (almost like you’re being slightly electroshocked through your fingers), and you can control how strong the pulses are — level one is a barely detectable tingle, while level five feels pretty alarming (but effective). It does the trick quickly and works for as long as I wear it.
My acupuncturist hooked me on 100 percent ginger tea, and it’s made all those hours lying with needles sticking into my skin worth it. I like Traditional Medicinals, but if you want to buy something else, look for something that has only “ginger root” or “ginger rhizome” as the one ingredient listed — most ginger teas are blends, which just means that spicy, nausea-taming ginger power isn’t as potent. I keep two individually wrapped tea bags on me at all times, and I’ve learned that there’s usually hot water to be found at a coffee shop nearby if I’m not at home.
When it comes to sensitive stomachs, this is the crème de la crème of probiotics. A family friend swore by it for her own GI issues, and my gastroenterologist enthusiastically agreed. Although it isn’t an instant cure, it’s had an amazing impact on my nausea when I take it regularly twice a day (one before lunch and one before dinner), and having it on me makes it super convenient. (The capsules can only be kept out of the fridge for 14 days, so I only keep a couple on me at a time.)
I discovered this cherry-flavored concoction years ago while dragging myself through the aisles of Walgreens in search of a remedy for brutal hangover nausea, and this generic take on Emetrol is miraculously, weirdly effective (about the same price but even more relieving than the branded stuff). If you can get past the sickly sweet taste, it works instantly, and it feels like it’s literally coating and soothing your stomach.
My anxiety plays a major role in how nauseated I am, so the meditation app Calm is amazing for knocking it down a level when I’m stressed. There’s an entire section dedicated to guided meditations for anxiety, and the sleep meditations are excellent when I feel too ill to doze off. Easily the best $13 I spend each month.
Food writer Ariel Kanter suffers nausea as an occupational hazard, but she uses Gin Gins ginger candy to help fight it: “I have found a way to combat the postprandial nausea of which I have grown so accustomed: Gin Gins. They are my trade secret for overindulgence, whether it be from a fancy multicourse meal or a morning of hungover fried-food feasting. It’s well-known that ginger has a lot of anti-nausea benefits, but carrying a hunk of ginger around is ill-advised, and regular ginger ale is just a joke in terms of actual ginger content. Gin Gins are really powerful and actually taste like and contain ginger (up to 30 percent!). And I eat them all the time.”
If you prefer a chewier form of anti-nausea ginger candy, author Janet Mock likes this version of Gin Gins: “I travel a lot and get some indigestion so I always, just next to my lip balm, will have three of these in my bag. It gives me a sugar fix and it helps keep my belly flat and digest that food with all the benefits of ginger.”
For suffers of IBS, we investigated the very best IBS remedies, and gastroenterologist Michelle Cohen told us about peppermint pills like IBgard: “In terms of OTC options for pain and bloating, there are certain herbs and food as medicine that can be very helpful. So in my practice, for a lot of pain and bloating, I recommend that people use peppermint, fennel, and ginger in tea form, pill form, oils, or food form.”
Writer Caroline Bankoff discovered fruit-flavored candies called Queasy Drops (originally created for expecting mothers experiencing morning sickness) after a particularly rough hangover: “By the time I was back under a blanket, my nausea had completely disappeared. Sure, I was still exhausted and headachy and acutely aware of every single one of my flaws, but I had regained the stomach and desire for a cheeseburger, which, once consumed, put me on the road to recovery.”
One reader was so moved by this topic that she chimed in with her own suggestion (thank you!): “I’ve never done this before but I feel so strongly that I have to evangelize. This fizzy, salty, sour Mexican antacid, Picot Sal de Uvas will stop nausea and indigestion in its tracks. If you have IBS, stomach illness, or even a gnarly hangover a box of this magic powder will essentially turn you into Charlie and his grandpa slowly burping their way down to safety from that wind turbine in the chocolate factory. I keep a pack of it on me 24/7. It’s basically Alka-Seltzer without the aspirin (which is good, because aspirin can upset the stomach and is associated with some risks if you’re sick).”