HERBS FOR THE ROAD
Going on vacation is something we usually look forward to, but travel can present its own challenges, and unfamiliar activities can leave you sore, achy, tired, or even sick. Luckily, there are some simple ways to treat most common travelrelated complaints. A natural medicine chest filled with just a few herbs can help you enjoy the trip. GINGER has been used for centuries to treat stomach problems in general, and in the past 25 years, science has documented its benefits for motion sickness specifically. One study tested the herb on 80 naval cadets who were unaccustomed to sailing the high seas. Compared to a dummy pill, 1 gram of ginger was effective in reducing nausea, cold sweats, vomiting, and dizziness. Ginger is available in pills, tinctures, teas, and chewable forms. Peppermint extract or tea is another traditional motionsickness remedy. Jet lag can be mitigated with energizing herbs if you need a little boost to stay awake, or calming herbs if you need to relax and get some sleep.
FEVERFEW, commonly used for migraines, contains the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin—in smaller quantities than those found in melatonin supplements— and is included in some herbal jet-lag formulas. GINSENG supports the adrenal glands, which in turn help to stimulate the natural production of melatonin at night and restore sleep patterns. CHAMOMILE is a gentle, relaxing sedative that’s safe even for children. It enhances restful sleep and helps with digestion, which is often disrupted by odd schedules and strange foods when traveling. Hiking, biking, climbing, or even long rides in the car can leave you sore. For joints, CURCUMIN is a strong antiinflammatory herb that works quickly to reduce pain, especially in a form that is designed to be quickly absorbed, such as Theracurmin, available in a variety of brands.
For sore muscles, ARNICA GEL, rubbed on before intense activity such as a long bike ride, can prevent soreness. Afterward, arnica gel can relieve soreness and help muscles heal. Arnica gel is not designed to be used on broken skin. Mishaps can occur during vacation activities—falling off a bike, tripping on a trail, or losing control of unfamiliar equipment such as a jet ski or dune buggy. If in doubt as to the severity of the injury, always get medical attention.
To treat minor injuries yourself, ARNICA can be taken internally as a homeopathic remedy. It reduces swelling and bruising and decreases the effects of trauma, which helps the body heal. To speed recovery further, apply arnica gel on sore or bruised areas (but not on open wounds). To heal skin abrasions, use a CALENDULA CREAM or ointment on the injured area. ALOE VERA GEL is a tried and tested remedy for sunburn and other types of skin irritation, including itching from insect bites and rashes from poison ivy. Gently washing irritated skin with CHAMOMILE TEA, brewed and then cooled, is another soothing treatment.