Ginger and Sea Sickness

So, you finally have taken that cruise you’ve dreamed of for years. However, you are concerned that sea sickness will ruin your trip, and with good reason. More than one person has saved up, and planned for an exciting cruise vacation, only to spend the majority of their time sick and in bed or in the bathroom. Fortunately, there are ways that you can prevent motion sickness, or at least alleviate the symptoms, while you are on your cruise.

First, it is important to understand how sea sickness works. Physically, sea sickness (also called motion sickness) is caused when there is a conflict between the signals sent from the eyes, inner ear, and the rest of the body. Sometimes the conflict is subtle; for example, when one is inside the cabin of a ship, there may be no visual perception of motion, but the inner ear, which controls balance, detects the rocking of the boat. For some people, sea sickness does not even require actual movement; Some people will experience sea sickness in response to perceived or anticipated movement. sea sickness typically ends when the motion (or perception of motion) has ended. The symptoms of motion sickness can include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, increased salivation, headache, paleness of the skin, and cold sweats.

Some medications are available for sea sickness. However, most of these can cause drowsiness and can impair judgment in the user. The most common of these is Scopolamine. This is taken prior to travel, and is available as a patch. Other medications that must be taken prior to travel include promethazine, cyclizine, and meclizine. Dimenhydrinate, otherwise known as Dramamine, can be taken after symptoms start, and must be taken every 4 to 8 hours.

For some people who experience motion sickness, ginger is more effective than medications such as Dramamine. Ginger is an herb that has been used for centuries by the Chinese to reduce nausea. Other traditional uses of ginger include treating indigestion, morning sickness, hot flashes, and menstrual cramps. Ginger does not have the negative side effects that often accompany sea sickness medications, which can often result in a person not being able to enjoy the activity that triggers sea sickness in the first place. While there has been only a small amount of research on the effectiveness of ginger in overcoming sea sickness, the results are promising so far.

Ginger comes in a variety of formats. One of the most popular are Ginger capsules. These pills are made from ground ginger root. Ginger capsules are typically taken both prior to and during travel. You should always follow the label directions, but a good ballpark figure is to take 2 or 3 capsules about an hour before you leave, and then take one or two ginger capsules every three or four hours while you are traveling.

Many people enjoy the taste of ginger tea. You can purchase ginger tea bags, or you can make your own by boiling chopped, fresh, peeled ginger for a few minutes. Some people prefer to allow their ginger tea to cool and then drink it as iced tea.

Ginger is also available in a powder that can be added to a drink. Some people like to use ginger ale to sooth an upset stomach, although the actual amount of ginger in most ginger ales is often negligible.

There are some other basic things that a person can do to help avoid sea sickness. A general reduction in stress and anxiety levels will often help with sea sickness. Maintaining proper airflow will often help with odors that add to nausea. Many people have experienced success with distraction techniques (other than reading; reading can make sea sickness worse) that keep their minds occupied and away from sea sickness. Other people find that the use of a head rest or a neck pillow will minimize the movement of the head, and thereby reduce sea sickness. Having light meals and avoiding greasy foods and alcohol prior to travel may help with sea sickness, as will eating foods high in carbohydrates.