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       More Seasickness Remedies

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The TravelWell product has been under research with the MRC Spatial Disorientation Group, Imperial College School of Medicine, London, United Kingdom. Their published report - printed in the American Journal of Travel Medicine with results listed in the American National Library of Medicine concludes TravelWell does in fact work.
To view the abstract of the report at the NLM please click here:


About 1 gram of powdered ginger has been shown effective against motion sickness in double-blind studies. In Germany, up to 4 grams per day is recommended.

Start dosing the night before a dive; the beauty of the ginger is it's easy to obtain and had no side effects. You might try gingersnap cookies instead. Ginger root works just as well as the tablets or powder. Ginger ale can also be used. Japanese food marts sell pickled ginger slices that can be used for the same purpose. Ginger: Non-toxic Anti-Emetic

Botanical Name: Zingiber officinale

Plant Part Used: The rhizome

Active Constituents: The dried rhizome contains approximately 1 to 4% volatile oils. The aromatic principles include the sesquiterpene hydrocarbons zingiberene and bisabolene. The pungent principles include the gingerols and shogaols.

Actions on the Digestive System: Classified as an aromatic bitter, ginger stimulates digestion. It is also noted for improving gastrointestinal motility.

1. Ginger also improves the production and secretion of bile from the liver and gallbladder.

2. Ginger also qualifies as a carminative herb. Animal studies in Saudi Arabia show that ginger protects the stomach from the damaging effect of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen is an example) and alcohol.

3. Ginger is a noted anti-emetic. While most research has suggested that this action is centered in the GI tract in humans, recent animal studies suggest that there may be some action on the central nervous system also.

4. Health Care Applications Motion Sickness: Ginger has been widely studied as a treatment for motion sickness. A 1982 study found that ginger was superior to dimenhydrinate for reducing motion sickness (caused by rotating a chair). The dose of ginger was 940 mg and it was consumed 20 to 25 minutes before the test

5. A handful of studies since have both agreed and disagreed with these results. One study tested ginger against seasickness in eighty Danish naval cadets unaccustomed to sailing in heavy seas. One gram of ginger reduced vomiting and cold sweating. Fewer symptoms of nausea and vertigo were also reported.

6. A study completed at Louisiana State University with a grant from NASA is more skeptical. Because motion sickness is common in astronauts, the researchers compared the anti-motion sickness activity of ginger and scopolamine (commonly used as a topical patch to treat motion sickness). Using the rotating chair test, they found that scopolomine was effective in reducing motion sickness while one gram of either fresh or dried ginger was not.

7. However, during their discussion of the study, the authors note that the ginger group did have a noticeable reduction in the incidence of vomiting and sweating but not nausea and vertigo.


You might also like to try a spoonful or two of honey (take creamed honey when travelling, as the runny stuff gets everywhere).


Or, buy or make seasickness bands. They are merely elastic straps you wear around the wrists which press an acupressure point that is supposedly marvelously effective in preventing motion sickness.

Phenytoin (Dilantin)

Several divers have written about the effectiveness of Epanutin (TM), a brand of phenytoin, (Dilantin in the US). This drug is used and approved for the control of seizure activity. Dosage has not been developed for the medication to be used for seasickness - although reports from divers indicate that it be taken the night before the dive. (South Africa).

There have been several studies where a single dose of phenytoin [200 mg] was given to volunteers who where then spun around. It seems there was a significant decrease in incidents of nausea in those subjects that were given the phenytoin. It seems that it acts on the nervous system of the digestive tract to decrease nervous activity associated with nausea.


  1. Chelan W, Kabrisky M, Hatsell C, et al. Use of phenytoin in the prevention of motion sickness. Aviat Space Environ Med 1990; 61: 1022-1025. <PubMed>
  2. Woodard D, Knox G, Myers KJ, et al. Phenytoin as a countermeasure for motion sickness in NASA maritime operations. Aviat Space Environ Med 1993; 64: 363-366. <PubMed>
  3. Knox GW, Woodard D, Chelan W, et al. Phenytoin for motion sickness: clinical evaluation. Laryngoscope 1994; 104: 935-939. <PubMed>
  4. Chelan W, Ahmed N, Kabrisky M, Roger S. Computerized task battery assessment of cognitive and performance effects of acute phenytoin motion sickness therapy. Aviat Space Environ Med 1993; 64: 201-205. <PubMed>
  5. Stern RM, Uijtdehaage SH, Muth ER, Koch KL. Effects of phenytoin on vection-induced motion sickness and gastric myoelectric activity. Aviat Space Environ Med 1994; 65: 518-521. <PubMed>

That was the good news, here the is bad news:

1. Phenytoin is a prescription drug here in the United States, you can't just drop by the local pharmacy and pick some up.

2. It has some side effects that would be adverse to scuba diving should they occur at depth. These include ataxia, slurred speech, blurred vision, nystagmus, mental confusion, hallucination, headache and dizziness. Thus, it would be advisable for the diver to have 'tested' his/her reaction to the medication before the dive. These side effects may not show with just a single dose, but the actions of this drug combined with the effects of nitrogen narcosis need to be considered.

3. There are many drug interactions with phenytoin. Taking this drug while using other medications may produce the side effects that I mentioned above.

In the U.S. its trade name is Dilantin. However, this drug is approved for epilepsy and not for sea sickness.

Various Remedies

Stugeron (cinnarizine) is an antihistamine, as is dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), meclizine (Bonine, and Dramamine II), and promethazine (Phenergan), (though this last is also a phenothiazine, centrally acting antiemetic)

Stugeron - originally developed for use in the treatment of Parkinson's disease . Is said to work very well for most people with fewer side effects than scopolamine , et al .

Stugeron(Janssen) - cinnarizine is an antihistamine prescribed for motion sickness - 30mg before travel then 15mg every 8 hrs.

Another highly touted treatment is Emmetrol, an inexpensive and readily available remedy with few side effects.


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 Ernest Campbell, MD, FACS All Rights Reserved.


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