“On the road again…” For decades, I traveled extensively for work and pleasure as an alternative health care educator, a musician on the road, and travel business owner. In addition to basic first aid supplies like band-aids and alcohol, and supplements like vitamin C and D, herbs have been my mainstay. The following herbs are what I carry as allies when traveling near or far.
Note: Take as directed. For therapeutic dosages, consult your Alternative Health Care Provider.
First Aid List: 15 Herbs for your Travel Kit
- Arnica gel and 30x pellets: Arnica gel applied externally will stop bruising and relieve muscle aches, pain, stiffness, and swelling from injuries. The pellets work internally. Using both speeds healing. Arnica montana, also known as mountain tobacco, is a moderately toxic plant in the daisy family (Asteraceae). It is a mountain plant with a large, perennial, yellow, daisy-like flower that blooms in the summer. In its prepared form, it is non-toxic, easy to carry and use, has no interactions or contraindications, is non-drowsy, and will not mask more serious conditions. Recommended brand: Boiron
- Charcoal activated powder in capsules: Emergency go-to for food poisoning. It is a processed form of common charcoal that prevents certain toxins from being absorbed by the body. It also treats gas and indigestion. Recommended brand: Nature’s Way
- Chlorophyll Concentrate: Supports acclimation to high altitude, increases oxygen in the blood, clears toxins, boosts energy, and relieves jet lag and fatigue. Sourced from stinging nettles. Recommended brand: ChlorOxygen Original
- Goldenseal root tincture & salve: Tincture boosts the immune system and fights cold, flu, and infection. Hydrastis canadensis is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Recommended brand: Herb Pharm. Goldenseal & Comfrey salve for wounds prevents infection and heals quickly. You can make your own! Find the recipe and learn more at The Herbal Medicine Chest: A Must Have Healing Salve Formula
- Ginseng (Panax Korean Red extract): Anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic. Relieves stress, stimulates adrenals and metabolism, improves stamina, boosts the immune system, reduces weariness, eases physical symptoms, and prevents jet lag. Recommended brand: Prince of Peace
- Lavender essential oil: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. Relieves headaches when placed on the temples, calms insect bites and stings, and promotes wound healing, especially burns. May be used in its “neat” undiluted form. I travel with a diffuser that plugs into an outlet. Diffusing lavender eases anxiety, is calming, creates a sense of safety, and insures better rest.
- Lobelia tincture: Lobelia inflata, also known as Indian tobacco. Anti-spasmodic. Useful while traveling for unexpected exposures to allergens like animal dander and molds. Relieves symptoms of asthma attacks, such as wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. Relaxes airways, stimulates breathing, and clears mucus from lungs. Especially useful for pneumonia and bronchitis. Can be medicinally smoked. Larger doses may induce vomiting.
- Olbas oil, inhaler, pastilles: Swiss remedy wards off respiratory infection and relieves congestion. Oil in a hot bath relieves muscle aches, pains, and stress. Inhaler helps one to stay alert while driving. Pastilles soothe sore throat and cough. The name is a contraction of oil from basil. Recommended brand: Olbas Therapeutic
- Rescue Remedy® dropper: No medicine kit should be without this homeopathic remedy recommended for trauma injury, surgery, shock, and physical and emotional stress. Active ingredients assist focused presence of mind, patience with problems and people, composure, and balanced mind when losing control. Star of Bethlehem (active ingredient) softens the impact of shock. Recommended brand: Bach®
- Tea tree oil: Melaleuca alternifolia is useful for cutaneous infections, wounds, and insect bites. Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral. Apply topically. Avoid ingestion. Use with caution. May cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals. Diffuse for cold, flu, and allergy relief. Recommended brand: Nature’s Alchemy
- Thieves essential oil: Antimicrobial. Use in a carrier oil and apply for protection against respiratory infection. Diffuse full strength to inhibit airborne pathogens. Relieves sinus congestion. Recommended brand: Young Living. Or combine essential oils to make your own! Store in a dark glass bottle. Recommended brand: Mountain Rose Herbs. Recipe: 40 drops clove, 35 drops lemon, 20 drops cinnamon bark, 15 drops eucalyptus, 10 drops rosemary (or 5 drops rosemary & 5 drops thyme).
- Tiger Balm muscle rub: Analgesic heat rub used externally for joint and muscle pain. Relieves muscle strain and stiffness. Comes in small, easy-to-carry jars. Recommended brand: Tiger Balm®
- Tobacco, loose: Insect repellent when burned. Moisten with saliva and apply a poultice to draw out heat toxins and poison from insect and snake bites. Drying to the sinuses when smoked. Tobacco has a powerful spirit. It affords energetic protection when carried in a medicine pouch and carries our prayers and intentions to Creator when smoked in a sacred manner. I leave a pinch of tobacco as an offering, with a prayer of gratitude, when gathering plant material for medicine. Tobacco is also used as an offering when asking a medicine person for help or advice. Recommended brand: American Spirit
- Umckaloabo tincture: Pelagonium sidoides has been shown to safely and effectively treat acute upper respiratory infections and prevent pneumonia by keeping bacteria and viruses from attaching to cells in the mucous membranes and stimulating the immune system. Umckaloabo decreases the duration and severity of acute upper respiratory infections. Actions: mucolytic, antiviral, antimicrobial, and an immune stimulant. This plant is a potential life saver. Learn more at Umckaloabo. Recommended brand: Herb Pharm
- Uva Ursi tincture: An astringent with an affinity for the urinary tract system, it prevents and relieves urinary tract infections in women caused by sitting for long periods while traveling, stress, and exposure to foreign water-borne bacteria when bathing or swimming. Recommended brand: Herb Pharm
Note: A few herbs mentioned below are not included in the list above but may be beneficial to have on hand.
Method of Delivery
• Teas: Gypsy Cold Care, Throat Coat, Breathe Easy, and chamomile. Throw a few tea bags in your suitcase, carry-on, or backpack!
• Tinctures: ginseng, goldenseal, lobelia, Thieves, umckaloabo, uva ursi
• Essential Oils: lavender, Olbas, tea tree, Thieves, Tiger Balm
• Homeopathic: arnica, Rescue Remedy
• External: arnica gel, goldenseal-comfrey salve, lavender, Olbas, Tea Tree Oil, Thieves, Tiger Balm, tobacco
• Internal: arnica, charcoal, chlorophyll, ginseng, lobelia, Olbas, Rescue Remedy, umckaloabo, uva ursi
• Bruises, injuries, burns: arnica, goldenseal-comfrey salve, lavender, Rescue Remedy, tea tree, Tiger Balm
• Muscle aches: arnica, Olbas, tiger balm
• Sleep, relaxation: chamomile (gentle sedative), kava, lavender, passion flower (sedative), valerian (insomnia).
• Immune support: echinacea, goldenseal, ginseng, umckaloabo
• Wounds: golden seal, Rescue Remedy, arnica pellets 30c
• Jet lag and fatigue (adjusting the internal body clock): chlorophyll concentrate, ginseng
• Altitude sickness: chlorophyll concentrate
• Anxiety: chamomile, lavender, St john’s wort
• Urinary tract infection (UTI): Uva Ursi
• Respiratory infection and prevention: echinacea, golden seal, Thieves, umckaloabo, Gyspy Cold Care
• Food poisoning: activated charcoal powder
• Headaches: lavender (tension), thieves (sinus)
• Insect and poisonous bites: lavender, tobacco
Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease. Some of this information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. You should seek medical attention at the first signs of an infection and be under the care of and in communication with a licensed physician, even when you are using herbal alternatives. Be sure to disclose any herbs or supplements you may be taking.
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