The causes of vomiting are diverse and include gastritis, indigestion, gastrointestinal infection, worm infestation, obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract, inflammatory diseases of abdominal organs, myocardial infarction, raised intracranial pressure, motion sickness, pregnancy, uraemia, drugs, acute hepatitis and liver failure and may be psychogenic.
Psychogenic vomiting without any gastrointestinal cause is seen in persons suffering from anxiety and it usually occurs in the morning on awakening. Early morning vomiting is a frequent symptom in hypersensitive pregnant women in early pregnancy. This type of vomiting rarely occurs in the later part of the day. Water brash (regurgitation of stomach juices into the mouth), nausea, loss of appetite, salty taste in the mouth, etc. are the common associated symptoms of vomiting resulting from gastrointestinal causes. These symptoms do not accompany vomiting of psychogenic origin. By and large, this type of vomiting is a short-lived symptom and manageable with diet regulation and simple medication. Acute vomiting causes dehydration, fluid and electrolyte imbalance. Weight loss may result from chronic vomiting.
Ascertaining the cause of vomiting is essential so as to rule out serious illnesses. However, irrespective of the cause and nature of vomiting, it is always important to treat this symptom to prevent fluid and electrolyte imbalance in the body system and untoward effects on the functioning of vital organs.
Judicious use of simple home remedies such as cardamom (Ela) is effective in successful management of vomiting and should be resorted to, in case proper medical care is not readily available.
Dose and mode of administration
(1) Seed powder of Ela (Cardamom) is recommended in a dose of 250 milligrams to 500 milligrams (about 3-4 pinches), for adults and 60-120 mg for children, two to three times a day with a little warm water or any soft, sweet syrup, e.g. honey. It is advisable to consume the powder on an empty stomach or half-an-hour before eating meals.
(2) The best way to consume Ela powder for control of vomiting is to swallow it with a small amount of water or syrup. Intake with a large amount of water or any other liquid should be avoided.
(3) In cases of vomiting due to indigestion, gastritis, pregnancy and high levels of blood urea in kidney failure, it is advisable to administer concoction of Ela powder in small frequent doses for fast absorption of the medicine.
(4) Concoction is prepared by putting half to one teaspoonful (2.5 to 5 grams) of Ela powder in 30 milliliters of warm water and kept as such for 30 minutes and then it is filtered on getting cooled. Infusion is given in the dose of 5 to 10 milliliters (one to two teaspoonfuls) at regular intervals and is to be consumed the same day.
Precautions and safety aspects
(1) Traditionally, cardamom seeds are regarded as safe owing to their use as a home remedy and a common spice in various food items and beverages. No adverse effect and toxicity is reported in the literature. However, there are reports that cardamom seeds can trigger gallstone colic and hence not recommended for self-medication in patients with gallstones.
(2) Patients with vomiting as a major symptom should take small meals in liquid or semi-solid forms made of soft easily digestible materials. Overeating, irregular eating and heavy, fiber-rich and spicy foods should be avoided.
(3) Fresh concoction of cardamom seeds as described above should be used if the patient does not find seed powder palatable.
(4) Strenuous work, anxiety and stress should be avoided for successful management of vomiting. Adequate bed rest and sleep at proper time help a lot to enhance the effect of medication.
(5) Medical advice should be sought if vomiting is drastic and is not controlled with Ela powder and the patient’s condition deteriorates rapidly. The underlying cause of vomiting must be properly treated with suitable medication.
(6) Mere symptomatic relief of vomiting should not be attempted, if the condition gets severe and non-responsive to self-medication with Ela powder and similar other home remedies.
(7) Medication with Ela powder should be restricted to mild to moderate vomiting mainly resulting from gastrointestinal causes and pregnancy. Specific treatment of the underlying cause is required in kidney failure, cancer of stomach, worm infestation, brain tumour and psychogenic vomiting.
(8) Ela powder is safe during pregnancy and for breast-fed children.
Reference – Traditional Herbal Remedies for Primary Health Care