Essential oils can be effective for treating nausea if you know how to use them properly. Depending on the essential oil you use, they help by promoting emotional wellness, inducing sleep, and treating digestive issues that cause vomiting and/or nausea. This article will go over 12 of the best essential oils for nausea, vomiting and motion sickness.
- 1 Nausea, Vomiting and Motion Sickness Are Not Diseases
- 2 How Do You Treat Nausea, Vomiting and Motion Sickness?
- 3 The Best Essential Oils for Nausea, Vomiting and Motion Sickness
- 3.1 Ginger Essential Oil
- 3.2 Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
- 3.3 Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
- 3.4 Fennel Essential Oil
- 3.5 Wintergreen Essential Oil
- 3.6 Lavender Essential Oil
- 3.7 Vetiver Essential Oil
- 3.8 Coriander Essential Oil
- 3.9 Nutmeg Essential Oil
- 3.10 Peppermint Essential Oil
- 3.11 Mandarin Essential Oil
- 3.12 Rosemary Essential Oil
- 4 Essential Oil-Based Recipes for Nausea, Vomiting and Motion Sickness
Nausea, Vomiting and Motion Sickness Are Not Diseases
They are the symptoms of more than one hundred health conditions. They may be due to:
- Severe pain
- Food poisoning
- Emotional stress (like fear and anxiety)
- Stomach flu
- Pregnancy (particularly during the 1st trimester)
- Gallbladder problems
- Chronic stomach conditions
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Bowel obstruction
- Fragrance sensitivity
When you’re nauseated, you usually have that queasy feeling in your throat or belly with the urge to throw up. It’s a feeling that usually comes before vomiting.
Meanwhile, vomiting, or emesis in medical terminology, is the forceful ejection of stomach contents through the mouth, or sometimes through the nose. Nausea and vomiting may or may not happen together.
Taking note of the timing of nausea or vomiting could tell you the possible cause. For instance, feeling nauseous or vomiting right after eating could be due to gastritis (stomach lining inflammation), gallbladder inflammation, gallstones, or stomach ulcers. If you feel these symptoms a few hours after eating, you may be suffering from food poisoning or obstruction of the opening between the stomach and small intestine.
Motion sickness is also known as carsickness, seasickness, or airsickness. It’s the feeling of lightheadedness caused by motion, especially when you’re travelling by plane, boat, or car. This condition is more prevalent in children (between ages 5 and 12), older adults (more than 55 years old), and women. 
Motion sickness happens when your labyrinth is irritated. The labyrinth is a firm, bony part of your ear that’s located inside the lower sides of your skull, directly underneath your temple. It has two primary functions: balance and hearing.
How Do You Treat Nausea, Vomiting and Motion Sickness?
In most cases, you don’t need to contact your doctor for nausea, vomiting or motion sickness. However, there are instances when you need to call your doctor or rush yourself to an emergency room if:
- Your nausea doesn’t disappear after one week. 
- Your vomiting lasts more than 2 days (if you’re an adult). It’s 12 to 24 hours for children below 2 years old 
- Your motion sickness doesn’t disappear when the motion has stopped or dehydration starts to develop. 
If your condition doesn’t require urgent medical attention, home treatments are usually helpful in relieving nausea, vomiting and motion sickness. Here are some home remedies suggested by WebMD.com :
- Hydrate to prevent dehydration. You could drink plain water, sports drinks, and clear broths. If you can’t keep anything down, try sucking on ice chips or Popsicles. Don’t drink alcohol, juices, caffeinated drinks, and carbonated drinks. Also, wait for at least 30 minutes before drinking anything to avoid throwing up again.
- Follow the BRAT diet. This acronym stands for Bananas, Rice, Apples, and Toast. These foods help because they’re light, bland, and don’t irritate your stomach.
- Eat slowly and in small proportions.
- Rest and elevate your head approximately 12 inches above your feet after eating or drinking.
- If you’re feeling sick due to motion, try gazing at the horizon. You could also sleep, shut your eyes, or lie down. Or, you could distract yourself by eating light and bland snacks, such lozenges, perform deep breathing exercises, or listening to soothing music.
Or, if these things don’t work or you want to avoid taking medications, essential oils might help. Below, you’ll learn more about these oils.
The Best Essential Oils for Nausea, Vomiting and Motion Sickness
Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger essential oil contains gingerol, which has soothing and warming properties. That’s why many people use it to treat digestive issues, such as indigestion, nausea, motion sickness, flatulence, morning sickness, and diarrhea.
It may also help with food poisoning because of its antiseptic and carminative (relieves flatulence) properties.   Aromatherapists use it to relieve pain because of its impressive anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Use:
- Pour 1 drop of ginger essential oil to an organic cotton ball or a tissue to relieve digestive discomfort.
- Combine 2 to 3 drops with 3 teaspoons (0.5 ounce) of carrier oil, like jojoba oil and virgin coconut oil, and then gently rub over your belly.
- Some of the essential oils that blend perfectly with ginger essential oil are lemon, sandalwood, patchouli, palmarosa, neroli, coriander, vetiver, frankincense, rosemary, and ylang-ylang essential oils.
Avoid sun exposure within 24 hours after applying ginger essential oil on your skin because it can cause irritations or burns. Always test for allergies by applying a small amount of diluted ginger essential oil on your skin and wait for 30 minutes to 1 hour for negative reactions.
Don’t take it by mouth because it can cause acid reflux, nausea, and mouth sores.
Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Also known as English chamomile and Chamaemelum nobile, Roman chamomile essential oil is a light blue or gray essential oil. It has a warm, herb-like, sweet, and fruity aroma.
People who have anxiety often feel nauseous, with or without vomiting, because the blood that should go to their stomachs is distributed to other parts of their bodies.
They also experience constipation, diarrhea, and/or indigestion due to hyperacidity. Roman chamomile essential oil helps ease anxiety and stress because of its sedative properties.
Roman chamomile essential oil also contains an analgesic and anti-spasm compound called anodyne. This compound can relieve vomiting because it relaxes the muscles of your stomach, allowing food to pass through the intestines with relative ease. 
How to Use:
- To reduce anxiety or ease nausea, dilute 6 drops of lavender essential oil, 2 drops of Roman chamomile essential oil, and 1 drop of neroli essential oil in 6 teaspoons of mild carrier oil. Stir to mix, and then apply a small amount on your temples. You can also add a few drops into your diffuser.
- Roman chamomile essential oil blends well with clary sage, lavender, tea tree, bergamot, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lemon, and grapefruit essential oils.
Roman chamomile essential oil is not for people who are allergic to daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and ragweeds. Since it can trigger or increase menstrual flow, women who are pregnant or have reproductive bleeding disorders, such as abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB), should avoid it.
Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
Cinnamon bark essential oil, which is different from cinnamon leaf essential oil, has a dark reddish-brown color and strong, warm, and spicy scent. In Ayurveda, it’s known for its long list of digestive health benefits, from treating vomiting to diarrhea to morning sickness. 
A preliminary study suggests that it may also treat stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis), which is due to a harmful bacterium called salmonella. 
A stomach flu could cause non-bloody or bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, low-grade fever (between 37.5˚C and 38.3˚C), intermittent headaches or muscle pain, and nausea and/or vomiting.
How to Use:
- Mix 2 drops of cinnamon bark essential oil with 2 teaspoons of mild carrier oil, and then rub on your belly and temples. Some people add a few drops of this essential oil into 8 ounces of warm water or hot tea. But, before you take this internally, make sure to consult your doctor first.
- Other essential oils that you could combine with cinnamon bark essential oil are ginger, cardamom, tea tree, bergamot, clove, geranium, frankincense, lavender, grapefruit, ylang-ylang, and lemon essential oils.
Cinnamon bark essential oil can be safe if you don’t use it in large doses or continuously. However, it can be toxic because it contains high amounts of cinnamaldehyde.
Other possible side effects of this essential oil are burning of the skin and sensitive areas of the body (like the eyes and nose), headache, increased blood pressure, and heart palpitations.
Fennel Essential Oil
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) essential oil is extracted from the crushed fennel seeds through steam distillation. It’s a balancing and energizing essential oil that has a honey, sweet, anise-like, and earthy scent.
Fennel essential oil is known for its ability to support respiratory and digestive functions. As a carminative, it may relieve stomachache, gas, and indigestion. It helps people to overcome dizziness, which may lead to nausea and vomiting, because of its stimulating properties. 
How to Use:
- To relieve dizziness, nausea, and/or vomiting, you can add 3 to 4 drops of fennel essential oil into your home diffuser or vaporizer. Try experimenting by combining it with other compatible essential oils, including lavender, sandalwood, lemon, rosemary, geranium, basil, cardamom, and juniper berry essential oils.
Fennel essential oil is usually safe, but there’s still a possibility that it will cause allergic reactions. Children (under the age of 5), pregnant women, and people with epilepsy should avoid using it because it has narcotic effects (like hallucinations and convulsions) and could increase estrogen levels if consumed in large amounts.
As always, perform a skin patch test to determine if you’re allergic to it. Using too much of this essential oil on your skin could cause photosensitivity, dermatitis (skin inflammation), vomiting, and nausea.
Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) essential oil is a pink-yellow or light-yellow oil. It has a sweet, uplifting, and refreshing scent that’s the same with mint.
The Native Americans were supposedly the first ones who discovered its effectiveness against muscle and joint pain. One of its main active ingredients, methyl salicylate, is responsible for its pain-relieving effect.
It works by making the skin feel cool then warm, which helps distract you from feeling the pain. Intense pain—due to an injury or illness—is one of the most common causes of nausea and/or vomiting.
Wintergreen essential oil is also antispasmodic and stimulating. This allows it to relieve stomach spasms and dizziness, which can result in vomiting. 
How to Use:
- Combine 2 drops of winter essential oil with 2 teaspoons of carrier oil, such as virgin coconut oil and jojoba oil. Stir to mix. If you want, you can also blend it with other essential oils, such as lavender, bergamot, peppermint, marjoram, geranium, lemongrass, cypress, basil, and spearmint essential oils.
- Test a small amount on an obscure part of your skin, like your inner forearm, and wait for 30 minutes for any allergic reaction. Then, gently massage into your temples to relieve nausea and motion sickness.
Since it contains high amounts of methyl salicylate, wintergreen essential oil can be highly toxic if you use it in large amounts. When applying this to your skin, remember, a little goes a long way.
Never inhale or take it by mouth because it can damage your kidneys, liver, and other internal organs.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular essential oils for relaxation and sleep. It helps people improve their sleep quality and overcome mild insomnia.  A study suggests that lack of sleep can increase a person’s likelihood to suffer from motion sickness. 
It may also help with anxiety and depression.  Nausea, with or without vomiting, is one of the common symptoms of anxiety.
Migraine sufferers could also benefit from this essential oil. According to a study, inhalation of this essential oil can be a safe and effective remedy for migraine headaches. 
During a migraine attack, sufferers may experience different symptoms, including lightheadedness, nausea and vomiting, or even fainting.
How to Use:
To calm your mind and get better sleep, you can do the following:
- Add 3 or 4 drops of lavender essential oil into your diffuser or vaporizer.
- Dilute 3 drops of lavender essential oil with 2 or 3 teaspoons of mild carrier oil. Stir well to mix. Put a few drops in your cupped palms or to your pillow or bedding, and then inhale deeply.
Lavender essential oil is a good complement to many essential oils, such as eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, grapefruit, geranium, lemon, patchouli, and thyme essential oils.
Lavender essential oil is generally considered safe for most adults. However, some people may sometimes experience a few side effects, such as skin irritation, nausea, chills, pain in the head, and vomiting. Never apply it on open wounds.
Vetiver Essential Oil
In India, vetiver is known as khus-khus. The oil that comes from this plant is normally dark yellowish-green to amber in color. It has a strong, sweet, smoky, and earthy scent that can be soothing, uplifting, and calming.
Vetiver essential oil has many medicinal properties that could help with nausea, vomiting, and emotional sickness. For one, it’s an anti-emetic, which means it can prevent or treat nausea and vomiting. 
It’s also known for its sedative effect, which could help people who suffer from insomnia.  A study shows that it has a similar effect as Diazepam, a drug that’s used for treating anxiety, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. 
How to Use:
- You can begin by adding 1 to 2 drops of vetiver essential oil to 3 teaspoons of carrier oil. Stir to mix. Vetiver essential oil has quite a strong scent, so it’s a good idea to blend it with other essential oils, such as grapefruit, ylang-ylang, lavender, jasmine, and benzoin essential oils. After performing a skin patch test, apply the mixture to the back of your neck and temples to calm your mind.
Vetiver essential oil is one of the safest essential oils. However, women who are breastfeeding or pregnant should use it with caution because it can cause a miscarriage.
Consult your doctor if you plan to take it by mouth. As always, dilute it with a mild carrier oil to avoid irritating your skin.
Coriander Essential Oil
Coriander essential oil comes from the leaves or seeds of the Coriander sativum plant. It’s a light-yellow oil that has a slightly herb-like, fruity, sweet, woody, and spicy scent.
Coriander essential oil has always been known for its ability to promote a healthy digestive system. People have used it to treat flatulence, indigestion, vomiting, nausea, and other stomach disorders.
Researchers of a preliminary study has proven that this essential oil, as well as thyme and basil essential oils, is one of the most effective essential oils against fungal species that cause food poisoning and/or food spoilage. 
How to Use:
- Add 1 drop of coriander essential oil in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil, such as olive oil and coconut oil. Stir to mix. Massage the mixture to the painful area of your body. Add a few drops to a cotton ball, diffuser, tissue, or handkerchief, and then breathe in the therapeutic aroma of this essential oil to help you relieve anxiety and sleep better.
- Some of the essential oils that you can use with coriander essential oil are orange, cinnamon, ginger, grapefruit, neroli, lemon, orange, and lime essential oils.
Coriander essential oil doesn’t have serious health risks. However, if you take too much, it may cause side effects involving your skin, intestines, and mind. Unless you get your doctor’s approval, you shouldn’t ingest this essential oil.
Pregnant women should stay away from this essential oil because it can stimulate the muscles.
Nutmeg Essential Oil
Nutmeg essential oil is extracted from the fruit and dried kernels of the nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) tree. The scent of this clear to light yellow essential oil is often described as sharp, warm, nutty, and a little musky.
Nutmeg essential oil contains medicinal properties that may help treat different conditions that could cause nausea and vomiting:
- It has a long history of treating different digestive complaints. In the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia, people use it as a digestion aid and cure for gas and stomach pain and cramps. 
- It’s also a stimulant. That’s why it’s a good remedy for anxiety-related symptoms, including nausea (with or without vomiting), and for improving your concentration.
- When used topically, it can ease pain due to muscle pain, menstruation, rheumatism, and arthritis. Inhaling it could help your mind and body to relax and ensure a good night’s sleep.
How to Use:
- If you’re feeling sick, try putting 1 to 2 drops of nutmeg essential oil to a piece of cloth, tissue, or cotton ball. You can also add 3 to 4 drops of nutmeg essential oil into your diffuser, and then let it run for around 30 minutes, thrice a day.
- Nutmeg essential oil perfectly blends with rosemary, lavender, black pepper, orange, eucalyptus, clary sage, ylang-ylang, and ginger essential oils.
In the recommended amounts, nutmeg essential oil is usually non-toxic and non-irritant. However, if you inhale or ingest excessive amounts of this essential oil, it can lead to adverse effects, including prolonged sleep duration, vomiting, convulsion, and hallucination.
Nutmeg essential oil is not for:
- Pregnant women
- People with epilepsy and sensitive skin
- Children under the age of 6
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is one of the most popular and versatile essential oils out there. In traditional medicine, people often drink water with a few drops of this essential oil after eating to support digestion.
There are a few studies suggesting that peppermint essential oil may help treat motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting. In one study, patients applied spearmint and peppermint essential oils to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
Just after 24 hours, patients experienced significantly lower incidence of vomiting and nausea without side effects. 
How to Use:
- A simple way to get rid of motion sickness or general nausea is to mix 2 drops of peppermint essential oil with 2 teaspoons of carrier oil. Apply a few drops on your wrist, temples, or abdomen. Or, you can put 1 drop on a cloth or tissue then inhale.
- You can blend peppermint essential oil with marjoram, eucalyptus, oregano, grapefruit, geranium, lavender, juniper berry, rosemary, tea tree, and lemon essential oils.
Although it’s generally safe, it’s still important to use peppermint essential oil with caution. Since it’s a stimulant, don’t use it a few hours before you plan to sleep. Some of its possible side effects are breathing problems, rashes, depression, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, convulsions, and abdominal pain.
- Breastfeeding or pregnant women
- Children below the age of 7
- People with high blood sugar levels
- People who are taking antacids, which are drugs for hyperacidity
- People with gastrointestinal disorders, such as acid reflux and gallbladder problems
Mandarin Essential Oil
Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) essential oil has a greenish orange color. The scent of this essential oil is described as very sweet, fruity, and citrusy.
Mandarin essential oil has a long list of physical and mental benefits. However, it’s best known for its calming and relaxing effects, which are useful for people suffering from anxiety, stress, nervousness, and restlessness.
As mentioned, one of the possible symptoms of anxiety is nausea, which may or may not lead to vomiting. As an antispasmodic, it relieves spasms in the stomach and intestines to prevent vomiting. 
How to Use:
- Dilute 4 drops of mandarin essential oil, 3 drops of nutmeg essential oil, and 2 drops of lemon essential oil in 2 teaspoons of carrier oil (coconut oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil). Apply this mixture directly to your skin, particularly on your belly area or temples. You can also add 2 to 4 drops of this essential oil into a diffuser, tissue, cotton ball, or a piece of cloth.
- To boost its effectiveness, you can blend mandarin essential oil with frankincense, nutmeg, lavender, neroli, cinnamon, orange, bergamot, clove, clary sage, lemon, grapefruit, and lime essential oils.
If you use it properly, mandarin essential oil can be safe. However, I still recommend that you dilute it with milder carrier oils and avoid sun exposure after use because it could be phototoxic and sensitizing.
As with any essential oil, always seek medical advice before using mandarin essential oil.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Aside from its hair-growing properties, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) essential oil is also a good remedy for nausea and vomiting caused by headaches or migraines.
According to studies, around 60% to 95% of migraine sufferers experience nausea, and up to 60% experience vomiting. 
It’s also a good digestive aid. One way it does this is by helping with the regulation and production of bile, which is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.  People who have chronic gallbladder problems may experience nausea, vomiting, gas, and acid reflux.
Another wonderful benefit of this essential oil is its ability to ease pain. That’s why it’s a popular remedy for headaches, migraines, joint aches, and muscle pains. As I pointed out, pain, especially if it’s severe, can make people feel nauseous.
How to Use:
- Apply diluted rosemary essential oil on your temples, forehead, and/or shoulders to ease stress and migraine. To enhance it effects, you can combine it with cardamom, lavender, frankincense, thyme, lemongrass, chamomile, peppermint, geranium, cedarwood, citronella, and basil essential oils.
Rosemary essential oil is generally safe if you use it appropriately. As with other essential oils, it’s not recommended for children and breastfeeding or pregnant women; because it can affect the development of the fetus or cause a miscarriage.
Also Read: Best Essential Oils for Scars.
Essential Oil-Based Recipes for Nausea, Vomiting and Motion Sickness
#1: Homemade Vapor Rub
What You Need:
- 2 ounces of white beeswax (grated)
- 6 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 4 drops of spearmint essential oil
- 4 teaspoons of carrier oil (virgin coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or olive oil)
- Dark glass container with air-tight lid
- Melt the grated white beeswax over a pot of boiling water. Remove from heat, and then whisk in your choice of carrier oil.
- Allow the mixture to slightly cool before adding your essential oils one drop at a time. Whisk until the mixture starts to emulsify.
- Transfer the mixture into a dark glass jar with lid once it has completely cooled.
- Use your homemade vapor rub within 6 months.
#2: Anti-Anxiety Inhaler Recipe
What You Need:
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil
- 3 drops of rose essential oil
- 6 teaspoons of carrier oil
- Blank nasal inhaler tube, end cap, cotton wick, and container
- Small glass bowl
- Pour your carrier oil into a small bowl, and then add each essential oil. Stir to mix.
- Dip your cotton wick into the bowl using your tweezers. Roll it around to ensure full absorption of the essential oils.
- Insert the cotton wick into the blank inhaler tube. Tightly screw the cap back on.
- Use whenever necessary.
#3: Simple Oil Blend for Motion Sickness
What You Need:
- 10 drops of vetiver essential oil
- 5 drops of ginger essential oil
- 6 teaspoons of carrier oil
- Amber glass bottle
- Pour your carrier oil into an amber glass bottle.
- Then, add your essential oils one at a time. Stir the essential oils or shake the bottle to mix.
- Inhale a few drops from your handkerchief, a tissue, or a cotton ball. Do this 30 minutes to 1 hour before you’re supposed to leave, as well as every few minutes while travelling.
Essential oils can be safe and effective if you know how to use them properly. However, it doesn’t mean they don’t have side effects. Always err on the side of caution and seek expert medical advice, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition, before using them.
So, what do you usually do if you’re feeling sick? What are your favorite essential oils for nausea?