I absolutely love travel, but sometimes travel doesn't love me back! When I did my couple years of travel pre-Naturopathic college I was totally unaware of the things that I could have brought to save me from everything from traveller's diarrhea to sun stroke (both of which I am now intimately well-versed in).
Thanks to 8 years of schooling, I now know way too much about what could prevent these maladies, so I wanted to share with you my Natural Remedies Travel Kit!
As a preface, I generally travel to developing countries for lengthy periods, so there is quite a lot more exposure to things with which my immune system is not acquainted, so my kit is pretty extensive! If you're taking a trip to the US or Europe, you might not need this whole list. I'd recommend you pick and choose the symptoms you're worried about or that are bigger threats and go from there.
Below is the list of items in my blessed kit, to prevent and/or treat gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, injuries, infections, bug bites, and to make your travel the most comfortable (ensure you sleep well and muscles are at ease!).
NATURAL REMEDIES TRAVEL KIT:
- Saccromyces Boulardii- non-pathogenic yeast (like a probiotic) to both prevent and treat traveller's diarrhea (or any type of diarrhea, really). Best if taken prophylactially, before and during your whole trip, and no need to refrigerate.
- Ginger- to ease nausea (think seasickness, car sickness... or the morning after a few too many of the local brew). Take in any form- tea, capsules, tincture, or have fresh in your food.
- Enteric-coated Peppermint Oil capsules- to ease/prevent bloating, especially as your GI system explores these new and foreign lands. Try to take 20 minutes before meals, or as needed.
- Andrographis- both an immune stimulant, as well as an antimicrobial (anti-bacterial, -viral, -parasitic), if you're suspecting/preventing any infections, GI or otherwise. Also, it is a bitter that stimulates digestive processes, so if you take it before meals it can help you digest your food optimally!
- Since most people don't have Andrographis kicking around, if you don't want to buy an antimicrobial/immune stimulant just for your trip, there are tons of others that are more common to have- Vitamin D3, vitamin C, oil of oregano, Echinacea, garlic capsules, goldenseal/berberine, etc.
- Magnesium Bisglycinate- for sleep and muscle tension (excellent for 42 straight hours on a bus, or post-hiking/activity). Also, if you become constipated, just take the magnesium to bowel tolerance!
- Curcumin- this is the active constituent in turmeric, so its main use in this context would be as an antiinflammatory, for any injuries.
- Homeopathics- The most controversial of all the Naturopathic modalities, but I feel like they have saved my life in the past, so I need to spread the good word- take it or leave it! I usually get 30CH potencies for this purpose, dissolve under your tongue away from food and flavours, and keep these bottles away from sunlight, electronics, and strong odours.
Arnica- for any bruising/fractures/trauma/injury.
Apis- for any swollen bug bites, such as bee stings.
Symphytum- for fractures.
Cantharis- for sunburns.
Arsenicum- for traveller's diarrhea.
Belladonna- for more severe sunburns with other symptoms, like sun stroke or heat exhaustion.
Calendula- to help skin heal.
Ledum- for puncture wounds or bug bites.
- B Complex- potential anti-mosquito action! This has not yet been substantiated by science, but I did an n=13 study at a glamping weekend where 13 ladies were being eaten alive by mosquitoes- everyone took my B vitamins and no one got eaten after that. So, at least there's that. It's worth a shot, right? Also, B vitamins are used by the liver to detoxify alcohol, so another good one, along with the ginger, for overindulgence! P.S. do not be alarmed when these turn your urine bright yellow- it just means you're absorbing them!
- Activated Charcoal capsules- to bind any bacterial toxins released causing GI symptoms.
- Tea Tree Oil- for topical use on any open wounds/scrapes/infections.
- Aloe Vera Gel- topical to soothe any inflamed skin or burns, such as sunburns.
So as you can see, there is so much that we can do to prevent maladies while travelling! That being said, you're never going to have complete control, and that's half the beauty of travel anyway, right?
In other words, sometimes you can't help but contract Shigella in Haiti with Naturopaths Without Borders and acquire the temporary alternating nickname of Shigayla/Shaygella. We can do what we can to prevent these illnesses, the rest is out of our hands!
Let me know if you have success with this kit, or if there's anything you add to your own!