A handy trick I learned about a year ago was whenever I felt nauseous, I should chew a piece of mint gum. I was told that the menthol in the mint gum is what alleviates nausea – naturally, I had no idea what that meant. Since I just got over a spell of nausea a few days ago with the help of several pieces of mint gum, I wanted to ask: what about mint gum (or specifically, menthol) helps get rid of nausea?
The main difference I noted whenever chewing gum when I felt queasy was that it helped relax and soothe my stomach. But how and why does it do that? According to LiveStrong, the answer lies within one of the main ingredients – menthol. When ingesting menthol through peppermint, it relaxes your stomach muscles and gets rid of that tight, uncomfortable, cramping feeling that your stomaches get whenever you feel sick. In other words, it acts as a kind of cooling massage to your stomach – kneading all of the knots out until your stomach is stretched, relaxed, and comfortable. This can actually be related to why people tend to feel more relaxed and at ease when smoking cigarettes that contain menthol – it has the same effect.
Any precautions? Yes, but not many. LiveStrong noted that using peppermint as a relief agent should be avoided by people with certain stomach or gastrointestinal problems, as this can actually cause more pain. In other words, the best use of peppermint as a nausea relief would be when you’re sick from food related causes, anxiety, nerves, etc., instead of serious medical concerns and ailments. *(Disclaimer: this is not to undermine the severity of people with anxiety. I am referring to anxiety as for example, being nervous to give an oral presentation in front of the class. In other words, just being nervous).*
Is the use of peppermint for nausea limited to just gum? Nope! A person can use peppermint oils, candy, tea leaves, gum, etc. to alleviate nausea, although peppermint oils would most likely be the most effective route, as it has the most concentration of menthol and a lesser amount of sugar compared to the other options.
Peppermint gum has helped me whenever I had nausea from the day I found out about it. It is a useful “life hack” and can benefit a lot of people that might not have known of its usefulness. So in the end, if you’re feeling nauseous and don’t want to take an Alka Seltzer or force yourself to get sick, peppermint gum can be a helpful alternative. And of course, if symptoms persist, go to the nurse or doctor for additional help.
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