We love vacation and travel! And nobody wants to be sick while they are hiking in the mountains or exploring a new country. It makes sense to both prepare yourself before you leave and be prepared while you are traveling. You don’t need to take up an entire suitcase of extra ‘first aid’ supplies. I pack light, just enough to get through a day or just enough to get by until I can get to the next Asian market or convenience store.
Before you go –
Know thyself – We all have propensities for particular pathologies that afflict us. It’s best to know these and get them under control before you leave so you can travel with minimal complaints. For example, if you are going to fly and you have sinus congestion, start working to clear up your congestion before you get on the plane so you don’t feel like your head’s going to pop at 30,000 feet. Personally, I’m prone to neck tightness and aches – too many years in martial arts – anyway, I usually have kudzu or a neck formula on hand when I travel and I make sure that I keep my neck warm, protected and relaxed before leaving. Check with your practitioner if you need a guidance in figuring out some of your patterns or natures.
Know where you are going – Are you going to be in city, or are you going camping? Will you be near home or overseas? Packing appropriate clothes for the climate is a no-brainer, but you can up your preparedness by having a few formulas on had to counter the elemental natures of particular areas. Another example, when we traveled to Korea last summer we were heading from a hot and dry climate to damp heat climate. Summer heat can be a problem for me, so I pack a specific formula to treat invasion of damp heat. If you are camping you may want to add in herbs for handling bug bites and burns.
Learn your food energetics – Feeling queasy? Nausea is one of the most common complaints when traveling. Knowing that phlegm and damp forming foods (cheeses, dairy, sweet foods) will make it worse while sour or bitter flavors will move the stagnation out of the digestive track can be a life-savor. Instead of having the mocha, maybe a lemon drink would be better. If you are cold, perhaps yogurt and granola isn’t an ideal breakfast and you should go for something hot. Get it? You can download my Energetic Temperature of Foods Chart here.
Although I don’t use western medicines a lot, travel is a time when I do make sure a few are on hand. You will want to shut down acute headaches or allergic reactions as soon as possible.
To the list!
Pack the necessities – I always pack a small traditional western first aid kit with the usual:
- band-aids and wrap
- aspirin, ibuprofen or some OTC pain medicine
- alcohol prep pads
- menstrual pads
- heat pack
- ice pack
Besides the above items I also include some specific herbal formulas for:
Stomach ick! –
- Pill Curing (Culing Wan) is the classic for any digestive complaints from jet lag, to gas and bloating, diarrhea and motion sickness. You may be eating unfamiliar food so digestive aids are a good idea.
- Green Clay – can be used to treat gas, bloating, diarrhea and it can also be used as a plaster over bug bites and bee stings.
- Crystalized ginger – not only for treating stomach ick, it’s nicely warming and can be used to counter menstrual cramps or warm you up if you’ve been out in the cold too long.
- I usually pack a few teabags too. Chamomile and peppermint are nice additions.
- Yunnan Bai Yao regulates and stops bleeding. All packets include a little tiny red pill that is used to treat shock. Take it right away if there has been a traumatic incident, even psycho-spiritual trauma.
Common cold–I choose one of the following
- Ganmaoling – it’s just magical. Found in almost any Asian market, kicks a cold quick. You can take a low dose preventative for a short period and higher dose when you are full out fighting.
- Immustim or Immuplex – Immustim by Professional Formulas is a beautiful combination of herbs and vitamins. Immuplex by Standard Process is a glandular product. Both are fabulous at boosting the immune system. I use them at low doses for general building and higher doses for treating the acute.
- Yin Chaio is another great formula for onset of colds and fevers.
Sinus congestion –
- Pe Min Kan Wan or Bi Yan Pian – both are excellent nasal clearing formulas whether the congestion is from allergies or a cold.
- Superior throat spray – if you used this spray you know it’s tremendously clearing, anti viral and anti-fungal, it can be poofed into the ears, nose or throat. It’s a strong smelling formula, very herby-medicinal, but even if the person in the plane seat next to you has really bad body odor, consider wisely before you poof it. Yes, it will cover their smell but you are going to draw a lot of attention to yourself.
Sore Throat –
- Superior Throat spray
- Ganmaoling – did I mention it’s magical?
- Lung and Throat drops or some lovely cough drop.
Sleep and anxiety – if you are prone to it.
- Suan Zao Ren is my favorite. An Mian Pian or Calm Spirit are great options as well.
- Yunnan Bai Yao – that little red pill for shock
Personalize! You have to develop this list yourself, it’s based out of the know thyself and knowing your patterns. If you have wicked headaches that you sometimes have to take prescription medicines for, don’t forget them! For me, kudzu is always coming along.
Use some wisdom – I like to use bulk kudzu and dried nettles at home. However a little baggy of white chalky stuff or mashed up dried green herbs could raise a few suspicions in airports. I travel with kudzu that is in capsule. Make sense?