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General Health Articles

What Should Be in Your Natural Travel Kit

Even the cleanest of places has its health hazards, and thinking ahead and packing some basic necessities can help you stay healthy and safe. Depending on where you’re going you may need more special products, so find out before you go what you’re unlikely to find once you’re there. It’s often best to talk to someone who’s already traveled to that place and see what they recommend.

Antibiotic (natural) comes to the top of our list. We have used grapefruit seed extract for years, both at home and on the road. It can be used as a gargle if you feel a sore throat coming on, as an anti-fungal for athlete’s foot and nail fungus, and to purify drinking water if you feel it is not safe to drink (5-10 drops in a glass of water). It is very bitter, but works well and beats Montezuma’s revenge!

Herbal supplements: many travelers recommend echinacea, which has been shown in various studies to shorten the term of a common cold and in some cases prevent you from catching it.

Zinc, in the form of zinc gluconate, has also been shown to be effective against colds.

Hygiene: disinfectant sprays, hand sanitizers, sanitary wipes and other instant cleaners can remove any trace of germs in seconds.

Tea tree oil: this essential oil taken from a plant that grows in the south coast of Australia is a strong antifungal, antiseptic and antibacterial remedy. It is prepared in a very dilute form because of its strength.

Indigestion:

Ginger, which has been used in the east for thousands of years to settle the stomach,  can also help alleviate motion sickness. It is available in pill and capsule form, but is also effective when eaten in any prepared form.

• L. Acidophilus, a probiotic, is a bacterium that aids the digestive system. It can help with travelers’ diarrhea. Like ginger it is also used for indigestion. It is available in capsule form, or as a liquid in small containers. It sometimes appears under its full name of lactobacillus acidophilus.

Chamomile, generally made from the flower heads of the plant as a tea, has been used for centuries as a cure for upset stomach and is also used to help alleviate the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The variety to use is German chamomile because others do not have the same properties. Additionally, peppermint tea is effective against gas, but not recommended for anyone with acid reflux.

Artichoke extract is another possible cure for upset stomach and gas.

• Dried seeds, including anise, coriander, caraway and fennel have all been used for indigestion.

Insect repellents:

Try to avoid DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide), which has been shown to cause various reactions from skin sensitivity to insomnia and cognitive disturbance.

• Most natural products, which should not include DEET, include wintergreen, peppermint, lemongrass, citronella, and other oils

Motion-sickness:

This is caused by an imbalance between the part of the inner ear that helps with spatial orientation and what the eyes perceive as motion.

Acupressure: an elastic wrist band, marketed under several different product names, applies pressure to a point on the inner part of the wrist, which works very effectively for some people.

Ginger, which helps to settle the stomach, is used  for motion sickness as well.

Sleep, which is essential for the body to repair itself, can be aided with:

Valerian, made from a tincture of the plant root, which is not addictive.

Kava, derived from the roots of a plant from the south Pacific, has an immediate sedative effect without causing drowsiness or lack of concentration. Besides helping to calm you down before bedtime, it is effective against anxiety and stress. Traditionally chewed or made into a powder, it is available in pill form.

Melatonin, the hormone that causes sleep and is inhibited by sunlight. If taken it should be at the normal bedtime of your arrival destination for West-to-East travel; for example, at the end of the day you arrive in Paris. That will re-set your internal clock for the new location.

Sinus-related problems:

There are health concerns about some of the chemicals in nasal sprays. Additionally, one of the chief complaints by long-term users is addiction. Different natural sprays seem to work for different people, so you may have to try several. Sprays based on capsaicin, the active ingredient in red pepper, have proved popular and effective.

Nose Bleeds If you are planning to do a lot of air travel, please remember that airplane air is very dry and also is re-circulated, thereby passing germs throughout the cabin. The dry air dries out the mucosal membranes in your mouth and sinuses, making you more susceptible to germs. Natural sprays that moisturize your nose will be very helpful in eliminating this problem.

Essential oils such as those from marjoram and eucalyptus. A few drops can be sprinkled on a handkerchief or added to a pan of steaming water (breathe the vapors in).

Sunburn:

Obviously something to avoid, especially with the known risks of developing skin cancer later on in life, but it does happen. Make sure to use a sunscreen with a high rating of at least 30 SPF, but remember that a higher SPF does not lengthen the time you can spend in the sun: it is just a measure of efficiency. Also, a broad-spectrum sunscreen blocks both UVB and UVA rays. The sun’s rays are just as strong on cloudy days because UVA rays still go through clouds. They also bounce around, which means only full shade, well away from the light, gives complete protection.

Aloe vera gel, derived from the inner liquid of the leaves of the aloe plant, promotes healing and deadens the pain in burns and has antibacterial qualities as well.

Vitamins:

• B complex, E and C which are effective against stress, which can reduce the efficiency of the immune system.

 

Do you have a remedy that should be in a Natural Travel Kit? Please let us know. Thank you!

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