By Dr. Marsha Hamilton
I often get asked about naturopathic remedy ‘must haves’ while traveling, or ingredients for a natural first aid kit. With some upcoming travel plans of my own, I thought I would share some of my favorites. Where you are going and the remoteness will dictate the actual necessities and minutia, use this as a guideline and adjust accordingly.
1. Activated Charcoal Capsules: I consider these to be my most important item and try to not leave home without them. Charcoal is great for food poisoning, diarrhea and an all around bad belly. The charcoal binds the toxins and bacteria, eliminating them from our system. This significantly reduces the severity and duration of any bad belly episode. The typical dose is 1-3 capsules three times a day with plenty of water. Dose it according to your weight and severity of symptoms. Charcoal may turn your stools black and can absorb medications reducing their efficacy temporarily.
2. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a great immune supporter, anti-histamine and anti-oxidant. I recommend buffered vitamin C as it allows for better absorption with less stomach upset (high doses can cause diarrhea in some people). We’re exposed to many bacteria and viruses while traveling – especially in modes of travel with recirculating air and tight quarters, and further challenge our immune system with time changes, lack of sleep and schedule upheavals. A little immune support can go a long way to keep us healthy throughout our travels. If you are someone who suffers from constipation while traveling, bumping up your vitamin C can help keep your bowels regular.
3. Ginger: Ginger is fantastic for motion sickness, nausea and stomach upset. Ginger chews are convenient, individually wrapped and readily found. You can let it dissolve slowly in your mouth or eat it quickly and frequently. Ginger capsules are also an option, they are much more concentrated with much less sugar.
4. Homeopathic Arsenicum (30C potency): This remedy is great for food poisoning and all related symptoms. Homeopathic remedies are nice when vomiting is involved, as it can be difficult to keep anything down. If you are hit with food poisoning, dissolve 3-5 pellets of Arsenicum under your tongue three times per day while symptoms persist (up to 7 days). Once the worst of the food poisoning is over, transition to charcoal and ginger as needed.
5. Probiotics: Probiotics are the good bacteria in our digestive system that keep the immune system primed and our GI tract healthy. Traveling exposes us to new and different bugs even if no adverse events transpire – such as the dreaded travel diarrhea. A daily probiotic can help prevent stomach bugs from taking hold and assist in recovering from any bad belly episodes. It’s best to choose one that does not require refrigeration while traveling.
6. Other things to consider: There are many more good things you can consider adding to your travel kit depending on location and duration of your trip. In short, I like to bring a topical ointment for sunburns, cuts or bug bites. Any calendula-based ointment is great and easy to find. Essential oils are effective and easy to pack if you are ok traveling with liquids. I strongly recommend packing them in zip lock bags and keeping them in your carry on.