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No one likes to vomit, but sometimes it is helpful to rid the body of unwanted foods, drink or toxins. Nausea and vomiting (which usually go hand-in-hand) is not a disease but a sign of a problem in the gastrointestinal tract. It may be related to a simple stomach flu or disorders such as ulcers, gallstones, gastritis, and occasionally caused by hepatitis and kidney stones. Motion sickness and pregnancy often cause nausea and vomiting but from a condition and not from a disease. In some cases, vomiting is serious when it reflects an internal blockage, appendicitis or peritonitis. So the point is that vomiting has many etiologies, but the first thing is to tame the reaction with some home remedies. If these fail, then it may be time to consult your physician.
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It's best to avoid solid foods for at least 12 hours or until the vomiting ceases. However, make sure to replace the lost fluids by frequently sipping liquids. Start with ice chips and then slowly work up to plain water, soda (like ginger ale, but shake it first to eliminate the carbonation), bouillon, tea (mint tea is soothing) and non-acidic juices. Keep up the liquid diet until the vomiting stops and your tummy feels like slowly introducing regular foods. Then start low residue foods like oatmeal, mashed potatoes, rice and soups before overloading your stomach. Saltine crackers are great for munching to absorb excess stomach acid.
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Soothing Spices and Herbs Help Nausea and Vomiting
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) root has a reputation for controlling nausea and vomiting of all types. It can be taken in several different forms - fresh, crystallized, dried or powdered. To make a soothing tea, simmer 1 teaspoon of fresh, grated ginger root in a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes. Sip this slowly. For people who would rather pop a pill, ginger comes in a powdered form in capsules. Follow the instructions on the bottle. People who have gallbladder disease, a bleeding disorder or are on blood-thinning medications should not take ginger unless under the guidance of a physician.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) has well earned the reputation of settling nausea, vomiting and cramps. Sucking on a mint lozenge that contains peppermint or menthol as the main ingredient can tame the urge to vomit. Tea can be made by steeping 2 to 3 teaspoons of dried leaf in a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes. Peppermint tea can easily be found in tea bags as well. People who suffer with esophageal reflux or heartburn should avoid this herb.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) has been used for years to relieve intestinal spasms. In a sense, this herb relaxes the intestinal tract and calms the nerves thus reducing nausea, vomiting, and helps expel intestinal gas. It's widely used as a sleep aid, even mild enough for children. So, if you feel that nerves are the cause of your intestinal woes, this herb can relax and help soothe your tummy. A tea can be made with the dried chamomile flowers or tea bags are easily found in most health food stores. If you are allergic to ragweed, it's best to stay clear from chamomile that is in the same food family.
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Some people find relief from nausea and vomiting by applying pressure to the inside of the wrist near the center. This technique is especially helpful for people who suffer from motion sickness. There are special wristbands (sold in drugstores) that put the pressure on the inside wrist area. They were first created to use for seasickness, but are now used for many reasons of nausea and vomiting, even pregnancy.
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Help at Your Local Drugstore
Sometimes you may need some non-prescription medications to help out. Over-the-counter products like Pepto Bismol, Maalox and Mylanta are well known to help calm down nauseated stomachs. Emetrol (phosphorated carbohydrate solution) has been used for years for vomiting. And if your problem stems from motion sickness, medications like Dramamine or Bonine can come to the rescue off the store shelf.
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The Bottom Line...
Nobody likes to vomit, but it happens! When seeking remedies on how to treat vomiting at home, the ideas above should be able to quell your purging and irritated stomach in a short time. Contact your physician immediately if you fall into any of these red flag situations:
- Vomiting blood or brown grainy material (like coffee grounds)
- Vomiting everything you ingest, including sips of water
- Vomiting associated with diarrhea in frail elderly people or young babies and children
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"Diarrhea and Vomiting" http://www.uhs.umich.edu/diarrheavomiting#selfcare
"Effect of Acupressure by Sea-Bands on Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=retrieve&db=pubmed&list_uids=11277163&dopt=citation
The Doctors Book of Home Remedies by Sid Kirchheimer [Rodale Press, 1993]
The Complete Book of Natural & Medicinal Cures by the editors of Prevention Magazine [Rodale Press, 1994]