Being fit and healthy before travelling may reduce your chances of falling victim to a nasty travel bug, but it is never foolproof, and nothing spoils a holiday more than getting sick!
So, pack some natural remedies ‘just in case’ and follow our tips to overcoming the most common travel ills.
For some unfortunate travellers, getting to their holiday destination is marred by motion sickness. Symptoms usually involve nausea, dizziness and a cold, clammy sensation. Travellers who feel nauseous should look as far away out the window as possible to restore the body’s normal balance mechanisms. Some effective natural options for motion sickness include inhaling peppermint essential oil or consuming the anti-nausea herb Ginger.
On long plane trips, breathing recirculated air – and the inevitable viruses and bacteria circulating with it – is unavoidable. To build your resistance to infection, take immune-boosting herbs for at least a week before you travel. One of the best choices are Andrographis and Olive Leaf extract, which are well recognised for their ability to help boost the body’s immune system.
Long plane trips and changes in climate can also lead to fluid retention, particularly in the hands, feet and ankles. A herbal diuretic may be useful for combating this situation. Look for a formula that contains herbs such as Juniper, Parsley or Dandelion as these are known for their diuretic and urinary antiseptic properties. Remember to read up on the exercises provided by your airline to prevent deep vein thrombosis and do them regularly during your flight.
This is one of the most likely conditions to interrupt your holiday and the chances of gastric upset increases when you travel to countries where food and hygiene standards are less rigorous than what we are accustomed to in Australia. Symptoms of gastric disturbances can range from mild diarrhoea and an upset stomach to the more serious condition of gastroenteritis caused by bacteria. By populating your digestive tract with good bacteria such as acidophilus, your body is more capable of eliminating any bad bacteria you may come into contact with. Choose a brand that does not require refrigeration.
If you suspect you’ve picked up an infection, take Golden Seal as this herb possesses antimicrobial properties. Pau D’Arco also helps to repel nasties. These two herbs have traditionally been used in western herbal medicine to help to kill gut bugs when they come into contact with the stomach, so if you take these herbs at the same time you eat a meal, they may help guard against infection caused by proliferation of bacteria.
Slippery Elm is another useful herb to take when travelling as it absorbs water, acting as a bulk laxative to encourage bowel movement and so help with constipation. It can also be helpful for diarrhoea as its water absorption ability can help to bulk up a loose stool. This amazing multipurpose herb can also ease an upset stomach and soothe an irritated throat! When travelling, Slippery Elm capsules are far easier to take than the loose powder, however for sore throats or reflux, break open a capsule and mix the powder with water so it can get into direct contact with the inflamed area.
When travelling overseas, it is advisable to declare any herbs you are carrying to customs. As long as you have the herbs in their original containers (which have an Aust L on the label) there shouldn’t be any problems.