How to Build a Natural Travel First-Aid Kit
Summertime is prime time for packing your bags and taking a trip. But getting away can mean getting hit with some common travel ailments, from bug bites and stomachaches to sunburns and colds. Fortunately, it’s easy to build a natural travel first-aid kit that keeps you and your family healthy without having to worry about medication side effects.
Before you take to the road this summer, grab these items for your natural first-aid kit:
Badger’s After-Bug Balm
“It contains colloidal oatmeal, which helps calm inflammation and itching, and tamanu oil, which is amazing for healing the skin,” says Stacey Donelson, a clinical herbalist in Longmont, Colorado. “It’s perfect for infants as well as adults.”
“Always carry a tick tweezer if you are camping or in the wilderness,” says Ellen Goldsmith, a certified herbalist in Portland, Oregon. “Always check for tick bites at the end of a day and take a shower if you can.”
“Combinations of lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon, thyme and tea tree essential oils can be helpful for mosquito protection,” says Goldsmith. “Mix 10–20 drops of your preferred oils with 2 Tbsp. of a carrier oil such as almond, avocado or olive. You can apply the mixture directly on the skin.”
Salt and baking soda
“For bites, bring salt or baking soda,” says Goldsmith. “You can make a paste and apply it directly to the bug bite for relief.”
“Ginger has a natural calming effect on the digestive system,” says Donelson. “I recommend crystallized ginger for kids—preschool-age kids and older can suck on it like candy.”
Goldsmith adds, “Ginger tea is always good for minor digestive disturbances.”
“Probiotics are helpful in maintaining beneficial gut bacteria while you’re traveling,” says Goldsmith. “They’re especially useful if you are traveling to an area where the food and water are dramatically different from what you’re used to at home.”
Due to the break in routine, constipation is common while traveling. Fortunately, magnesium citrate can work wonders as a gentle laxative. It helps to relax muscles within the intestinal wall, increasing your ability to go to the bathroom; and it works as an osmotic, pulling water into the bowels and making your stool softer and easier to move.
“Aloe gel is great for sunburns and easy to find in health food stores,” says Goldsmith.
Ching Wan Hung and magnesium cream
“For sunburns, I recommend an herbal burn cream called Ching Wan Hung and magnesium cream,” says Donelson. “First apply Ching Wan Hung to the area; then spray the magnesium on top. The Ching Wan Hung helps the skin heal and stops the burning, while the magnesium helps your body maintain proper magnesium levels. Magnesium also can help with sleep and muscle cramps. If possible, keep both stored in a fridge or cooler for added relief.”
Yin Qiao San
“Yin Qiao San is a Chinese herbal formula that you can take at the first signs of a sore throat, chills or fever,” says Goldsmith. “It can usually be found in a natural food store or Chinese herb shop, or easily online. “It is best to take it right at the beginning of a cold. Take as directed.”
“Bring a pair of 100 percent cotton socks and 100 percent wool socks for a hydrotherapy treatment that can ramp up the immune system,” says Goldsmith. “Here’s what to do: Take a hot bath or shower. While you’re in there, be soaking your pair of cotton socks in the coldest water possible. When you get out of the bath or shower, wring out the socks until they’re damp but not dripping. Put on the cotton socks first then put the dry wool socks over them. Go to bed and keep the socks on all night long. When you wake up, they will be dry and you should feel better. Repeat for three nights. This treatment can turn a cold right around!”
Pains and Sprains
“Always travel with Arnica cream and Arnica 30C as a homeopathic remedy for sprains and minor injuries,” says Goldsmith. “Arnica cream is great if you are feeling sore after a lot of activity, or if you have a mild injury. Arnica 30c, available in most health food stores, can also be taken 3–5 times daily to help prevent bruising and swelling.”