5 Proven Natural Remedies for Car and Motion Sickness

Updated: Dec. 12, 2019

These natural remedies will help you alleviate nausea and dizziness on your next car trip or cruise.

Travel woes

Whether you’re in the car going to Grandma’s house, taking a cruise, or flying abroad, motion sickness can ruin any trip. Being able to manage it quickly and simply is ideal. Here are some potential solutions.

Ginger root, slices, and ginger tea in a white teacup
Maya Kruchankova/shutterstock

Eat or drink ginger

It may be helpful to bring along ginger candies, ginger ale, or dried ginger in capsules on your next trip. Experts at Penn State report that ginger is an effective natural treatment for motion sickness, car sickness, and seasickness, although the research findings are mixed. Learn the scientific reason why not everyone gets motion sickness.

Medicine health care. Female hand checking pulse on wrist
Ruslan Galiullin/Shutterstock

Wear a motion sickness bracelet

The medical director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, Randy Horwitz, MD, PhD, recommends motion sickness bracelets—also known as acupressure bracelets—for people who get motion sickness. “I’ve had many patients use these both in cars and on boats with much success,” says Dr. Horwitz. “The bracelets can either be pressure bracelets or deliver a small electrical charge to the same area on the wrists. Either approach has been shown to be helpful.”

Place the raised plastic bump two inches above your inner-wrist crease between your two tendons. “These bracelets may not be as powerful as pharmacologic agents, however, the trade-off is that they provide relief without annoying side effects (dry mouth, sleepiness),” he says.

If you don’t have a bracelet, simply press your middle and index finger in that pressure point for an effective motion sickness natural treatment. In Chinese medicine, this point is called the sixth point on the Pericardium pathway, and it is utilized in acupuncture and acupressure to alleviate nausea. Don’t miss these other drug-free stomach ache remedies.

Young woman driving car with man in passenger seat
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Sit in the front or middle seat of the car

“In most people, motion sickness is caused by a conflict between motion inputs coming from different senses,” says Dr. Horwitz. “For example, the inner ear senses movement based upon changes in both pressure and fluid distribution in the ear. If you are looking down at a book and reading while in a moving car, the inner ear senses movement,  but there is no visual input to verify this movement,  since the book appears to be standing still. So, two conflicting signals are received. In some people, this causes symptoms of motion sickness.”

If you focus your eyes directly in front of you and look directly at the horizon, you can trick your brain into believing you aren’t moving. “Sitting in the front seat affords a view both in front and to the side and may easily improve the sensation of movement,” says Dr. Horwitz. “The middle seat is thought to be better in some situations.” Here are more tricks for beating motion sickness.

Preparing healthy vegetarian snacks on white rustic wood. Female hands making sandwiches and putting into take away plastic lunch box, top view.

Never travel on an empty stomach

Make sure you don’t travel by boat, plane, or car on an empty stomach to reduce symptoms of nausea. Keep healthy snacks on hand, as an empty stomach will only exacerbate motion sickness. However, don’t overeat. “Nausea and vomiting—symptoms associated with motion sickness—can be exacerbated with a full stomach,” says Dr. Horwitz. “Chewing gum seems to quell nausea, perhaps through an effect on the inner ear. And sucking on ice chip decreases nausea from many causes.”

Three bottles of essential oil and fir branches.

Try aromatherapy

Some sufferers claim to find relief in using essential oils as a motion sickness remedy. While there is little clinical data to back up this motion sickness treatment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, “stimulating your other senses can distract you from the motion.” Aromatherapy with essential oils like ginger, peppermint, or lavender may alleviate nausea due to motion car, sea, or air sickness. Check out these other natural remedies that really work.