Sea Sickness natural treatment by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
February 19 2016

Seasickness is a form of motion sickness characterized by a feeling of nausea and, in extreme cases, dizziness experienced after spending time on a craft on water. It is typically brought on by the rocking motion of the craft, but people who are particularly vulnerable to the condition can feel seasick simply by setting foot on a boat, even if the vessel is in dry dock. Some people say that taking a ginger supplement could help prevent with mild cases.

Medical treatment
Adaptation remains the most effective countermeasure for motion sickness, together with established medications, notably scopolamine and antihistamines.

J Psychopharmacol. Dec 2013. Evaluation of the effects of anti-motion sickness drugs on subjective sleepiness and cognitive performance of healthy males. This study aimed to investigate the clinical and cognitive side effects of baclofen (10 mg), meclizine (50 mg), dimenhydrinate (40 mg) plus cinnarizine (20 mg) and promethazine (25 mg) plus d-amphetamine (5 mg). The study had a double-blind, placebo controlled, repeated measures design and was conducted on healthy male volunteers. The psychomotor vigilance test, the Sternberg working memory task, the implicit memory test and the automated Operation Span (Ospan) task were performed. The Stanford, the Karolinska and the Epworth Sleepiness scale determined the degree of sleepiness. The Profile of Mood States (POMS) evaluated mood states and adverse effects were reported on a 22-item questionnaire. Letter recalls and time for solving mathematical problems, recorded during the Ospan task, were impaired by baclofen and dimenhydrinate-cinnarizine respectively, suggesting an influence of these drugs on the working memory. Significant side effects for baclofen were: sleepiness, tiredness, blurred vision, concentration problems and dizziness whereas for dimenhydrinate-cinnarizine only sleepiness and blurred vision were reported. Meclizine decreased the accuracy on the Sternberg working memory task and thus seemed to affect short-term memory. A reported side effect was increased sleepiness. Promethazine plus d-amphetamine did not affect any of the tested cognitive functions. However, many side effects such as sleepiness, dry mouth, dizziness, vertigo, confusion, insomnia and tremors were reported. The results show that meclizine and dimenhydrinate combined with cinnarizine were the two drugs with the most acceptable combination of side effects.

Seasickness treatment questions

Q. I'll be taking a 6-hour boat trip soon and am very prone to seasickness, sometimes even on calm seas. Would I be better off requesting a prescription, like a patch, or is there a product you might recommend to help with this condition.

   A. The scopolamine patch works, but may cause side effects such as dry mouth or blurred vision. Ginger may help, but I am not aware of other herbs or nutrients for sea sickness.