By Brigitte Mars
If you are going to spend the time and money to travel, it’s wise to insure the trip will be enjoyed in good health. Being sick away from the comforts of home can be a major drag and downright dangerous.
Be in good health before leaving. Hustling to do last minute errands and bon voyage parties can leave one stressed and exhausted.
Flying is dehydrating and takes a toll on the skin. Drinking one glass of water for every hour in flight is ideal. Bring a big bottle of water with you. Coffee and alcohol are dehydrating. Taking shoes off and using earplugs can help one through a long flight. Keep some toiletries with you so you can brush your teeth and wash your face to feel refreshed before landing. On long flights be sure to get up to stretch and move every couple of hours to prevent blood clots.
Ginseng is a great adaptogen helping the body acclimate to different environments, climate changes, altitudes, jet lag and stress. If prone to motion sickness, consider ginger an ally. It can be chewed as candied ginger, taken in capsules or syrups eaten off the spoon or mixed into water. Try to remove yourself from unpleasant fumes. In a car, sit in the front seat and focus on a point on the horizon so you are looking straight ahead. Homeopathic Nux vomica , Cocculus , or Ipecauana can be taken every fifteen minutes to help motion sickness. Try applying pressure to point P6, two finger widths from the base of the hand on the wrist between two tendons. Look for special wristbands that provide pressure on these points to help motion sickness.
Peppermint tea is available in most parts of the world. Two drops of essential oil of peppermint can also be added to a cup of purified water to relieve digestive maladies. Taking commercial antacids while traveling can make one a more likely host for parasitic invasion as one will have less stomach acidity to fight them off.
Tea tree oil is a wonderful multi-purpose antimicrobial remedy. It can be applied to infections, fungal infestations, insect bites and worn as an insect repellent. Adding three or four drops of tea tree oil to water makes an excellent gargle for impending sore throat. One can’t bring an entire suitcase full of remedies. It is best to have a few choice items that can be used in many ways.
Diarrhea is a common traveling ailment. Taking an acidophilus supplement a week before leaving and during the trip helps establish friendly intestinal flora. Look for those that don’t require refrigeration. Artemesia annua is a tonic and antiparasitic herb. In China it is even used to treat malaria. Ume concentrate made from the umeboshi plum is an excellent travel remedy. It can help stop diarrhea, prevent parasites, treat food poisoning, digestive upsets, and relieve a hangover. It truly is one of those “Don’t leave home without it” remedies. It can be purchased as pills or paste. Charcoal capsules are excellent for stopping even a severe case of the runs. Should you get the runs, make an electrolyte rich beverage to replace lost nutrients by mixing 8 ounces of clean water with 1/4-teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt. You may want to tuck a few packets of electrolyte powder, available in natural food stores into your travel first aid kit.
Some people have a tendency towards constipation when traveling. You may want to bring along some flax seeds or psyllium husks to promote regularity. However you will need to drink lots more water. A bottle of alfalfa tablets can help prevent traveler’s constipation.
Allow time to get your feet back on the ground before beginning a whirlwind schedule. Stay put for a day or two before “le grand tour ” if possible. The Chinese patent formula Cerebral Tonic Pills can also be used to help overcome jet lag.
Traveling shouldn’t be an excuse to embrace a junk food diet. Whenever possible order a healthier meal on the airplane. Vegan, Vegetarian, Kosher, Low Sodium, Low fat, Gluten-free and Fish are but a few of the choices for international flights. Packets of instant soups, fruit, nuts, and herbal tea bags are helpful for domestic flights.
Bringing a multi vitamin can help prevent incurring any sort of deficiency. Extra vitamin C can reduce jet lag, bolster immunity and help the body acclimate to stress. Some like to travel with super foods such as barley grass, wheatgrass powders, and spirulina or blue green algae for the nutrients and energy they provide, especially if safe vegetables are not available.
Since tropics do not have freezing seasons, parasites thrive all year round. An activated charcoal water filter or purification system can make the difference between sickness and health. Look for one that will remove giardia. Ice cubes are often made with parasite infested water. Water used to brush teeth must be properly treated. When buying bottled water, make sure the bottle is properly sealed. If in doubt, order beer or soda. However, drinking lots of beer and soda can have their own deleterious health effects if overdone. Despite all the dietary restrictions around traveling, wine is considered safe and even antibacterial. Delicious and safe is the water from unripe coconuts. Tonic water was originally developed as a pleasant way to ingest quinine in areas prone to malaria.
Salads washed in unsafe water can transmit parasites. Vegetables need to be washed in purified water if uncooked. Garlic is a wonderful natural antiparasitic and infection fighting food. Eat only fruit that can be peeled. Papaya and pineapple both contain natural digestive enzymes and make an excellent way to end a meal. Squeeze lime or lemon juice on as many things you eat as possible for its detoxifying and anti infection properties.
Eat simply when traveling. Take flax crackers, dried fruits, granola, sunflower, pumpkin seeds and sun cured olives. A small container of unpasteurized miso can be stirred into a bit of purified water to make a soup broth. Consider taking some extra enzymes such as betaine hydrochloride if having to eat foods one is unaccustomed to. Find ways to exercise when traveling, especially after being confined in small quarters. So whether it is yoga in the hotel room or runs down a beach, stay active.
Aromatherapy can help travelers freshen a stale smelling hotel room, enliven a bath, counteract the smells on an airplane, curb nausea and encourage deep breathing. Bring along a bottle of versatile lavender or peppermint essential oil.
Rescue Remedy is good for stressful situations that can occur when traveling such as fear of flying, lost luggage or stolen passports.
A wise traveler should bring along an extra set of prescription glasses. No point in sightseeing if you can’t see! If on medication, be it herbal or otherwise keep it with you should luggage get lost. It is also wise to have the Latin names for any herbs (They are the same in every language) or generic name for any medication you are using, should they need to be replaced.
Bring a mosquito net if traveling to insect prone areas. Tourist and resort areas, though less adventurous are usually at lower risk for disease. Check with health officials to find out if malaria, dysentery, cholera, encephalitis or other health bugaboos are a threat where you are going and be prepared. If seriously ill, do not hesitate to find a health professional.
Keep luggage with you rather than checking it, if possible. Wise travelers know to make copies of all documents such as passport and credit cards, store them in a separate place than the originals, and to leave valuables at home. Traveling is supposed to be different from home. That’s why we do it.
Have an adventure!
Many authorities say to pack with the heaviest things on the bottom, but if you put them on the top. It helps keep other things in place. I love to travel with a pashmina. It makes a great airplane blanket, In your travel bag, have a pashmina, teoothbrush and paste, aromatherapy mister, rescue remedy, water, something to read.