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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.

essential oil.jpg

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.

charcoal

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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Food as my medicine cabinet? You Betcha!

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
This is naturally fermented apple cider that has not been pasteurized and still contains probiotics, enzymes and minerals. I am not quoting from the medical literature here but experience which to me is valid. This can help to restore proper ph levels in your body, it’s an immune booster, will help cut a cough and runny nose, as well as flu symptoms, it’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal and can be taken daily during the winter months to help fight infections!  It’s also great for yeast infections, skin/intestinal detox, and digestive disorders. Simply mix with raw honey with apple cider vinegar and make apple tea. We use tons of it in flackers as well so enjoy and eat up guilt free.
Ginger:
Yes, good ol fashion just plain ginger root that you can find in the produce department is quite the magical healer! Clinical studies have shown that ginger is helpful for reducing nausea, especially for long car rides, and pregnant ladies.. Simply peel off the tough outer layer and slice off a few inches.  I typically use about an inch of the root and slice it into thin discs and then add then to a hot cup of water.  Allow it to seep for 10-15 minutes and enjoy with some raw honey for a wonderful, soothing and warming tea.

Raw Honey

This is unadulterated honey that has not been heated, changed altered or pasteurized, so it retains all of the natural enzymes and healing properties present from nature. Because of raw honey’s enzymes and minerals and trace amounts of pollen, it makes a fabulous cough suppressant and healing agent.  It is also naturally antimicrobial, which again helps with sore and irritated throats and can also be used on cuts, shallow topical abrasions and boo boos to ward off infection.
1 tsp raw honey
1/4 tsp of cinnamon mixed and yum! great for colds and coughs
Garlic

Garlic contains allicin which has strong antimicrobial effects. I have read can be equivalent to anywhere from 1% to 20% of a standard penicillin dose. It also contains sulphur compounds, this is where much of it’s healing power is, as well as vitamins C and B, flavanoids (antioxidants), and the trace minerals selenium and germanium (excellent for cancer prevention among other things).

The active components in garlic are heat sensitive and fairly volatile, and therefore most of it’s benefit will be lost if the garlic is cooked. Please, by all means, continue to cook with lots of garlic just because it tastes amazing  but for optimal medicinal use, it must be eaten and crushed raw to truly be effective.

Chamomile Tea:

Chamomile is a small, daisy-looking flower that has been used since ancient times to calm the nervous system, relive anxiety and aid in digestion. It is easiest taken as a tea. I like to mix it with peppermint or ginger as a remedy tea wonderful for aiding in digestion. It’s great for calming down little ones too, especially before bed; I know…and your welcome moms (: It can also sometimes work for relieving stress headaches although I also use a dab of lavender oil for these as well.
 
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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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