How to Get Rid of Nausea

You’ve most likely experienced the unpleasant feeling of nausea once or twice (or maybe more) in your life, mainly because it can arise for numerous reasons. From sicknesses to pregnancy, or even stress, this condition could have a number of triggers. But when it does arise, do you know how to deal with this unpleasant feeling?

There may be numerous reasons why it strikes, but the good news is there are many ways to get rid of nausea. This article will shed light on different strategies for alleviating nausea, so it won’t impact your day-to-day tasks. Discover home remedies that can treat or relieve this common health issue, so you can be ready whenever it strikes.

What Is Nausea?

Medical News Today defines nausea as “an unpleasant sensation of discomfort or unease in the stomach (queasy stomach), accompanied by an urge to vomit.”1 Other symptoms of nausea include stomach cramping and excessive salivation.2

Sometimes, nausea and vomiting are interchanged as being the same, but actually these are two different terminologies referring to two different conditions. Vomiting is when you expel the contents of your stomach, whether forcibly or involuntarily.3 While there can be rare exceptions, vomiting is usually preceded by nausea. On the other hand, it is possible to feel nauseated but not to vomit.4

What Causes Nausea?

The causes of nausea and vomiting are similar.5 Both these conditions can affect people of any age, whether adults or children. Cleveland Clinic notes that undergoing certain medical treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also cause nausea and vomiting.6 Pregnant women, too, are prone to nausea.

While it is unpleasant, nausea is not a disease, though it could be one of the symptoms of a disease.7 Hence, knowing what triggers it is crucial in alleviating this symptom. Nausea can be triggered by diseases or medical conditions, such as:8

  • Food poisoning like Salmonella
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Infections such as gastroenteritis, aka “stomach flu”
  • Brain tumor
  • Gastroparesis
  • Bulimia
  • Heart attack
  • Inner ear problems (vertigo, labyrinthitis or motion sickness)9

There are also psychological factors that may lead to nausea, such as anxiety10 or social phobia. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia (wherein self-induced vomiting is a hallmark symptom) are also potential triggers.11 Taking certain medications may lead to nausea as side effect. Examples include aspirin, erythromycin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and blood pressure drugs.12

Morning Sickness and Hangover: 2 Other Common Causes of Nausea

As mentioned above, pregnant women are at risk of nausea, mainly because of the many changes happening in their body. In fact, nausea is one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy, affecting over 50% of expectant women. It’s also known as “morning sickness,” and may or may not be accompanied by vomiting.13

In most women, morning sickness stops after the first trimester. It’s not harmful, but if it occurs severely, it could indicate a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. This can be dangerous if left unaddressed, as it can lead to nutrient deficiency for you and your child.14

Another common trigger of nausea is alcohol intake. This occurs because alcohol irritates your stomach lining, leads to dehydration and expands your blood vessels.15 The best thing to do to avoid a hangover is not to drink in the first place — or to at least limit your drinks to just one — but if you do imbibe, there are ways to effectively deal with a hangover. For helpful tips on dealing with hangover nausea and other symptoms, check out this How to Get Rid of a Hangover infographic.

6 Home Remedies for Nausea

Conventional treatments for nausea include taking antiemetic drugs, which work by obstructing certain neurotransmitters in the body.16 However, antiemtics can lead to a number of side effects, some of which may be worse than nausea — examples include blurry vision, severe hypotension and hypersensitivity.17

Instead of relying on these drugs, you can turn to natural remedies for nausea, some of which may be found in your home:

GingerThis ancient herb has been used widely for its antiemetic properties. Using ginger is a safe way to ease nausea particularly during pregnancy.18 It’s also been found effective against motion sickness.19 You can use fresh or dried ginger, or in forms such as capsules, tablets and liquid extracts.20 Sipping on ginger tea is a popular way to get the nausea-relieving benefits of this plant.

Peppermint and spearmint — You can make use of peppermint or spearmint oil, or enjoy a freshly brewed cup of tea using these herbs. A study has found that giving peppermint and spearmint capsules to cancer patients may help ease the nausea that comes with chemotherapy, thanks to the beneficial compounds in these plants.21

Chamomile tea — A study found that chamomile, along with ginger capsules, may also have beneficial effects against nausea during chemotherapy.22 One of the easiest ways to reap this benefit is to brew and sip on freshly brewed chamomile tea. Read more about chamomile tea and why it’s a popular beverage that is well-loved by many people today.

LemonThe tart flavor and citrusy scent of lemons is said to be effective in easing the nausea and vomiting brought on by pregnancy23 There are many ways you can use this citrus fruit:

? Place a few freshly cut lemon wedges in a plastic bag and inhale the scent.24

? Suck on a lemon wedge or sip lemon juice or very tart lemonade25

? Crush a few peeled lemon seeds with a mortar and pestle and mix with honey to make a fine paste and ingest.26

Vitamin B6 supplement — A 2013 study found that taking a 40-milligram dose of vitamin B6 daily helped ease nausea among pregnant women just as efficiently as ginger did.27

Acupressure — A traditional healing art that is based on acupuncture, acupressure involves applying pressure to certain “acupoints” in your body to relieve tension and boost blood circulation. For nausea, you will need to target the pressure point P-6, or Nei guan, found in your inner wrist. The Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center shares these steps on how to do acupressure to ease nausea:28

1. Position your hand in a way that your palm is facing you and your fingers are pointing upward.

2. Put the three middle fingers of your other hand across your wrist, just below the palm. Put your thumb on the inside of your wrist, just below your index finger. There should be two large tendons under your thumb — this is pressure point P-6.

3. Press on P-6 for two to three minutes using your thumb or forefinger. This should be done in a circular motion. The pressure should be firm, but not so hard that it hurts.

4. Repeat this on your other wrist.

You Can Use Essential Oils for Nausea, Too

As mentioned, ginger, lemon and mints like peppermint and spearmint all have antiemetic effects, so it makes sense that their essential oils also provide this benefit. However, if you don’t have these essential oils on hand, you can turn to other types that may prove to have nausea-relieving effects as well.

One example is lavender oil. This essential oil may help ease nausea, especially if its triggers involve pain or anxiety.29 To use lavender oil, simply add a few drops to a basin of cool water and then soak a washcloth in it. Use this as a forehead compress.30 According to “The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy,” other oils that may help ease nausea include:31

  • Bergamot
  • Cardamom oil
  • Grapefruit oil
  • Frankincense Oil
  • Petitgrain oil
  • Sweet orange oil

Essential oils for nausea may work when diffused, inhaled or applied topically. Remember that these oils are highly concentrated and should be diluted in a safe carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil prior to use. Do a skin patch test before applying the oil blend to large areas of your skin, so you will know if you have any sensitivities to the oil. Do not ingest essential oils without the advice of a health care expert, especially if you’re pregnant or suffering from any illness.

Other Helpful Tips to Manage Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea can be uncomfortable and distressing, but if you try the home remedies above, you may be able to break free from its unpleasant grip. Remember these other tips to help manage this symptom:32,33

If your nausea comes with vomiting, make sure to drink plenty of water to replenish your fluids. This will help you avoid dehydration. If it’s difficult to keep liquids down, take small sips.

Stay away from strong smells and fragrances. They can trigger nausea.

Relax and avoid moving too much. Sudden and intense movement may worsen nausea.

Control your breathing. Taking in slow and steady deep breaths can help ease nausea.

Sit upright. This will help support your digestion and relieve nausea. Do not bend backward or forward.

Opt for smaller and more frequent meals instead of two or three heavy ones. Opt for light, bland foods and stay away from greasy, sweet or fried foods.

Most of the time, nausea and vomiting are harmless and can be resolved with home remedies. However, if there are indications of a bigger health problem, it may be best to consult with your physician. Have yourself checked if you notice symptoms along with nausea and vomiting, such as:34

  • Vomiting for more than 24 hours
  • Signs of severe dehydration, such as infrequent urination, dry mouth or dark-colored urine
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Intense headache and stiff neck
  • Blood in the vomit

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Nausea

Q: How can you stop nausea and vomiting without pharmaceutical drugs?

A: There are home remedies you can turn to that can safely ease nausea and vomiting. Lemon, ginger, mints like spearmint and peppermint and vitamin B6 supplements may help with this uncomfortable problem. You can also try acupressure.

Q: What should I eat for nausea?

A: Sucking on a piece of lemon wedge or a drinking tart lemon juice may help ease nausea.35 It’s also best to eat light and bland foods and avoid greasy fried foods. Opt for small meals instead of large ones.36

Q: Can nausea be a sign of cancer?

A: According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, there are some cases when stomach cancer may cause nausea and vomiting.37

Q: How should you sleep when you’re nauseated?

A: According to WebMD, sleeping with your head higher than your feet is an ideal position if you feel nauseated. Also remember not to lie down after eating.38

Weekly Health Quiz: Glyphosate, Exercise and Sleep

1 Which of the following types of exercise has been shown to be particularly effective for diabetes and insulin resistance?

  • Stretching
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Strength training

    Research shows strength training is particularly beneficial for lowering your risk of insulin resistance and diabetes. Strength training improves your glucose metabolism by increasing glucose transporter type 4 translocation into skeletal muscle, which is required for proper regulation of glucose uptake in your muscles. It also increases your insulin sensitivity, as lean muscle is highly sensitive to insulin. Learn more.

  • Low-impact exercise such as Tai-chi

2 Which of the following statements is true?

  • The MMR II (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine was thoroughly tested on tens of thousands of children prior to licensing in 1978
  • Pre-licensing trials of the MMR II vaccine, numbering in the dozens, show negligible harm
  • The MMR vaccine has been widely tested on all age groups, including babies as young as 6 months, pregnant women, adults and the elderly
  • The MMR II vaccine was licensed based on eight clinical trials of less than 1,000 children and results show about half of those receiving the MMR developed upper respiratory illness and/or gastrointestinal illness

    FDA documents obtained via FOIA requests filed by the Informed Consent Action Network reveal the MMR II vaccine was licensed based on clinical trials involving just 834 children, of which only 342 received the MMR vaccine; results show a shocking amount of vaccine reactions, especially upper respiratory illness and gastrointestinal illness, the latter of which is a common complaint among children with autism spectrum disorder. Learn more.

3 Research shows a majority of urinary tract infections are the result of:

  • Exposure to raw chicken contaminated with E. coli

    Studies using DNA matching have shown a majority of urinary tract infections are the result of exposure to contaminated chicken, not sexual contact. Learn more.

  • Sexual contact with an infected person
  • Transfer of E.coli from your anus to your urethra
  • Exposure to pork contaminated with E. coli

4 Which of the following are now required by the FDA to carry a black box warning, stating side effects include dangerous behaviors that can lead to injury or death?

  • Diabetes drugs
  • Sleeping pills

    On April 30, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will require sedative-hypnotics — a class of sleep medication used to treat insomnia — to carry a black box warning stating drug side effects may include dangerous behaviors, such as eating, walking, driving or engaging in a range of activities in your sleep that can lead to injury or death. Learn more.

  • Cholesterol-lowering medication
  • Energy drinks

5 Which of the following chemicals produced by your body is responsible for many aspects of runner’s high?

  • Endorphins
  • Oxytocin
  • The cannabinoid anandamide

    While runner’s high is typically attributed to the release of endorphins, running also dramatically increases the cannabinoid anandamide in your body. According to research, your “cannabinoid receptors are crucial for main aspects of a runner’s high.” Learn more.

  • Cortisol

6 Glyphosate has been called a probable carcinogen by:

  • U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control
  • U.N.’s Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer

    Glyphosate was declared a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015. Learn more.

7 Cutting edge cancer research led by Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D., suggests that in order to safely and effectively treat cancer, you must:

  • Restrict fermentable fuels — glucose and glutamine — in a cyclical fashion to avoid causing damage to the immune system

    All cancer cells, regardless of tissue origin, are fermenters. They ferment lactic acid from glucose as a substrate. Cancer cells also need glutamine to survive and thrive. Press-pulse cancer treatment, which is under development by Thomas Seyfried, involves restricting the fermentable fuels — glucose and glutamine — in a cyclical fashion to avoid causing damage to the immune system. Learn more.

  • Combine radiation and chemo in a pulsed fashion
  • Combine radiation and/or chemo with a vegetarian diet
  • Avoid biopsies and leave tumors to resolve on their own

May 20 Is World Bee Day

Two years ago, in December 2017, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 20 of each year as World Bee Day.1 The resolution was the result of an initiative started in 2015 by the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of bees and other pollinating insects, all of which are threatened with extinction thanks to a wide range of toxic human activities.2

As explained by the U.N.,3 May 20 was chosen because it “coincides with the birthday of Anton Janša, who in the 18th century pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in his native Slovenia and praised the bees for their ability to work so hard, while needing so little attention.”

While bumble bees might be the most well-recognized, there are in fact between 25,000 and 30,000 different species of bees across the globe. On the Center for Food Safety’s website4 you can find a listing of some of the most common species, such as sweat bees, digger bees, carpenter bees, cuckoo bees, long-horned bees and many more.

More than 75% of the world’s food crops depend on these and other pollinators, either wholly or in part, as do 90% of wild flowering plants.5 What’s more, in the past 50 years, there’s been a 300% increase in the volume of crops being produced that are dependent on pollination.6

As such, “Caring for bees and other pollinators is part of the fight against world hunger,” the U.N. says.7 It’s also important to protect and maintain biodiversity among bee species to ensure agricultural resilience.

Report on Global Biodiversity Warns of Troubling Times Ahead

The first report8 on “The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture” by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture., issued in April 2019, warns that biodiversity is dwindling across the globe, thereby threatening global food production and human survival.

All forms of life — animals, plants and microorganisms necessary for food, feed, fuel and fibers — are losing diversity. As reported by worldbeeday.org:9

“Of around 6,000 species of agricultural plants, fewer than 200 contribute to global food production, and just nine of them account for 66% of total crop yields. World livestock production is based on approximately 40 animal species, with just a handful providing the vast majority of meat, milk and eggs. The catch quantity is being exceeded for a third of fish stocks, while more than half have reached their limit of sustainability …

At the meeting of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture the European Region proposed that the results of this report be included in the strategy of biodiversity being drawn up by FAO.

Several countries proposed that countries should respond to the main conclusions of the report by including the findings and content in national policies, legislation, programmes and projects in the area of biodiversity in agriculture, forestry and food, in line with their capacities, while there is also an urgent need to formulate further measures to implement the conclusions from the report.

The report will also be important for discussion on the global framework for biodiversity as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity after 2020 and for achieving the sustainable development goals of Agenda 2030.”

Another global assessment report10 on pollinators, pollination and food production, released by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in 2016, found an estimated 16% of the vertebrate pollinators around the world are threatened by extinction, as are 30% of island species. According to IPBES vice-chair, Sir Robert Watson::11

“Wild pollinators in certain regions, especially bees and butterflies, are being threatened by a variety of factors. Their decline is primarily due to changes in land use, intensive agricultural practices and pesticide use, alien invasive species, diseases and pests, and climate change.”

Bee Species Declining Across Northwestern US

Similarly, researchers at the University of New Hampshire warn there’s been a “dramatic decline” of 14 wild bee species needed for pollination of apples, blueberries, cranberries and other crops grown in the Northwest. 12 Sandra Rehan, assistant professor of biological sciences, told Science Daily:13

“We know that wild bees are greatly at risk and not doing well worldwide. This status assessment of wild bees shines a light on the exact species in decline, beside the well-documented bumble bees. Because these species are major players in crop pollination, it raises concerns about compromising the production of key crops and the food supply in general.

We found that wild bee species that once greatly populated more southern areas near sea level are now in decline. While up north in more mountainous areas, like the White Mountains, those same species persist which is an indicator of how climate change is affecting certain populations, especially in the Seacoast area.”

Using museum data stretching back 125 years (1891 through 2016), the researchers analyzed the prevalence of 119 wild bee species that are native to New Hampshire but also widespread across the Northeast and North America as a whole.

Fourteen of the species were found to have significantly declined while eight species have significantly increased. Out of the 14 species in decline, 13 are ground nesters and one is a cavity nester. Overall, both declining and increasing species have been migrating northward over the last 125 years, suggesting changes in climate are a driving factor.

‘Bee Safe’ Pesticide Is Harmful to Bees, Research Shows

In related news, the pesticide Sivanto (flupyradifurone), which its maker, Bayer CropScience, claims is completely safe for bees, may not be so safe after all. A yearlong investigation14 by the University of California (UC) San Diego found Bayer’s testing appears to have excluded common use cases that lead to abnormal behavior and increased mortality in exposed bees.

Sivanto, developed to replace neonicotinoid pesticides, which are known to contribute to bee die-offs, was registered for commercial use in 2014 and is currently available in 30 countries including the U.S. and countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. Another 65 countries are also expected to give Sivanto the green-light of approval.

It’s “bee safe” classification permits Sivanto to be sprayed on crops that are in bloom with actively foraging bees. However, according to this study, the pesticide “could in fact pose a range of threats to honeybees depending on seasonality, bee age and use in combination with common chemicals such as fungicides,” the press release states.15

The video above demonstrates the abnormal activity and motor coordination deficits exhibited by exposed bees. As noted in the press release, the researchers:16

“… showed that worst-case, field-realistic doses of Sivanto, in combination with a common fungicide, can synergistically harm bee behavior and survival, depending upon season and bee age. Bees suffered greater mortality — compared with control groups observed under normal conditions — and exhibited abnormal behavior, including poor coordination, hyperactivity and apathy.”

Pesticides Need More Rigorous Risk Assessment

Importantly, while official guidelines for pesticide risk assessment focus testing on bees inside the hive, the researchers discovered that the foragers are actually more susceptible to harm, in part because they’re more likely to be exposed and in part due to their age. Younger honeybees work inside the colony while the older ones forage outside the hive.

In the case of Sivanto, the harmful effects were four times greater on foragers than in-hive bees. Needless to say, this still threatens the health of the entire colony. The harm was also greater on both types of worker bees during the summer, compared to spring.

“According to the authors, the standard measurements of only lethal effects are insufficient for assessing the complexity of pesticide effects,” the press release notes.17 Lead researcher Simone Tosi, who works at ANSES, the French agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, commented:18

“This work is a step forward toward a better understanding of the risks that pesticides could pose to bees and the environment. Our results highlight the importance of assessing the effects pesticides have on the behavior of animals, and demonstrate that synergism, seasonality and bee age are key factors that subtly change pesticide toxicity.”

James Nieh, professor of biological sciences at UC San Diego, added:19

“Because standard risk assessment requires relatively limited tests that only marginally address bee behavior and do not consider the influence of bee age and season, these results raise concerns about the safety of multiple approved pesticides, not only Sivanto.

This research suggests that pesticide risk assessments should be refined to determine the effects of commonly encountered pesticide cocktails upon bee behavior and survival … The idea that this pesticide is a silver bullet in the sense that it will kill all the bad things but preserve the good things is very alluring but deserves caution.”

How to Celebrate World Bee Day and Protect Bees Every Day

On worldbeeday.org, a number of suggestions can be found for how kindergartens and schools can get involved and celebrate World Bee Day with educational activities.20 For example, schools are encouraged to get together with local beekeeping associations to organize a visit to a local beekeeper where the children can learn about bees and nectar-bearing plants, honey production and how to set up a hive.

On a more individual basis, there are a number of things you can do to help protect our pollinators, not only on World Bee Day but every day. Following are several suggestions issued by worldbeeday.org:21

Plant nectar-bearing flowers in your garden, yard or balcony to help feed the bees, and be sure to avoid using toxic pesticides and herbicides that might hurt pollinators! If you have a farm, large or small, be sure to incorporate flowers that support the wild bee population. The following video, made by Project Integrated Crop Pollination, demonstrates helpful planting practices.


Buy honey and other hive products from local beekeepers to help keep them in business.

Teach your children about the importance of bees and beekeepers.

Set up a beehive.

Preserve meadows and sow wildflowers in your garden, making sure the wildflower mix you choose contains flowers native to your area. Non-native plants do not contribute as much toward the care and feeding of local insects, as they are not able to adapt and feed on whatever is available. Hybridized plants also do not provide proper nourishment, and can be likened to “junk food” for insects, as they do not provide much in terms of nourishment.22

Wait to cut meadow grass until the nectar-bearing plants have finished blooming, so as not to rob bees of crucial nourishment.

Avoid using toxic pesticides and herbicides. Even when using a nontoxic product, make sure to spray it when there’s little to no wind, and either early in the morning or late at night, when bees are not actively foraging.

Blooming plants and trees that must be sprayed with pesticides should be mulched before spraying to avoid attracting bees.

New Study Shows Skullcap Herb Repairs Brain Injury

The skullcap herb, not to be confused with the deadly autumn skullcap mushroom,1 comes in two varieties: the American skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) and Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis).2 Although they come from the same family and have medical uses, they are not interchangeable.

The American skullcap is found in North America but is also grown in Europe in other areas of the world. Many of the studies done on skullcap have used Chinese skullcap, native to China and parts of Russia. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for the treatment of infections, headaches, inflammation and allergies.3

The American skullcap gets its name from the cap-like appearance of the purple or blue flowers gracing the heavily branched plant.4 The plant grows to 4 feet in height and may be found growing wild in the woods. The Chinese skullcap flowers on a single stem growing 1 foot high.5 Both herbs are available as a powdered extract, and the American skullcap may be found in liquid form.

One flavonoid compound — scutellarin — is found in the plant genus Scutellaria and Erigeron.6 An extract from the herb Erigeron breviscapus — breviscapine — has been used in TCM and in the treatment of a variety of diseases. Breviscapine contains high amounts of scutellarin, and scutellarin is also found in the American and Chinese skullcap herbs.

Flavonoid in Skullcap Has Neuroprotective Effect After Brain Injury

Breviscapine is an extract of flavonoids from the herb Erigeron breviscapus, which contains 85% of scutellarin also found in Scutellaria, or skullcap.7 A recent study published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry8 investigated the neuroprotective effects of breviscapine after traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Researchers induced a closed diffuse TBI in rats and then injected breviscapine into their abdomen 30 minutes later. The researchers performed neurological scores to measure behavioral outcomes as an indication of neurological damage. Histopathological tissue sections of the rat’s brains were subsequently used to evaluate cellular damage.

The researchers found nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nrf2) and downstream proteins in the brain tissue. They concluded breviscapine could alleviate or reduce cell death following a TBI and improve neurobehavioral functions through upregulation of Nrf2.9

Nrf2 has been described as the “master regulator of oxidative responses.”10 It is recognized as one of the major mediators in the resolution of inflammation and has been found to induce the expression of antioxidants that are crucial in the initiation of healing.

The Journal of Cellular Biochemistry study11 concluded that the downstream proteins12 (including HO-1 and NQO-1) detected in the histological tissue sections indicated upregulation of Nrf2. Expression of Nrf2 and the interaction with signaling pathways may facilitate development of therapeutic approaches to help reduce chronic inflammatory diseases.

Nrf2 is also a regulator of cellular resistance to oxidants,13 as part of a complex antioxidant defense system. It may also control the expression of genes involved in detoxification and elimination of reactive oxidants.14

Protective Effect of Scutellarin Found in Heart, Liver and Kidney Studies

The protective effect breviscapine initiates in the NRF2 pathway against cellular apoptosis and oxidative stress following injury may also play a role in the positive effects it plays in the heart, liver and kidneys. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center15 reports scutellarin has purported uses in atherosclerosis, inflammation, epilepsy and hepatitis.

In a study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology,16 researchers used Sprague-Dawley rats to induce focal cerebral ischemia and heart ischemia followed by treatment with breviscapine or scutellarin. Their results found the protective effects of scutellarin in both the heart and brain were better than the mixture in breviscapine.

An article in the Frontiers in Pharmacology17 reported several clinical studies found breviscapine may be used in conjunction with medication for a variety of cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, chronic heart failure and pulmonary heart disease.

The active antioxidant effect also reduces liver ischemia-reperfusion injury. In a study18 of 40 rats, histopathologic analysis was performed 24 hours after reperfusion. Researchers found breviscapine reduced injury by inhibiting liver oxidative stress. During an ischemic event, cellular death begins. When blood supply is restored, additional damage may occur from free radical activity.19

Several other studies have described a renal protective effect of breviscapine in animal20 and human studies. In one meta-analysis,21 researchers found breviscapine injections had a therapeutic effect in those with diabetic nephropathy, including a renal protective effect.

Another22 found breviscapine injections, in combination with antihypertensive drugs, improved clinical outcomes in those treated for hypertensive nephropathy and could serve as a renal protective strategy for patients.

Additional Health Benefits From Scutellarin

In a letter to the editor in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine,23 researchers describe the use of breviscapine in an animal study demonstrating its effect against pulmonary embolism. They concluded there was a reduction in inflammation in the lung tissues, which facilitated reduction in vasoconstriction.

Scutellarin has a traditional use as a potent antiplatelet agent. In one study,24 using mice with induced endometriosis, researchers concluded scutellarin was an efficient treatment by suppressing platelet aggregation and inhibiting proliferation, fibrogenesis and angiogenesis. These factors resulted in a reduction in lesion size and an improvement in pain in the mice.

American skullcap is also a traditional herbal medicine used in the treatment of stress and anxiety.25 In one placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study26 using 43 healthy participants, researchers found American skullcap “significantly enhanced global mood without a reduction in energy or cognition.”

The effects of scutellarin have also been considered a promising candidate for the development of therapeutic drugs against transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) leading to the loss of neurons and synaptic functions.27 In humans, TSEs include neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, Chinese skullcap has antihistamine properties, traditionally used to treat allergic rhinitis, asthma and eczema.28 Scutellarin has also demonstrated in vitro antibacterial and in vivo anti-inflammatory properties.29

Researchers found the anti-inflammatory effects of scutellarin to be helpful as an additional treatment with bleomycin, a broad-spectrum antitumor drug. The study30 was aimed at investigating a combined treatment protocol using in vivo and in vitro experiments in animals.

The results suggested scutellarin enhanced the anticancer effect of bleomycin, and at the same time reduced the drug’s side effect of pulmonary fibrosis.31 The herb also has been used in TCM for the treatment of:32,33,34

Diarrhea

Dysentery

Hemorrhaging

High blood pressure

Respiratory infections

Neuroprotection

Insomnia

Cancer

Virus

Inflammation

Liver protection

Bacteria

Seizures

Acne

Arthritis

Potential Side Effects of Skullcap

While use of herbs is a traditional approach to strengthen the immune system and treat disease, some may trigger side effects and interact with supplements or medications. Penn State Milton S Hershey Medical Center35 warns that the American skullcap herb has been contaminated in the past and so should be obtained from a reliable source.

Those with diabetes should take Chinese skullcap only under a doctor’s supervision, as it may reduce blood sugar levels and raise the risk of hypoglycemia. Chinese skullcap may exacerbate stomach or spleen problems and should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.36

American skullcap may induce mental confusion, irregular heartbeat and seizures when taken in high doses. Both also have a sedative effect and may increase the effect from anticonvulsants, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants, alcohol and drugs used to treat insomnia.37

The Flowers Are Beautiful and the Tea Promotes Relaxation and Other Health Benefits

While skullcap is available in powder and tincture form, you may also enjoy a hot cup of skullcap tea in the evening. Take care if you drink it during the day as it has a sedative effect. Driving or operating machinery after drinking it may be dangerous.

You may get two servings of tea from 1 tablespoon of high-quality skullcap herb and 2 cups of boiling water.38 Steep the tea in a teapot for 10 minutes and then, if you prefer, sweeten with raw honey, Luo han or stevia.

American skullcap typically blooms between May and August in zones 4 to 839 and prefers partial shade to full sun, while Chinese skullcap enjoys full sun and dry sandy soil. Skullcap may easily be grown from seed as they germinate at a naturally high rate, especially when stratified.40

In this process,41 you treat the seeds to simulate germination. Cold stratification is easily done in the refrigerator. Mix a quarter cup of sand in a mixing bowl and add water until it can form ball. Add your desired seed amount to the sand, mix it thoroughly and place it in a bag in the refrigerator for one week.

The seeds can be sown indoors before the first frost or outdoors once the threat of frost is gone. Ensure the soil is moist, but well-drained. You may also propagate by dividing roots or cuttings and allowing them to spread. Skullcap can be harvested once the flowers are in full bloom using a pair of scissors or shears to retrieve the flowers and leaves.

Cognitive Benefits of Magnesium L-Threonate

Described as a patented compound with the ability to enhance working memory, short- and long-term memory and learning in animal studies, magnesium L-threonate (shortened to MgT and pronounced “Mag T”) was developed by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010.

The animal study that first introduced MgT, published in Neuron in 2010,1 noted its ability to rapidly absorb into the brain, which structurally reversed specific aspects of brain aging by increasing the number of “functional presynaptic release sites while it reduced their release probability.”2

Magnesium is already recognized as a mineral required by your body for more than 300 crucial biological functions, such as contracting your muscles, maintaining your heartbeat, creating energy and activating nerves to send and receive messages.

However, with all its importance to your bodily functions, a large percentage of the U.S. population is deficient in magnesium, with about half not getting the recommended amounts: 310 to 320 milligrams (mg) for women and 400 to 420 mg for men.3 Presumed deficiencies vary depending on your health status and age; for example, having heart disease and being elderly increase the risk for being deficient in magnesium, one analysis found.4

But still, no matter the age, it’s apparent that magnesium deficiency is a genuine health concern worldwide. In fact, in 2006 a French study of 2,373 subjects aged 4 to 82 concluded that 71.7% of men and 82.5% of women weren’t getting adequate amounts of magnesium.5

People with low magnesium levels are at risk for a number of serious disorders, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and other signs of metabolic syndrome, as well as osteoporosis.6

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in 20167 notes MgT’s benefits in the areas of anxiety, sleep disorders and cognitive dysfunction in human adults. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial took place in three separate institutions, and involved participants between the ages of 50 and 70 with reported episodes of memory problems, sleep disorders and anxiety.

In short, the study found brain atrophy is a natural part of aging, but supplementation with magnesium L-threonate, aka MMFS-01, for 12 weeks improved and even reversed symptoms in the study group:

“With MMFS-01 treatment, overall cognitive ability improved significantly relative to placebo. Cognitive fluctuation was also reduced.

The study population had more severe executive function deficits than age-matched controls from normative data and MMFS-01 treatment nearly restored their impaired executive function, demonstrating that MMFS-01 may be clinically significant … The current study demonstrates the potential of MMFS-01 for treating cognitive impairment in older adults.”

Scientists Double Down on Reversing Brain Aging

To come to this conclusion, this study conducted baseline cognitive testing, with the first follow-up testing six weeks later. Then, for 12 weeks, study subjects were randomly dosed daily with either placebos or 1,500 to 2,000 mg of MgT, depending on body weight, as cognitive tests were repeated at six-week and 12-week intervals in the areas of:

  • Executive function
  • Working memory
  • Attention
  • Episodic memory (ability to recall fleeting events)

Significantly, the most “startling” finding is that not only does MgT enhance performance on individual cognitive tests in older adults with cognitive impairment, but it serves to reverse brain aging by more than nine years.8 The study’s findings revealed four significant results from MgT use:

  1. Improved body magnesium status — After 12 weeks, two things were noted in the treated group: They exhibited significantly increased red blood-cell magnesium concentration, indicating high circulating levels of magnesium in the body; and significant urinary output of magnesium, showing that large amounts of magnesium were absorbed.
  2. Improved cognitive abilities — Visual attention and task switching revealed (in some cases as early as six weeks) increases in performance speed for executive function and cognitive processing. Notably, overall composite scores rose steeply compared with baseline scores and with placebo recipients at Weeks 6 and 12.
  3. Reduced fluctuation in cognitive ability — Cognitive functions that are worse some days than others is one sign that mild cognitive impairment may be developing.9,10 Those on the placebo showed notable fluctuation in their cognitive scores, while the MgT group reflected mostly positive changes.
  4. Reversed clinical measures of brain aging — Perhaps the most significant finding, which explains how MgT can “turn back time” in aging brains.

MgT and the Blood-Brain Barrier

MgT boosts the magnesium levels in your brain when taken orally due to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. Once it’s in your brain, it increases the density of synapses, the communication connections between brain cells. What’s more, MgT increases this function in precisely the places needed.11,12,13

The importance of getting it to your brain shows why it isn’t as simple as adding magnesium to your diet, as MgT works differently than typical magnesium, which doesn’t reach the brain to change the factors of brain aging.14

Even raising blood magnesium levels by 300% (known as “induced hypermagnesemia”) doesn’t change cerebrospinal fluid levels by more than 19%.15 An all-encompassing study showing the complex regulatory functions of the blood-brain barrier notes:

“The environment exerts profound effects on the brain. A large body of evidence shows that brain plasticity is strongly affected by exposure to stimulating environments, with beneficial consequences throughout the entire life span.”16

One reason these discoveries were deemed critical is because there’s a connection between a loss of synaptic density, brain shrinkage and subsequent cognitive decline, the study authors said.

Understanding How MgT Rejuvenates Aging Brains

According to researchers, your brain doesn’t age at the same rate as the rest of your body. For instance, a 60-year-old can have a brain that essentially functions like that of someone a decade older. How that varies is measurable via performance test scores as well as physiological parameters.17,18,19 It can also happen in cases of traumatic brain injury.20

The MMFS-01 study shows an average chronological age of 57.8 years in their study participants. However, their cognitive function averaged 68.3 years of age — about a 10-year difference.

But supplementing with MgT made a dynamic difference: The subjects’ collective brain age decreased from 69.6 at the start of the study to just 60.6 in just six weeks’ time — a nine-year brain age drop. The improvements continued through all 12 weeks, with the brain age at the end averaging 9.4 years younger, which closely matched their peers with healthy brains.

The takeaway is the remarkable difference that magnesium, and more specifically, MgT, makes in regard to turning back time in people whose brain age is greater than that of their chronological age.

Studies also show how increasing concentrations of magnesium in cultured brain cells from the hippocampus (where memories are stored and retrieved) boosts both synaptic density and brain plasticity.21,22 The reasons this is important are twofold:

  • Synaptic density isn’t just the measure of the structural integrity of brain synapses, but evidence suggests that greater synaptic density results in more efficient cognitive processing.23
  • Plasticity is a measure of the speed at which synaptic connections can change with new stimuli — it’s essentially learning at the cellular level.24,25,26,27

Sleep Factors and Anxiety Observed in Cognitive Decline

Researchers cited a number of earlier studies exploring factors contributing to cognitive decline. Sleep loss28 and anxiety disorders29 with perceived memory loss. Not surprisingly, people with this particular set of conditions are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, as the following studies can attest.

In a review published in 2013, researchers from several hospitals and research centers in St. Louis reported that symptoms of sleep disorders, anxiety and disrupted circadian rhythms are common in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In their study objective, the authors wrote:

“Recent animal studies suggest a bidirectional relationship between sleep and amyloid-? (A?), a key molecule involved in AD (Alzheimer’s) pathogenesis. This study tested whether A? deposition in preclinical AD, prior to the appearance of cognitive impairment, is associated with changes in quality or quantity of sleep.”30

The upshot was that amyloid deposition was associated with an inferior quality of sleep, specifically worse sleep efficiency (the percentage of time in bed spent actually sleeping) in comparison with those without amyloid deposition, although sleep time was similar in both groups. Significantly, “Frequent napping was associated with amyloid deposition.”31

In 2007, scientists in Sweden followed 185 people for three years with no cognitive impairment along with another 47 people with depressive symptoms related to mood, motivation and anxiety. Interestingly, the scientists observed, “The predictive validity of mild cognitive impairment for identifying future Alzheimer disease cases is improved in the presence of anxiety symptoms.”32

Another 2013 study33 as a collaboration between researchers in California observed that aging is associated with regional brain atrophy, reduced slow wave activity during non-REM sleep and impaired long-term retention of episodic memories. The researchers found that age-related gray-matter atrophy was linked to sleep disorders and impaired long-term memory.

What Does Calcium Have to Do With Magnesium?

There are a few little-known but important factors regarding magnesium. One is that like other minerals, your body doesn’t produce it, so it must be derived from an outside source. Second, magnesium works hand in hand with calcium, and the optimal ratio between magnesium and calcium is 1-to-1.

However, doctors have mistakenly pushed women in particular to concentrate on their calcium intake to avoid problems with osteoporosis. With insufficient amounts of magnesium, your heart can’t function properly. When the balance between the two favors calcium, especially to the 2-to-1 ratio promoted by doctors over the past 30 years, it can result in a heart attack.

In one study,34 high incidences of hip fractures in Norway were thought to be a result of an imbalance between the concentration of calcium and magnesium in municipal drinking water. In fact, 5,472 men and 13,604 women aged 50 to 85 years suffered hip fractures, which, after an investigation, researchers concluded that increasing magnesium may protect against them.

In addition, keeping your vitamin K2 and vitamin D intake on par with magnesium and calcium is also important. The four work together. For instance, people whose magnesium intake was relatively high were shown in one study35 to be less likely to have a vitamin D deficiency, compared with people with an inadequate magnesium intake.

If you opt for a magnesium supplement, note that there are several different forms. Additionally, one way to get it is through taking regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths. This form of magnesium, magnesium sulfate, absorbs into your skin to raise your levels.

Essentially, since you get only one brain to last your entire life, scientists believe supplementing with MgT appears to be imperative for anyone wanting to preserve brain function, and even recover some function that was lost.