Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Herbs for holidays

As I'm on holiday at the moment, and just beginning to unwind from the stress of the preparations, I was thinking  of how invaluable herbs are to me when I travel. I literally couldn't manage without them. You won't find any other medicine in my luggage than herbal medicine. Naturally we all take the type of medicine we think we are going to need when we go on holiday, and this depends on what we are most prone to get when away from home. In my case the most likely problem would be getting a cold after the long flight from Cape Town to London. I never get a cold, but I'm guaranteed one if I don't take my own immune booster which contains Echinacea and a couple of other South African herbs which act synergistically. This I take before, during and after the flight. Stress and anxiety were a problem for me this time so I added a good dollop of Valeriana. This worked very well.
I took a couple of tea bags for the flight, one of green tea and one peppermint tea, both herbs are good for the digestion and refreshing in comparison to the teas on offer. It's good to have a supply of your preferred tea for hotels too.
Tummy upsets can be a problem for many of us. The change in diet as well as travel itself can wreak havoc with one's digestion. For me Ginger is an excellent remedy to take along, either in tincture form where it can be added to green tea for a soothing digestive remedy, or in the form of ginger sweets. I like Gingerbon sweets. They are really strong and can even help for travel queasiness. For those who suffer from migraine headaches, they may be very helpful for the nausea too.

Most people take water with them where ever they go, as it is very easy to dehydrate when on holiday. However, even with the best precautions dehydration does sometimes occur, and can trigger a nasty bout of cystitis in those who are vulnerable. A bottle of Buchu tincture (Agathosma betulina) is a very good medicine for this and can be used prophylactically if dehydration occurs and you want to nip things in the bud.

Obviously there is no jet lag between Cape Town and London, but as this is about herbs for travel, I'll include  the medicine I formulated a few years ago when I travelled to New Zealand. I used Valeriana and Vitex agnes castes in equal parts and filled the last bit of the bottle with Liquorice root tincture. I took this mixture before, during and after the flight and had no jet lag whatsoever on either journey (there or back). Maybe it just worked for me, but it's worth a try. I'd love to hear from others who try it.

If you have a sensitive stomach and easily get diarrhoea on holiday then it makes sense to take along a bottle of Potentilla tincture. This will settle a case of diarrhoea. Take Echinacea with this for fighting any infection that    may be causing the problem. And some chamomile tea for soothing the GI tract.

Don't forget to pack your tinctures in the main luggage and have just one for the flight in your hand luggage. And do get your medicines from a phytotherapist. They have the best tinctures. Those you buy in the health shops are often not very potent and come in very small bottles. Bon voyage!

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