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My herbal travel rescue kit

We have all been there; traveling in a developing country and suddenly you do not feel so great. Whether its stomach issues, cuts and bruises, insect bites or a nasty flu,
smart travelers should pack a good first aid kit, full of all those things you may need in case of an emergency.

Sadly, I have no travel plans this month but my girlfriend J is on her way to Thailand and asked me to share with her my traveling secret remedies. Of course, I want you all to stay healthy too, so I am forwarding my list of remedies to her and to all of you as well. This list of wonderful remedies is also in my medicine cabinet at home so if you are stuck here this summer like me, no worries, this list may still end up coming in handy.

Here is the list and it includes some great natural remedies that I love and that can help prevent many travel related ailments.

13698228_10153783644511705_3225095798230110961_o.jpg(This amazing photo is courtesy of my ex neighbor in Minneapolis, the talented Edward Bock. You can learn more about him and his work on http://www.edwardbock.com .)

By the way, this list is a work in progress and so if you have any remedies that you love, please feel free to share them with mesince my list is always evolving

1. Good Quality Probiotic

This is probably the single most important natural remedy you can carry in your first aid kit. Traveller’s diarrhea is one of the biggest issue most of us face when travelling through developing countries.

Probiotics increase the number of friendly bacteria in your gut and these little guys can help keep the not so nice ones in check. Be mindful that your immune system is closely tied to the health of your gut flora, so having a happy gut, will keep you strong and healthy as well.

The best kind to bring with you are ones that do not need to be refrigerated. So read the label carefully on the product that you choose and at least try and get one with 1 billion live strains.

2. Oil of Oregano

This is another great remedy that I always include in my travel kit. Oil of oregano has many different uses that can help you on your trip. Oil of oregano contains antimicrobial, antiviral, anti parasitic, anti allergenic and anti fungal properties. A study from the US Department of Agriculture showed that oil of oregano was effective against Salmonella and E. Coli bacteria. So if you find yourself coming down with something, whether its a stomach bug, flu, cold like symptoms or sore throat , take 3-5 drops under your tongue, 3 times a day until you are feeling better.

Just a reminder that oil of oregano is potent, so this remedy is not recommended for everyday use. Just use it when you think you need it. And brace yourself, the taste is quite strong.

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3. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is a concentrated blend of pink pulp, orange skin and seeds of the grapefruit. Like oil of oregano, it is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal. I always carry a little bit of this stuff while travelling to disinfect suspect food and water. Sometimes you may find yourself somewhere with no clean water to buy. You can put a few drops of this into questionable water to kill anything in there that could make you sick. Sometimes while travelling on long bus rides, your only choice for food may be street vendors. I have put this stuff directly onto sketchy looking food to make it safer for consumption.

When buying grapefruit seed extract, make sure to find a good quality brand. Some products have been found to contain synthetic additives which could cause you harm. Visit your local health food store and talk with someone in the know.

4. Magnesium

Magnesium has a couple different applications that can be useful during travelling. Taken orally, magnesium has the ability to relax the intestines and colon. This is a great thing to take if you are experiencing constipation. There is nothing worse than being on some remote backcountry trek and being all blocked up. It can make you bloated and irritable. Magnesium can clear this issue up within 24 hours.

Since magnesium is a relaxant, it is also great to take at night before bedtime. So if you ever experience insomnia while travelling, magnesium can calm you nerves and help you get that much needed rest.

There are a variety of forms of magnesium available out there and they are all not absorbed equally in your system. The best forms are magnesium glycinate and magnesium taurate.

5. Activated charcoal

This supplement is good for relief from food poisoning, gluten exposure if you need it, stomach bugs, gas, bloating and diarrhea. It reduces toxicity by adsorbing chemicals in the GI tract. Be sure to take with plenty of water and stay very well hydrated with clean filtered water while taking this supplement.

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6. Ginger capsules or ginger chews
Great remedy for tummy upsets, including motion sickness, morning sickness and gas.

7. Echinacea and Goldenseal

Echinacea helps support a healthy immune system, and has antibacterial and antibiotic properties. If you start to feel an illness coming on, dosing yourself with a tincture of echinacea is a good way to help you stay healthy.

Goldenseal is a powerful antibacterial, antibiotic, and antiparasitical potion. In powdered form, it can be applied to open cuts to help them from getting infected. You can also take this internally for infections as it acts as a natural antibiotic.

8. Lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil is my favorite essential oil because it smells divine but also because it can be used topically on the skin for irritations, wounds bites and burns and also can be used to help with insomnia, anxiety and headaches. For most people, it can be applied directly to the skin. One drop takes the swelling and itch out of mosquito bites. It is an anti-inflammatory and has antiseptic properties.

9. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a great natural moisturizer. This stuff can be incredibly hydrating if you are travelling in a country with a dry climate. You can rub this stuff all over your body and it makes your skin soft, smooth and shiny. Using this product is truly the best thing you can do for your skin. It can offer protection against a number of harsh weather conditions including wind, sun and snow. I often put coconut oil on my lips when they are chapped and in need of some TLC. Aside from being a great natural lubricant, coconut oil also contains a little SPF and it does have some antimicrobial and antifungal properties as well so can also be used for calming a number of skin conditions including rashes, eczema and acne.

Of course, you shouldn’t just stock your first aid kit with natural remedies. It is always good to have some good backups, just in case, especially if you are travelling to remote areas with little access to emergency services.

If you stock your first aid kit with these things, and make sure to take your probiotic everyday, your chances are high of having the healthiest trip you have had yet.

Safe travels and namaste!

 

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A Dab of Apple Cider Vinegar a Day May Keep the Doctor Away

I remember when I first started working as a holistic doctor, Carol, a sweet patient of mine gifted me a handbook called Health and Healing with Apple Cider Vinegar. She had a severe case of arthritis and told me that just by adding a little bit of apple cider vinegar into her water every day, helped to heal her from years of pain.

apple cider vinegarCurious about this natural amazing remedy, I began to do more research and naturally I also started to drink some of this golden nectar daily to see what effects it would have on me.

First let me start by saying that a little apple cider vinegar goes a long way. There is definitely a point where too much of this good thing is truly too much and quite overwhelming for the palate. So ease into this by starting with maybe 1/4 tsp in a glass of water daily, with the goal of reaching one tsp in a glass of water 3-4 times a day. Aside from the acidic taste however, which is actually the basis of most of its medicinal qualities, eventually you can become quite accustomed to this powerful natural remedy’s taste, and it is worth it. Apple cider vinegar is a potent healing remedy, a gem that I have grown to love and have discovered is amazing for so many different things.

As a folk remedy, apple cider vinegar has been credited with curing everything from  the flu, arthritis, aches, pains, dandruff, diabetes event warts. Many of its supposed benefits are unproven, but some experts, aka my patients, think that adding a little of this sour liquid to your life has many health benefits and no side effects, so why not give it a try?

In fact, I believe in this remedy so much that I actually added apple cider vinegar to the recipe for Flackers (www.drinthekitchen.com). Not only does it actually add a great flavor to the cracker but the medicinal benefits are overwhelming.

In case you were wondering, the following are just a few of the reasons to drink a sip of apple cider vinegar daily.

Apple cider vinegar may aid in weight loss

Apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight. Here’s why: The acetic acid suppresses your appetite, increases your metabolism, and reduces water retention. Scientists also theorize that apple cider vinegar interferes with the body’s digestion of starch, which means fewer calories enter the bloodstream

Apple Cider Vinegar and Blood Sugar

While apple cider vinegar is touted for its incredible weight loss abilities, I would have to say it probably won’t make you skinny, but taking it daily does appear to help with diabetes and blood sugar regulation. Its effects on blood sugar are similar to certain medications and apple cider vinegar’s antiglycemic effect is very well documented in the medical literature.

Vinegar blocks some of the digestion of starch preventing at least some of that starch from being digested and raising blood sugar. I was having dinner with a friend who wisely shared that information with me as we were indulging in sushi. The white rice which is typically high in the glycemic index, he explained, is lowered by the fact that the Japanese bathe it it vinegar first.

Apple cider vinegar for energy

Exercise and sometimes extreme stress cause lactic acid to build up in the body, causing fatigue. Interestingly, the amino acids contained in apple cider vinegar act as an antidote. What’s more, apple cider vinegar contains potassium and enzymes that may relieve that tired feeling. Next time you’re beat, add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to a glass of chilled vegetable drink or to a glass of water.

Apple cider vinegar soothes a sore throat

As soon as you feel the prickle of a employ germ-busting apple cider vinegar to help head off the infection at the pass. Turns out, most germs can’t survive in the acidic environment vinegar creates. Just mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup warm water and gargle every hour or so.

Apple cider vinegar prevents indigestion

Sip before eating, especially if you know you’re going to indulge in foods that are rich and decadent. Try this folk remedy: add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and drink it 30 minutes before you dine.Some folk remedy experts contend that apple cider vinegar contains pectin, which can help soothe intestinal spasms. Try mixing one or two tablespoons into water, or clear juice like apple juice

Apple cider vinegar to clear a stuffy nose

Next time you’re stuffed up from a congestion, consider a tsp of this golden liquid for relief. Apple cider vinegar contains potassium, which thins mucus; and the acetic acid in it prevents bacterial growth which could contribute to nasal congestion. Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink to help sinus drainage.

Apple cider vinegar to ward off dandruff

The acidity of apple cider vinegar changes the pH of your scalp, making it harder for yeast to grow. Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water in a spray bottle, and spritz on your scalp. Wrap your head in a towel and let sit for 15 minutes to an hour, then wash your hair as usual. Do this twice a week for best results.

Apple cider vinegar for acne

Apple cider vinegar makes a great natural toner that can act as  a natural astringent and leave skin looking healthier. Its antibacterial properties help keep acne under control, and the malic and lactic acids found in apple cider vinegar soften and exfoliate skin, reduce red spots, and balance the pH of your skin.
So go ahead and try some today. I suggest a tsp on an empty stomach first thing in the morning and then 20 minutes before each meal. Let me know what you think?
To your Health!

 

 

Herbal Steam Your Cold and Flu Away

Well it is officially cold and flu season and despite the zinc , elderberry and vitamin D, many of my colleagues and patients are still getting the flu or are complaining of cold symptoms.

Inhaling steam can help loosen congestion and offer relief from coughing as well. Steams are a wonderful natural way to alleviate cold symptoms and I love to add herbs to my steams for the delicious aroma and also for their medicinal virtues.

Here is one of my favorite recipes if you are congested. It is easy to make, it smells fabulous and it works!

Herbal Face Steam Ingredients

  • a large pot
  • 1 tablespoon each of desired herbs, for congestion, my favorite is  eucalyptus. But feel free to roam your kitchen and add whatever else you may have like; rosemary if you want to feel more alert, or lavender , if you want to feel more calm. Garlic can also be added to the steam mixture for additional antibacterial benefit.
  • 2 large towels

How to prepare

Put about an inch of water in the bottom of a large pot and boil.

Fold a towel in half and place on a sturdy, heat-proof, flat surface like a counter or table. Place the pot or bowl on top of this towel.

Add any dried herbs, stir well and cover with a lid for 1-2 minutes.

Herbal Face Steam Instructions

Remove lid and cautiously check the temperature of steam to make sure it isn’t too hot for your face.

Steam is hot and caution should always be used when handling and breathing it.

Once you have determined that the temperature is ok, lean over the pot and cover head with a towel to create a tent. Try to let as little air escape as possible, this will maximize the benefits of your steam.

Slowly breathe in the steam for 5-10 minutes. Initially you can breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Eventually try to breathe in and out through the nose to loosen up all the congestion.

When finished, pour out the liquid and herbs in the pot and thoroughly wash your pot.

The beauty of this steam is that it also has skin benefits. When you are done, your pores are open so you can wipe your face with a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water after your face steam to tone your skin and remove anything that has loosened from the pores.

Steam is often used in spas as part of a facial treatment. Facial steams are touted for their ability to open pores, soften skin and improve circulation.

So steam your congestion away and get a mini facial all in one! How fabulous right?

Enjoy and stay well…

 

 

Super Charge Your Health With This Amazing Yummy Elixir

My sweet friend, I will call her L, is on prednisone, and she asked me what else she can do or take that would work as an anti-inflammatory. This is the first thing that came to my mind; my anti-inflammatory ginger turmeric honey elixir.This super anti-inflammatory booster is amazing, healthy, yummy and I just love it! It tastes incredible in tea or just on it’s own, dissolved in hot water. It would probably also be yummy nice to use in cooking or on a piece of bread. I have been adding a large spoon of this in a cup of my daily green & peppermint tea and am good to go!

I strongly believe that consuming this elixir daily will keep you feeling fabulous, and help you to stay healthy.It is filled with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial ,digestive supportive and detoxification enhancing properties. All in one tsp of yummy sweet goodness.

And so here is the recipe L, and like I said, everyone, everyone should consume this daily.

GINGER TURMERIC HONEY ELIXIR

Notes: this super booster elixir takes only 5 minutes to whip up and will yield about 1/2 cup. You can store it in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for about about one week.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup local, organic raw honey

1 teaspoon organic lemon zest

1 tablespoon ground organic turmeric

1 tablespoon powdered or raw freshly grated ginger

moderate pinch of black pepper to activate the turmeric

2 tablespoons raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Whisk your ground turmeric in a small mixing bowl or with a mortar + pestle to loosen all clumps smooth into a fine powder.

Then add in the honey, GINGER, lemon zest, black pepper and apple cider vinegar and whisk or stir until smooth.

Ginger is a marvelous root that you can purchase raw or dried in almost every supermarket. It has antibiotic effects and can help digestion, detoxification, infections, inflammation, joint pain, circulation, nausea (also pregnancy nausea) and motion sickness.

Turmeric is a known strong antioxidant and has been used as traditional Ayurvedic medicine throughout history for cooking, to cleanse the whole body, especially the liver;  to support digestion, treat fever, wound infections and inflammation. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin and has been proved to have similar effects as anti-inflammatory medicine. Turmeric and black pepper is a great pair to match. The black pepper helps to enhance the bioavailability of curcumin by a thousand times. Turmeric has a slight bitter taste but blends very well with other flavors.

How To consume:

As a warm tonic — mix 1 tablespoon of this elixir with one glass of warm water + ( tea bag of your choice…optional) then sip

On toast or baked goods — a teaspoon or two as a spread on top

In a smoothie — blend in a tablespoon

As is — 1 large spoonful daily

Enjoy!

 
 
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