How to beat altitude sickness naturally

Do you suffer from altitude sickness? Here is a list of herbs and supplements that can help by strengthening the circulatory system and improving oxygen intake.

How to beat altitude sickness naturally

What is altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness is a common and natural condition that happens when people quickly go from sea level or near it to altitudes of 2,500 metres or more. The body is not used to the lower level of oxygen in the air and can suffer from symptoms such as headaches, weakness, dizziness and loss of appetite. Altitude sickness usually goes away within one to four days as the body adapts to the thinner air, but there are also several herbs that can beat altitude sickness naturally by speeding up the adaptation process and eliminating the discomforting symptoms.

Ginkgo biloba

The leaves of the ginkgo tree are used to naturally treat a wide range of circulatory conditions. They have been shown to improve brain function in those with memory loss. A 2007 study published in Wilderness and Environmental Medicine found taking ginkgo biloba before climbing up nearly 4,000 metres in northern Chile was able to significantly reduce acute mountain sickness due to altitude in a group of people coming from sea level. The herb even outperformed the pharmaceutical drug acetazolamide, which is commonly used for altitude sickness.


A number of vitamins are known to contain compounds called antioxidants that help protect organs and tissues in the body from damage due to stresses like low oxygen. In fact, a study published in the journal High Altitude Medicine and Biology in 2001 found mountaineers climbing Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, were able to reduce the ill effects of the altitude by taking vitamins A and E beforehand. The mountaineers did begin the regime three weeks before the ascent of Everest, but showed a higher amount of oxygen in the body than the placebo group when tested.

Coca plant

Possibly the most famous natural remedy for altitude sickness, the coca plant is native to Andean countries such as Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. Full of vitamins, minerals and energizing stimulants, coca leaf immediately counters the negative effects of altitude sickness when it is chewed in the mouth or ingested as a tea in traditional style. Unfortunately, coca leaf is illegal in many parts of the world, even though it is considered sacred in the Andes region, as it can be processed to make the drug cocaine.

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