A Traveler’s First Aid Kit

Remember how I said I just got back from Texas and have been busy chasing two super cute and ooh-too-charming American boys around Calabria? Well, all of that running has caught up with me and I’m smack dab in the middle of a head cold/sinus infection/strep throat-like mystery illness that has me up all night and (wanting to) sleep all day.

Too bad I didn’t consult my new blogging buddy, Andi of My Beautiful Adventures about some of the holistic medicine I should have used, before this crud got me down.

However, it is not too late for you if you are planning a trip abroad. Here are some expert tips from avid traveler and Chinese Medicine Doctor, Andi Perullo.

Being a health care professional, I always make sure that one of the first things I pack when preparing for a trip is my own personal first aid kit. In it I have combined the best of Western and Holistic Medicine into a little package that has kept me quite healthy on my travels around the world. Since I am a Licensed Acupuncturist, I am going to share my favorite Holistic remedies to bring when abroad. If you are more interested in the Western remedies, I encourage you to consult your primary physician for further advice.

#1 Ginger:

The most common problem that people encounter when traveling to a new environment is an upset stomach or diarrhea. This is because your stomach is not used to the new micro-organisms found in the local food and water. Ginger is an herb that people have been using for thousands of years to treat any kind of digestive issue. It comes in many forms, such as chewable tablets, herbal tea, and crystallized candy. It can also be used for nausea associated with any type of motion sickness. Feel free to use it as a preventive measure.

#2 Aloe

Even if you do not plan on visiting a sunny climate where you might get a sunburn, aloe is useful for other burns, scrapes, or bites. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties and its cooling effect will help ease the pain. Many people are not aware that aloe can also be ingested to help strengthen the immune system and combat digestive issues.

#3 Arnica

Arnica is an herb that can be used as a natural substitute for over-the-counter anti-inflammatory/pain medications. It is incredibly effective in treating any pain, swelling, and bruising. It comes in 2 forms: cream or pills. The cream is best for superficial problems, whereas the pills are best for internalized problems. You can pop a pill or two to prevent a hangover headache in the morning as well.

#4 Tiger Balm

Traveling long hours and carrying heavy luggage leads to muscle soreness, fatigue, and pain. One of the best ways to treat this is by rubbing Tiger Balm ointment, which is a combination of Chinese herbs, on to the affected area. Relief is guaranteed almost instantly.

#5 Lavender Essential Oil

Besides the fact that it smells divine, lavender happens to be a powerful antibiotic. If used on the skin, it can help cure rashes or disinfect scrapes or bites. If used internally, it can help boost the immune system. Put a couple of drops in a bottle of water and drink while on the plane to prevent catching a cold. Another benefit of this essential oil is its ability to relax the nervous system. Therefore, if inhaled before sleep it will help insomnia from jetlag.

Of course your kit will highly depend on your particular health concerns and the destination of your travels, however while I hope you will never have to use one of these five remedies it is better to have them than to not have them. Please remember my suggestions are for non-serious ailments. If your ailments do not get better or they become worse, you should seek more advanced care immediately.

Traveling south? Click here to see how I can help you plan your trip to Calabria or southern Italy.

5 Responses
  1. Great advice! I’m curious, if you could just take one thing to reinforce your immune system in general…what would it be?

    I forwarded your comment to Andi, so hopefully she will come back and answer!

  2. Hi Cherrye,

    Thanks for the tips! I have used lavender before but next thought about bringing it with me when I travel.

    I’d love you to join PinkPangea.com, a new community for women travelers to get real travel information geared specifically to women.

    It would be great if you could post about your travels to Calabria, providing anecdotes and photos from your time abroad. You might also want to provide tips for women travelers who also want to get out there.

    Hope to hear from you soon,

    [email protected]

    Thanks for the invite, Jackie. I’ll check it out.

  3. @Saretta: That’s a great question, but a difficult one to answer! There are some amazing Chinese Medicine formulas that specifically work on strengthening the immune system. I always bring a bottle with me when I travel, however they have about 12-15 herbs in them. Chinese Medicine never uses one single herb at a time. So, if I just had to choose 1 thing, I would say Vit C. You can never have enough!

    Thanks for answering, Andi!

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