Peppermint and ginger are the knee-jerk go-to essential oils for dealing with nausea. But, we have many options, both in herbalism and in its more specialized offspring, aromatherapy.
First, it is helpful to pinpoint, if possible, the trigger or cause for nausea. Is the trigger a food which can be avoided in the future? Is there a virus going around? Is morning sickness the culprit? Chemotherapy? Emotional stress? Knowing the trigger can help one make an appropriate decision concerning choice of aromatic, method of delivery, dose, etc.
Example case #1: 12yo child is complaining of nausea after visiting a popular amusement park. 14yo sibling has been vomited twice in the last 3 hours. Favorite food: super salty soft pretzels. Dislikes: Anything spicy or strongly flavored or minty.
Example case #2: 24yo female, pregnant following two miscarriages, presents with hyperemesis gravidium (severe, ongoing vomiting). Nothing stays in her stomach for more than a minute or two. Food smells cause her vomit or dry heave. Motion has a similar effect. She was underweight prior to pregnancy.
Example case #3: 35yo male develops nausea and diarrhea 8-12 hours before his annual review at his high-stress, high-pay workplace. These symptoms directly correlate with any meeting he deems critical to his career, but he doesn’t have these symptoms daily, only when an important meeting or review is scheduled. He is a low taster and pours pepper, hot sauce, or garlic on everything.
For the gentleman in case three, adding a spoon of cardamom and ginger honey to his morning yogurt may be the best way to settle his nervous stomach. (Note: This is a food based protocol, no essential oils needed.)
The Mother-to-be will take some experimentation with frequent check ins and coordination with her midwife or doctor. But, there is evidence which would point toward using an aromastick with ginger co2 to quell her unsettled stomach.
The 12yo may do well with an aromastick loaded with dill essential oil, perhaps combined with coriander or caraway.
Each example has a different cause, different history, different protocol. The choice of botanical, formulation, and method will look very different in each case. Dosage, optimized for safety and efficacy will be very different for each individual as well.
Nausea is uncomfortable, to be sure, but it is one of the areas which is well suited for herbal and aromatherapy protocols. A well trained aromatherapist can develop individualized protocols to ease nausea and even work integratively with health care professionals when called for.