Did you know that some of the most common ailments that travellers come across on holiday can be helped or even solved with a few natural ingredients? A lot of these can be bought very easily in the supermarket or health food store, you may already have some at home to take with you or you could buy them locally.
A lot of these herbs and spices have been used for hundreds of years, and are a great alternative to those that prefer the natural approach to healing. We’ve come up with seven of the best tricks to soothe and cure your holiday troubles.
Ease your motion sickness
Motion Sickness bands – They work by applying pressure on the key pressure-points to reduce the symptoms of nausea.
Ginger – As a natural antiemetic, ginger biscuits can prevent nausea. Make sure the biscuits are made with real ginger though and not artificial and try to take them before your journey.
Peppermint – Suck on a peppermint sweet, but try not to chew them. The menthol in peppermint helps calm your stomach muscles to ease your nausea.
Fenugreek – Some people find taking capsules or tea made from this herb is effective in reducing nausea.
Fennel – Another herb that can be used to prevent and treat motion sickness. You can find the tea in most health food stores.
Settle an upset stomach
Black tea – Sweetened with sugar. The stronger the tea, the better. The tannins in tea helps stop the stomach muscles contracting.
Blackberry tea – After boiling a handful of leaves in water, strain the tea and try to drink 2-3 cups a day. As blackberries are a natural sauce of anti-bacteria, they are very good for treating stomach pains caused by infection.
Goldenseal –This tea contains a chemical called berberine, which can help combat bacteria and ease your stomach pains.
Psyllium – These are ground up seeds and a source of fiber so they can be used as a laxative.
Ginger – Flat ginger ale at room temperature is good for replacing sugars and to re-hydrate you after vomiting, we recommend drinking this a couple of hours after being sick.
To aid colds and flu
Herbal tea with honey – Purchased from most supermarkets and a great way to treat cold and flu symptoms, not just for medicinal purposes but also to soothe your sore throat.
Warm compress- Applying warm compresses such as a warm cloth around your sinuses can ease swelling and pain.
Salt water – Gargling half a teaspoon of salt mixed with water can soothe your sore throat.
Mustard footbath – Warming your feet in hot water mixed with 1 tablespoon of mustard powder (4 tablespoons to a running bath) can ease the symptoms of colds. The mustard draws blood to your feet which helps ease congestion. Adding peppermint or eucalyptus oil is also effective.
Astragalus –Taken in capsule form, this ancient Chinese herb stimulates the immune system which can help fight those nasty cold germs.
Save yourself from altitude sickness
Vitamin C – Take regular doses for the duration of your stay as vitamin C can help your body cope better in higher altitudes.
Water – The more hydrated you are the better you will feel at altitude. If you need to drink excessive amounts then include a rehydration drink to replace the electrolytes.
Ginkgo – This ancient plant is a herbal supplement that can improve blood flow to the brain. You can buy the supplements from most health shops.
Milk Thistle – This herbal supplement has a positive effect on altitude sickness.
Lemonade mixed with ginger – The lemonade has vitamin C to help prevent vomiting and the ginger will give fast relief to any nausea.
Soothe your sun burnt skin
Compresses – Soaking a cloth in cold milk straight from the fridge and placing on your sore skin will cool down the burnt area. The milk will paste a layer of protein onto the skin to protect and help it heal.
Cider Vinegar and Lavender oil bath – This works wonders for large areas of sunburn. Add two cups of cider vinegar with a couple of drops of Lavender oil to a warm bath this will calm and soothe the skin. The lavender will take the sting out.
Aloe Vera – Rub fresh aloe vera (readily available in most of the Caribbean) over the affected area or try an aftersun combined with it. The qualities of this plant helps the skin renew itself and it also contains natural anti-oxidants.
Cucumbers – If you are able to get access to a blender, then blend chilled cucumbers into a paste and use as a natural after sun. Its cooling and promotes healing and relief due to it’s antioxidant and analgesic properties.
Relieve jellyfish stings
Remember to remove any pieces of jellyfish tentacle first by rinsing with seawater, before attempting any of these methods.
Baking soda paste – Mix baking soda and seawater and spread over the affected area, this may deactivate the stingers.
Hot shower – As hot as you can handle to ease pain.
Ice packs – These can help ease the pain and prevent inflammation. They also soothe your skin.
Ease the itchy bug bites
Oatmeal – Mix porridge oats and water into a paste, spoon onto a cloth and hold it on to irritated skin for about 10 minutes. This can relieve itching and swelling.
Honey – Put a small drop onto the bites, honey has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce the itch. Adding cinnamon to this can act as an antifungal and antiseptic too.
Aloe Vera – Cut open a fresh aloe plant and apply the gel to the bites, aloe vera is an anti-inflammatory properties that helps to heal bug bites.
Basil – Boil dried basil leaves in water, leave the mixture to cool and then rub gently on your bites. Basil contains eugenol that can help relieve itchy skin.
Lavender oil – Rub a couple of dabs onto the bites. Lavender has natural calming and relaxing qualities which has the ability to soothe.
Herbs and other natural agents, can help treat a range of health issues, however they are not meant to replace the advice of medical professionals. It is also wise to double check first if you have any pre-existing conditions, are on any medications or for use on children or infants. If symptoms persist or get worse then do seek professional help.
If you have any healing remedies of your own, then please leave them in the comments below.
Find out how you can avoid becoming ill on holiday.