by Dr. Kristen Bovee, Peninsula Naturopathic Clinic & Hydrate IV Wellness Centre –
Summer is upon us! This time for many is for travelling to find relaxation and rest. Whether it’s the journey to your destination or the time you are there, maintaining your health is arguably the most important part of your vacation. The following is a list of essential natural items that should be included in your first aid and travel kit for the summer.
1. Tea tree oil (melaleuca alternifolia) is probably one of my favourite essential oils. It is a native tree to Southern Australia, and its properties include: anti fungal, antibacterial, anti itch and antiviral. To be used only topically, it can be applied “neat” (undiluted) to just about any external surface for treating insect bites, scabies, skin fungal or bacterial infections and for applying to cuts and scrapes.
2. Natural sunscreen. The safest mineral sun-blocking ingredient is zinc oxide that works by reflecting the sun’s rays instead of being absorbed into our bloodstreams (as chemical sunscreens are). Zinc blocks more UVA rays than titanium dioxide. Be sure to choose a minimum 30 SPF strength.
3. Probiotics. Let’s face it: our digestion is never the same on holiday. We tend to eat things we shouldn’t and sitting for long travel times results in regularity issues. Probiotics can help in both situations; they will help us process the foods we are eating, keep our bowels regular and improve our immune system.
4. Digestive enzymes. In addition to probiotics, digestive enzymes at meals will help minimize bloating and gas caused by foods that we (over) consume on vacation, making you feel more comfortable.
5. Natural bug spray. There are many natural sprays available to use instead of DEET-containing ones. You can make your own by using essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, citronella and tea tree that have shown insect repellant abilities. If you do get a bite, calamine lotion or tea tree oil will take the itch out.
6. Electrolytes. High temperatures, exercise and alcohol make it likely for us to become dehydrated, especially when we typically don’t drink enough water. Always carry a water bottle with you and use natural electrolyte powders added to your water. A natural electrolyte recipe includes: lemon juice, baking soda, honey and calcium/magnesium liquid. Avoid the artificial colour and flavoured formulas out there.
7. Ginger pastilles. These are excellent for nausea during a long car ride or if you’ve picked up a stomach bug.
8. Zinc lozenges. Consume up to three 5mg zinc lozenges on a long plane ride to boost the immune system to prevent viral infections.
9. Natural antibacterial wipes. These are great for wiping down your airplane seats and for general use in the car or at a campsite where clean running water may be scarce.
10. Arnica tablets and cream. Arnica is a homeopathic remedy used in any inflammatory condition, including bruising, swelling and injury. After any injury use 30CH or 200CH pellets under the tongue several times per day. Topically use the cream on any swelling but not directly on open skin.
Using more natural products and remedies for travel will lead to long-term health benefits compared to using other chemical-laden standards. Enjoy your summer and your holiday in good health!