5 Altitude Sickness Prevention Natural Remedies (Science-Backed)

Altitude Sickness Prevention Natural Remedies

Altitude sickness can be excruciatingly painful, impact your ability to perform at your regular level, and set you back on your climb or trip. In this article, we will look at five of the best altitude sickness prevention natural remedies that can support your body when at high altitudes.

What Causes Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness can affect people who travel to high altitudes. It is caused by a lack of oxygen at these higher elevations, also called hypoxia.

As you climb higher, the air becomes thinner and the air pressure declines, so your body struggles to get enough oxygen from each breath. With the oxidative and physiological stress on the body — and sometimes combined with dehydration — altitude sickness can set in.

The effects of altitude sickness can range from mild to moderate or severe, and they typically appear within 24 hours after you arrive at your destination. The symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • nausea or vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue or feeling tired
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • malaise
  • trouble breathing
  • difficulty sleeping

Altitude sickness prevention natural remedies can help support the body with some of these issues such as oxidative stress.

Does Ginger Help With Altitude Sickness?

While not in our top five list, ginger may play a supportive role on your high altitude trips.

According to the book Herbal Medicine by Ann Bode and Zigang Dong, ginger has been used for thousands of years as a remedy — including colds, nausea, and migraines to name a few.¹ They point out that recent studies show evidence of ginger as a anti-nausea compound.¹

With altitude sickness commonly causing nausea, ginger might be considered an additional altitude sickness prevention natural remedy.

Does Peppermint Help With Altitude Sickness?

Peppermint oil is know one of the popular essential oils for altitude sickness.
So does peppermint help with altitude sickness? Limited evidence does suggest that applying peppermint oil topically may help tension headaches.²
Another study shows that peppermint essential oils supports exercise performance, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.³ These results may be beneficial in high altitude conditions.

What Herb Helps With Altitude Sickness?

We'll review the top natural ingredients to help altitude sickness below — which includes herbs, amino acids, and leaves.

Out of the five altitude sickness prevention natural remedies, DHM is the one that's considered an herb to help with altitude sickness.

Keep reading to learn about each of these ingredients, including the DHM herb, and how they can help you in high altitudes.

5 Top Altitude Sickness Prevention Natural Remedies

If you're planning a high altitude trip, you probably want to know how to prevent altitude sickness naturally.

Whether wanting to make an altitude sickness first aid kit, or simply find natural altitude supplements or homeopathic altitude remedies — we got you covered.

Being based in the high altitude state of Colorado, we have years of experience and research on altitude sickness prevention natural remedies, and we'll share with you our top recommended ones.

Our 5 Top Altitude Sickness Prevention Natural Remedies:

1. Glutathione

Glutathione levels may be depleted during high altitude travel because of decreased oxygen availability.

Glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants found in the human body. It helps to prevent oxidative stress and scavenge free radicals, which are known to cause damage to cells.

Benefits of supplementing glutathione for altitude:

  • Replenish Glutathione Levels - Research out of India indicated that high altitudes depleted glutathione levels by up to 45%.⁴
  • Protect Against Oxidative Stress - Evidence shows antioxidant supplementation can reduce oxidative damage from high elevations.⁵
As the science shows, glutathione can be one of the best altitude sickness prevention natural remedies.

2. Ginkgo Biloba 

Ginkgo biloba, which is rich in antioxidants, has been in traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for long periods of time. It's considered one of the oldest living tree species in the world.

Science has shown some remarkable results with high altitudes — Ginkgo biloba proved to reduce the incidence and the severity of altitude sickness.⁶

Benefits of supplementing ginkgo biloba for altitude:

  • Increase Blood Flow - A french study showed ginkgo biloba to increase the blood flow in subjects at high altitudes.⁶
  • Increased Arterial Oxygen - In Chile they discovered ginkgo biloba to increase saturation in arterial oxygen, while showing a significant reduction in altitude sickness.⁷
It's clear that ginkgo biloba is one of the altitude sickness prevention natural remedies with significant benefits.

3. Glutamine

Glutamine is an amino acid, which is naturally found in our bodies. It plays a vital role in the immune system and acts as a fuel source for cells.

It has been shown to be effective with high altitudes, and is also a superior amino acid to assist in hydration.

Benefits of supplementing glutamine for altitude:

  • Mitigate Hypoxia - Supplementation of glutamine with carbs were deemed a useful tool for the negative effects of low oxygen levels or hypoxia.⁹
  • High Altitude Immune Support - A few studies pointed to the importance of glutamine for the immune system at high altitudes.⁹
  • Boost Mood & Cognition - Research out of Brazil proved glutamine to better the mood and cognition state in low oxygen environments.¹⁰ 
These numerous findings reveal glutamine as a critical altitude sickness prevention natural remedy to include on mountain trips.

4. Coca

Grown in Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, coca leaves have been used for centuries by the indigenous populations of the Andes —with one of the more popular uses being for altitude sickness.

Loaded with alkaloids, when consumed coca acts as a mild stimulant which can suppress pain, hunger, and fatigue.

Benefits of supplementing glutamine for altitude:

  • Enhance Altitude Performance - A study out of Peru found coca to enhance physical performance and energy at high altitudes.¹²
  • High Altitude Remedy - Research at SUNY Upstate Medical University confirmed coca to be a high altitude remedy for the ancient Incas.¹³
While part of the altitude sickness prevention natural remedies, this is the only one which is not legal to buy in the United States and can only be found in places like Peru, but can come in handy on South American trips.

5. DHM

DHM, or Dihydromyricetin, is a natural flavonoid found in high concentrations in the Japanese raisin tree (Hovenia dulcis).

It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries as a health tonic, and more recent research has proved its effectiveness in high altitudes.

Benefits of supplementing DHM for altitude:

  • Improve Altitude Performance - 2013 studies found DHM to improve physical performance in high altitudes.¹⁴
  • Reduce Fatigue - Research showed DHM to lower fatigue in high altitudes by up to three times, and enhance cellular antioxidant capacity.¹⁴
One of the key altitude sickness prevention natural remedies, through significant findings DHM is proven to be very beneficial for high altitude journeys.

This concludes our top researched list of altitude sickness prevention natural remedies — which includes glutathione, ginkgo biloba, glutamine, coca leaves, and DHM.

Top Pick Altitude Supplement

Zaca Chewable Natural Remedies
Used by athletes, climbers, and travelers — Zaca has been sold since 2008 and based in the high altitude state of Colorado. These chewables are made with the highest quality ingredients including a proprietary blend of glutathione, glutamine, and DHM-containing Japanese raisin. This blend boosts your body’s antioxidant defenses and helps you rehydrate, replenish, and recovery. Packaged in on-the-go packets to use anywhere, simply take 2-4 chewables a day or as needed. Try Zaca Chewables today and fuel your body for your mountain trips.











1. Herbal Medicine: The Amazing and Mighty Ginger
2. Peppermint Oil
3. The effects of peppermint on exercise performance
4. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
5. High Altitude and Free Radicals
6. Ginkgo biloba reduces incidence and severity of acute mountain sickness.
7. Ginkgo biloba decreases acute mountain sickness in people ascending to high altitude at Ollagüe (3696 m) in northern Chile
8. Ginkgo biloba for the prevention of severe acute mountain sickness (AMS) starting one day before rapid ascent
9. Sports in high altitudes? Brazilian researchers suggest supplementing with glutamine, carbohydrates
10. The Possible Importance of Glutamine Supplementation to Mood and Cognition in Hypoxia from High Altitude
11. Continuous and intermittent exposure to the hypoxia of altitude: implications for glutamine metabolism and exercise performance
12. Does Chewing Coca Leaves Influence Physiology at High Altitude?
13. Coca: High Altitude Remedy of the Ancient Incas
14. Dihydromyricetin Improves Physical Performance under Simulated High Altitude