Natural Remedies To Pack For Travel
Travel is great. Whether it’s spending a week abroad for work or a month backpacking in South America, experiencing a new part of the world brings excitement and perspective to our lives. It can be fun, relaxing, even life-changing but it’s important to remember that not all aspects of travel involve sunshine and rainbows. Acclimating to a new destination often means dealing with stressors that can leave you feeling sick, tired, and wishing you were home. Fortunately, by remembering to pack a few well-known natural supplements, you can avoid or abate most common travel ailments.
Don’t forget to pack these natural supplements when traveling.
Best Natural Remedies To Beat Jet Lag
The rule of thumb is that for each time zone crossed it will take a full day for your body to adapt. Depending on how far you’re traveling, this could mean several days out of your trip being lost to exhaustion, insomnia and irritability. The key to beating jet lag is to take an active approach to resetting your body’s circadian rhythm. Traditional strategies include setting your watch to the destination’s time once boarding the plane, exercising as soon as you land, and eating when you would in the new time zone. Once you’ve arrived, it’s important to get plenty of sunshine during the day, ideally immediately upon waking, while avoiding blue light from devices at night. But if you truly want to hack your biology and speed up recovery, try these natural supplements for jet lag.
1. Leopard’s Bane for Jet Lag
Indigenous to Europe, Siberia, and parts of North America, Leopard’s Bane, or Arnica Montana, has a long history of use as a potent herbal remedy. Native Americans used it to alleviate tension, overexertion, mental strain, sleeplessness, and restlessness when over-tired. These anti-inflammatory properties are what make Leopard’s Bane a powerful remedy for jet lag when traveling. To avoid toxicity, take pills with a 30x dilution when on the plane and repeat once a day until acclimated.
2. Melatonin to Regulate Sleep Cycles
Technically a hormone, melatonin is naturally produced within the body by the pineal gland. It plays a variety of roles, but is best known for inducing sleepiness. Melatonin is manufactured and regulated by the body depending on exposure to light, which is why it’s important not to stare at your phone or laptop in the hour or two preceding sleep. A 2007 study found supplementing with 3-5 grams of melatonin to be beneficial in combatting jet lag when “taken at bedtime (local time), starting the first evening after arrival and continuing for the next 5 days.” To get a headstart, try taking a small dose of melatonin half an hour prior to your target bedtime at your destination.
Best Natural Remedies for Travel Sickness
Nothing puts a damper on a traveling holiday like getting sick. Unfortunately, travel often means taking unfamiliar means of travel and being exposed to less than sanitary conditions. Luckily, the following herbal supplements can help prevent travel sickness and keep you good spirits.
3. Lycopodium for Motion Sickness
Whether traveling by sea or by air, motion sickness is an all too common travel ailment characterized by extreme nausea and dizziness. The vestibular system, or eye-ear connection, is thought to be at fault which is why the old sailor’s remedy for seasickness is to stare at single point on the horizon. But if you want to hedge your bets, it may be best to supplement with lycopodium, also known as clubmoss, starting two hours before departure. It is thought that the mechanism of action by which Lycopodium works has to do with its increased blood flow in soft tissue, including the ear. It has also been used for hundreds of years in Ayurvedic medicine for its stomach calming effects, which may also help to mitigate motion sickness.
4. Oil of Oregano for Immune Support
It goes by many names: Montezuma's Revenge, Delhi Belly, the Thailand Trots. Traveler’s diarrhea is the curse of many a holiday when street food gets the best of you. Not only does it wreak havoc on your gut, it confines you to the safe proximity of your hotel bathroom for at least 24 hours. Taking activated charcoal before each meal can be effective but it may also absorb any additional beneficial supplements taken around the same time. That’s where oil of oregano comes in. An all-natural essential oil, oil of oregano is well known for its antifungal and antimicrobial properties. For preventative measures, it can be used topically to wipe down surfaces and sanitize hands, or as an antiseptic when added sparingly to water and used like mouthwash. A couple drops in clean drinking water a few times a day provides extra insurance by neutralizing potential bugs, permitting you the pleasure and glory that is street food without the worry.
How To Take The Edge Off And Make Travel Stress-Free
Moving from place to place, packing and unpacking, trying to find your way around an unfamiliar city when you don’t speak the local language; there are many inherent stresses that accompany travel no matter how healthy you are or how well you’ve prepared. It’s important to be mindful of the experience and to recognize what is out of your control. Still, sometimes a little extra help is needed and these natural remedies can help take the edge off.
5. Ginseng to Protect Against Environmental Stress
An adaptogenic herb, Ginseng increases resilience to environmental stress. It has a tried and true history of use in Chinese medicine for reducing lethargy and fatigue, and increasing mental performance. Packing Ginseng in your travel kit will ensure you’re ready to resist the stresses of travel and maintain a healthy immune system. Traditionally, the root of the herb was used for its medicinal properties, but today, standardized tinctures and capsules have made carrying and consuming Ginseng much more efficient and effective. Since Ginseng must be taken regularly and consistently to have an effect, it’s best to start with 100 to 200 mg of the herb twice a day, two weeks before travel until the end of your trip.
6. Kava Root as a Natural Xanax for Travel Anxiety
Missed flights, long lines, unfamiliar cultures, and miscommunication. When it comes to travel, there are little stresses everywhere that, if not prepared for and handled adequately, can culminate in an explosion of anxiety and irritability. That’s where Kava comes in. Used in Polynesia for thousands of years, Kava root is a natural stress reliever. Traditionally consumed as a ceremonial brew, today kava comes in many forms including kava tea, kava candy, and kava powder. However, the most efficacious way to consume kava is as a tincture. For example, this fast acting, pocket-sized kava spray is perfect for travel. Kava works due to compounds called lactones which keep you relaxed, yet alert. Several studies have shown kava to significantly promote relaxation, without any side effects. Feeling like your personal space isn’t being respected? Luggage not make the transfer? Lost in a new city? Regardless of the travel stress you’re experiencing, a few sprays of a kava tincture will keep you cool, calm, and collected so that you can make the most out of every experience.
Travel can be an invigorating, pleasurable experience but it is essential to prepare your mind and body for the wide variety of ailments that you’ll be exposed to. If you don’t, common maladies like jet lag, motion sickness, food poisoning, and anxiety have the potential to completely ruin a trip. Learning how to avoid or treat these common travel ailments can be the difference between a vacation disaster and the trip of a lifetime. Whether it’s on a rocking boat or waiting in line for street food, by planning ahead and packing the aforementioned herbal remedies, you can rest assured that you’ll enjoy every minute of your next adventure.
Photos by Gus Ruballo