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Nausea: Easing the Discomfort

Dr. Karol M.D Article by: Dr. Karol M.D
Date: Oct 28, 2014 · Posted in: Recipe, Herbal Medicine, Digestive Health
Nausea: Easing the Discomfort

Before October completely passes us by, I’d like to talk about nausea in the context of this month’s theme: digestive health. Nausea is pretty common and I am sure that everyone will agree that it’s not very pleasant. It’s that feeling of the stomach churning coupled with the urge to vomit. Smells and foods repulse those with nausea and worsen the condition.

What Makes Us Nauseous?

The most common cause of nausea is food poisoning or some other type of poisoning, like alcohol. It is very common to have this feeling in the morning after indulging in alcohol the night before. Not much fun!

Other well-known causes of nausea are motion sickness and nausea due to chemotherapy in patients with tumors. Spinning around can also cause nausea, as on a rollercoaster for example. This is due to the fact that we have special receptors in our inner ear that sense movement. If we spin in circles, the receptors get overstimulated and they signal part of the brain responsible for the sensation of nausea. The same thing happens with motion sickness on a boat, for example.

Prescribing Help

There are readily available solutions. The most common one is the over-the-counter medication called Gravol (diphenhydramine). The problem with this medication is that it is toxic to our liver and kidneys. It also makes one feel what I would call “high” —or intoxicated — so it’s not practical for driving or work.

Another very common therapy (and one prescribed for more serious nausea) is the prescription medication called ondansetron. Although very effective, the problem with this one, (there is always some problem with prescription medications), is that is causes a prolongation of the heart rhythm. This can cause an irregular heart rhythm called Torsade de Pointes. This means that when the rhythm is drawn on a graph, it resembles a point oscillating around a line. Needless to say, such heart rhythm disturbances can be fatal, and yet this medication is prescribed on a massive scale, especially to patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Natural Solutions

So what are the natural alternatives that are effective yet not harmful? For minor nausea, (i.e., non- chemotherapy), an amazing natural remedy is ginger. The next time you have a hangover and you feel nauseous, grind some fresh ginger and steep it in very hot water for a few minutes. Sweeten with honey (ginger tends to be a bit bitter and intense in flavour) and enjoy. The only problem with this method is that you need to peel the ginger, whose skin is tough. A much easier way is to buy ginger supplements, which are available right here at Vitarock. The more readily available ones are ginger teas, but there are also tinctures, which are more powerful.

Marijuana for Nausea

But what about the severe nausea encountered by patients undergoing chemo? For these patients, my recommendation is marijuana. The active ingredients in cannabis called cannabinoids are by far the best medicines for nausea, as shocking as that may sound to you. They are extremely effective, long-lasting and totally non-toxic. Of course one must take into consideration the “high” effect of cannabis, but is this really a hindrance for someone undergoing chemotherapy treatment? Such people need anxiety relief, rest, peace and quiet, peace of the mind and a relaxed body. Medical cannabis provides all of these benefits in addition to its anti-nausea effect. Chemo patients are also usually not engaged in driving or doing something that requires clarity of thought.  Thus being “high” on cannabis is not something that usually interferes with their daily activities.

Finally, cannabinoids have recently been found to have potent anti-tumour and anti-cancer properties. These qualities make cannabis an excellent therapeutic addition to the standard chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer. You can’t ask for much more from a natural, complementary medicine.

If you have questions on how to acquire medical marijuana legally, contact me via email or at the number listed on the Vitarock website.

See you next time.

Dr. Karol