Road trips are a fun way to see the beautiful sites our country has to offer, both natural and man-made. Driving is more economical than flying and is sure to create memories. Our family’s road trip to the Oregon Coast is one of our favorite vactions. We took the scenic route, otherwise known to the kids as “the LONG way”. With highway 101’s breathtaking views along Oregon’s rivers, thick green forest and winding roads, it makes the perfect backdrop for a unforgettable road trip. However, those windy roads can cause motion or car sickness. This happens as a result of disturbances to the inner ear due to repeated motion and mixed signals being sent to the brain. On our trip, I will admit that I was not prepared, and all three of my children ending up vomiting from being carsick within the first three hours. My son’s pillow still remains somewhere on the side of an Oregon Highway (sorry Oregon, I now bring garbage bags with us!) so trust me when I tell you that is not a memory you want to create on your road trip!
Motion sickness usually begins with a feeling of uneasiness and nausea and can be accompanied by dizziness and headache. A person can also become pale and experience an increase of saliva. Vomiting will occur after these initial symptoms. Anyone can develop motion sickness, but people vary in their sensitivity to motion. Motion sickness most commonly affects children from 2 to 12 years old, pregnant women, and people who are prone to migraines and anxiety. The good news is that you can decrease, and even eliminate, the symptoms of motion sickness naturally with herbs, essential oils, teas and some good traveling tips.
Sometimes, the most simple remedies are best. As tempting as it is to have kids play games/watch movies on their devices, watching the road can be the best way to avoid motion sickness symptoms. I have found that making a “travel binder” for each child can be a great bordem buster and help them keep their eyes on the road. Games such as liscence plate/road sign bingo and “Hey Cow” can be fun for all ages! (These games and more travel tips can be found by following the links at the end of this article.) One of my daughters usually ends up sitting the front seat, as it is the best place for a person who is especially sensitive. Having cold water on hand to sip on and avoiding greasy food/surgary treats can make a big difference. Try packing some healthy fruits, vegetables, nuts, and bars for snacking. If someone does start to show signs of car sickness, simply begin by having them lay their head back and roll the window down or turn some cool air on. Encourage them to sip on some water and relax by taking long, deep slow breaths. This will help reduce eye strain, boost blood oxygen levels, and shift their focus from feeling sick to concentrating on their breathing.
Some people are more sensitive and need a little extra to help them enjoy their trip. Ginger has been used for ages to combat nausea and motion sickness. At WON, we are happy to offer many forms of ginger to have on hand for your road trip. Taking ginger in capsule form 20 minutes before hitting the road, as well as throughout the trip can be effective at keeping the worst symptoms of car sickness at bay. Organic crystalized ginger bites have a spicy bite to them, but can instantly soothe an upset stomach. Ginger ale is a well-known, carbonated beverage that can be used to combat nausea. Be sure to check ingredients when grabbing a ginger ale and watch out for GMO sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors. You can also juice ginger and add it to carbonated water to make your own potent motion sickness drink.
One of my personal favorites for calming an upset stomach on the road is Dr. King’s Nausea and Motion Sickness homeopathic remedy. A few sprays in the mouth whenever I feel queezy is all that I need to cut the nausea and ensure an enjoyable trip! Another homeopathic product that has great feedback for motion sickness is Vertifx capsules, which also treats symptoms of vertigo. Take prior to the trip to prevent and keep car sickness side effects at a minimum.
Aromatherapy is a centuries-old practice that uses naturally distilled botanical essential oils to treat a variety of physical, mental and emotional health conditions, including motion sickness. Ginger, peppermint, menthol and chamomile work incredibly well when a drop or two, diluted in a carrier oil, is placed behind the ears. The WON Breathe Blend combines camphor, peppermint, pine needle and eucalyptus and is effective for opening air passages to help you take deeper breaths. You can also diffuse these essential oils in your car with a specialized diffuser that plugs into the vehicles lighter receptor. Simply inhaling these oils from the bottle 30-60 minutes before your departure and every 15-30 minutes while on your trip can make a world of difference!
Medicinal teas, both hot and iced can be incredibly helpful when nausea strikes. Hot tea can be made at a gas station/truck stop by adding their hot water to a tea bag brought from home. Iced teas can be made before you leave in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Either store in a cooler or add ice to your container when you make a pit stop. (Always double the amount of tea bags for iced tea, since the ice will water it down.) At WON, you will find a large variety of teas, both single herb and blended. Choose teas that contain herbs that help soothe an upset stomach like ginger, peppermint, fennel, chamomile, cardamom, coriander and licorice.
Traveling can be stressful and cause anxiety which can contribute to, or exasterbate, motion sickness. Thankfully, there a few simple remedies to help relax the body and alleviate stress. Stress ReLeaf by Herbs Etc. comes in tincture form, and can be placed in a small amount of water to provide immediate relief from stress and anxiety. StressCare by Himalaya is a blend of Ayurvedic herbs that will help combat and prevent stress and anxiety symptoms as well. The WON staff also love Holy Basil and Ashwaghanda, herbs that act as adaptogens to help you body effectively manage stress and reduce cortisol.
Remember to always be prepared just in case the nausea isn’t caught in time! Have towels, grocery/garbage bags (for soiled clothes) and a Digestive Waste Emission Bowl (DWEB) such as an old tupperware container or metal bowl. I have to give my now 15 year old son credit for the DWEB name he created years ago!
The WON staff wishes you and yours happy, healthy, and memorable trips this summer!
Links for travel games and binder ideas! Message us on Facebook with your favorite travel tips and ideas!