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Dr. Murali Manohar Chirumamilla
Raksha Ayurvedalaya: The Family Wellness Center

Motion Sickness and Ayurvedic Treatment

Motion sickness is the body’s response to conflicting messages about motion (movement) that is sent to the brain. The cause for this is an imbalance between what the eyes see and what the delicate inner ear balance mechanisms feel during the movement.

Information about motion is obtained through the eyes and certain places within the inner ear. This information is then sent to the brain so that the body can respond to it by coordinating muscles and maintaining balance. Information from these parts may indicate that a person is walking, sleeping, or even moving. Other information is about the surface under a person or the area surrounding them. For instance, a person on top of a surfboard may not be moving but the surfboard and the water under the person is moving. Signals about the movement of the water and the surfboard are directed to the brain. These signals provide information that helps the person to balance on the surfboard.

When the brain receives a message from the eyes and another message from the inner ears, a person may feel the symptoms of motion sickness. Conflicting information regarding motion can be seen when a person is travelling on a ship looking out at the waves in the ocean. The inner ear perceives the up and down motion of the body riding on the ship, while the eyes perceive the random forward movement of the waves. Another type of conflicting message occurs when the inner ear perceives movement while the eyes detect no movement. This can occur while standing or sitting still inside a moving ship or vehicle with no windows to visually explain the movement. It can also happen when a person is trying to read while travelling by a bus. The inner ear perceives the movement of the bus but the eyes perceive no movement.

Different factors, such as speed, may cause motion sickness. Slow movement up and down while moving forward is more likely to stimulate motion sickness rather than fast movement up and down. For instance, more people feel motion sickness while riding a camel than riding a horse. In the same way, motion sickness is often reported while travelling on the ships, but not while windsurfing.

Motion sickness is a normal response to an abnormal situation. Any person with a healthy inner ear system is susceptible to motion sickness. Some things make a person more susceptible and less able to adapt. This is due to the maturity or decline in function of the inner ear system. For instance, children between the ages of 4 and 10 are more susceptible to motion sickness. Women of any age, especially during menstruation or pregnancy seem to be more susceptible as well.

Motion sickness is different for every person. The intensity of symptoms depends on the person, along with the amount of time and the source of stimulus causing the motion sickness. Once the stimulus which causes motion sickness is removed, the actual symptoms will usually stop within a few minutes to a couple of hours. However, motion sickness, like that experienced on a ship, usually ends within two to three days of travelling.


The most common symptoms of motion sickness are nausea and vomiting. A person may also turn pale, and break out into a cold sweat. An increase in oral secretions, yawning, fast breathing may possibly occur. Headache and drowsiness are not uncommon.


  • Eat a light meal not less than three hours before journey.
  • Focus on a stable horizon or distant focal point while in motion.
  • Limit your head movements.
  • Remain in the centrally located place while travelling on a boat or plane.
  • Sit up front or drive when travelling a motor vehicle.
  • Avoid reading or needlework while travelling.
  • Regular breaks and fresh air make the condition less likely.
  • Do not talk about being sick in the presence of someone who is susceptible to motion sickness—anticipation makes sickness more probable.

Ayurvedic Remedies

Treating motion sickness focuses on easing any nausea and vomiting. These symptoms usually are caused by certain substances that are released in the body and stimulate the vomiting centre in the brain.

  • The most common and proven ayurvedic remedy for motion sickness is ginger. It is best used as a powdered rhizome in doses of two to three grams per day. It is preferable to take the ginger as early as possible, since the vomiting back of ginger can act as a kind of ‘aversion therapy’.
  • In case of children, fried seeds of cardamom can be given with honey thrice a day.
  • Sandalwood paste along with amla juice is also effective in controlling motion sickness.
  • In recurrent cases, the powder made from equal parts of amla, cumin (jeera), clove (lavang), black-pepper and crystal sugar, should be given regularly with honey.
  • The paste of seeds of tulsi is given with milk to control nausea and vomiting.
  • Choornadaka is specially useful for vomiting of curdy milk in school going children. Here is how you prepare it. To 120 mg of pure lime, add 60 ml of water in a coloured glass bottle with a stopper. Shake at intervals of two to three hours. Keep bottle properly stoppered. Decant clean supernatant liquid for use. The usual dose is 3 to 5 ml.
  • Elaadi-vati, Mayurpuccha-bhasma, Maadiphala-rasaayana etc., are some of the common prescribed classical medicines.
  • Sanjeewani vati, Ark vati, Dev kusum churna, Chardi ripu ras, Kapur dhaara and Ark pudina are other useful medicines.


As we all are genetically different with different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many different ways. Hence Standard Ayurvedic Treatments are always individually formulated. This article is intended only for information. It is not a substitute to the standard medical diagnosis, personalized Ayurvedic treatment or qualified Ayurvedic physician. For specific treatment, always consult with a qualified Ayurvedic physician.


Dr. Murali Manohar Chirumamilla, M.D. (Ayurveda)
Plot No. 13, H.No: 16-2-67/13,
Ramamurthy Nagar (CBCID Colony),
Landmark: Kukatpally Area, Metro Train Pillar No. MYP 29.
PIN - 500 085. Telangana State


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