Vomiting: Induction and Prevention

Man vomiting

Vomiting, also known as emesis and throwing up, among other terms, is the involuntary, forceful expulsion of the contents of one's stomach through the mouth and sometimes the nose.

The causes of vomiting differ according to age. For children, it is common for vomiting to occur from a viral infection, food poisoning, milk allergy, motion sickness, overeating or feeding, coughing, or blocked intestines and illnesses in which the child has a high fever.

The timing of the vomiting can indicate the cause. When appearing shortly after a meal, vomiting may be caused by food poisoning, gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), an ulcer, or bulimia. Vomiting one to eight hours after a meal may also indicate food poisoning. However, certain food- borne bacteria, such as salmonella, can take longer to produce symptoms.

Is Vomiting Harmful?

Usually, vomiting is harmless, but it can be a sign of a more serious illness. Read more here: webmd.com

Vomiting in adults

Vomiting in adults isn't usually a sign of anything serious and tends to only last one or two days. Read more here: www.nhs.uk

Vomiting in children and babies

It's normal for babies and children to vomit occasionally. In most cases, it will last no longer than one to two days and isn't a sign of anything serious. Read more here nhs.uk

Induction of

A substance or medication that induces vomiting is known as an emetic. Emetics are useful when it becomes necessary to empty the contents of the stomach because of the ingestion of a poison or toxin of some kind.

Caution: Care should always be taken that the vomit not be aspirated. ‘Vomiting can be dangerous if the gastric content gets into the respiratory tract. Under normal circumstances the gag reflex and coughing prevent this from occurring – however, these protective reflexes are compromised in persons under the influences of certain substances such as alcohol or anesthesia. The individual may choke and asphyxiate or suffer aspiration pneumonia… Prolonged and excessive vomiting also depletes the body of water (dehydration), and may alter the electrolyte status.

Natural treatments

Balloon vine

Make a decoction from the roots (1 teaspoon taken 2 times daily) or eat some leaves.

Emetic swallow-wort

Make a decoction from the dried leaves.

Dose: normal

Indian Acalypha

Use the juice of the leaves to cause vomiting.

Wild Ipecacuanha

Take the juice of the root.

Prevention of

Nausea and vomiting are often the body’s means of ridding itself of a foreign, unpleasant or toxic substance. Persistent vomiting should be a warning that there may be an underlying cause that requires urgent medical attention.

It is also a sign that those treating the sufferer should guard against the potential for his or her dehydration.

When vomiting leads to dehydration from loss of fluids, the affected person may have increased thirst, dry lips, and dry mouth. The person may not urinate often or urine will be darker in color. In children, signs of dehydration include dry lips and mouth, sunken eyes, rapid breathing, lethargy, and dry nappies, indicating the child is not producing urine.

Natural treatment


Dilute the juice of the fruit with water and consume it.


Chew 1 or 2 and hold the extract in the mouth for a while.


Drink the water of the young coconut.

Caution: Excessive use may result in painful or difficult urination.

Curry leaf

Use an infusion of the roasted leaves.

Dose: normal


Consume the peel of the fruit.

Lemon grass

Use extract from the leaves internally with milk or as a herbal tea.


Drink the hot tea of the herb.

Dose: 10 grams for 1 liter of water; use 4 to 5 cups a day.

When to see a doctor

Occasional bouts of nausea and vomiting are usually nothing to worry about. Treatment will depend on what's causing your symptoms.

Consult your doctor 

  • The queasiness is accompanied by fever, abdominal pain, or a severe headache - especially if you haven't had this type of headache before.
  • You're unable to drink anything for twelve hours or keep liquids down for eight hours.
  • The vomiting lasts more than two or three days and is accompanied by diarrhea.
  • You have abdominal pain in your middle or lower right abdomen along with nausea and vomiting.
  • You become dehydrated - you have excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, and severe weakness, dizziness, or light-headedness. 
  • Your vomit resembles coffee grounds or contains noticeable blood.
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