Whether it’s an upset tummy, fever or jet lag, it’s not always a one-way ticket to fun. Dr Asha Jones, an Ayurvedic expert from Dubai Herbal Treatment Centre, explains how we can prevent some of the most common traveller sicknesses, and recommends remedies to treat them naturally without ruining our trips.
You can ask your hotel to make these remedies for you, or pick up the ingredients from a local supermarket on your travels.
One of the most common struggles of travelling is the upset stomach, usually caused by contaminated water or food. Symptoms in addition to diarrhoea, include cramps, fever, dehydration and loss of appetite and can often lead to severe fatigue. All too often, people reach for pharmacy solutions but you can easily take care of it with ingredients found in any kitchen.
- Mix together 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of ginger juice and take 2-3 times daily until the symptoms pass.
- Grind curry leaves (dried are also readily available in supermarkets) into a paste. Take 1 teaspoon of this paste on an empty stomach or mixed with 1 glass of butter milk.
When we travel, with changes in time zones and routines, many of us notice disruption to our digestive systems. Some good remedies to keep you regular would include:
- Triphala tea: Known for its calming and laxative effects, this can be drunk twice daily, on rising and at bed time, in a cup of hot water which is steeped for five to ten minutes. It is possible to get the remedy in capsule formula for travel ease.
- Dandelion root: Also known for its powerful detoxifying properties, dandelion root can be used as one teaspoon in hot water, or alternatively used in capsule formula.
- Psyllium husks are a natural colon cleanser. You can take one or two teaspoons in a glass of juice or warm water; alternatively, this too is available in capsule formula.
Also caused by contaminated water, food or motion sickness, symptoms can include quite serious fever and cramps, which can result in fairly debilitating fatigue, ruining your plans to enjoy your latest getaway.
- Sip a ginger decoction (crushed ginger boiled in hot water) to reduce nausea.
- Chew a small piece of ginger, mint or cloves to control the nausea and vomiting sensation.
- Quarter teaspoon of cinnamon powder in 1 glass of warm water sipped slowly will help in calming the irritated stomach and reflexes.
Often caused by bacterial or viral infections, from low immunity due to tiredness or stress after travel, symptoms include elevated body temperature, chills or shivering, body pain and headaches.
- Boil a mixture of 1 teaspoon of dried ginger powder and black pepper powder in 2 glasses of water until reduced to 1 glass. Divide this decoction into three equal parts and take 3 times daily, before food. You can add a little honey if you want. This remedy is like fighting fire with fire; the heating properties of the spices help the body quickly sweat out and detoxify the roots of the fever.
- Cinnamon is an excellent immunity booster. Taking half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder in honey helps in boosting immunity during fever.
- Drinking boiled cumin seed water (1 teaspoon dissolved in 1 litre of water) will work as an antiseptic for any infections causing fever.
Broken sleep can be caused by stress as well as a change in time zones. Not only can it affect your zzz’s but it can make you feel moody and low, a complete blight to your happy holiday feelings.
- Try to get a good relaxing massage, and if not, apply coconut oil generously over the head and body, leave for 30 minutes before taking a warm shower to help aid sleep sensations.
- Rub coconut oil on the soles of your feet before you go to sleep to stimulate relaxation trigger points.
- Drink 1 glass of warm cinnamon milk to help you sleep. The soothing properties of cinnamon are said to aid relaxation and sleep.
- Take half a teaspoon of soothing nutmeg powder in honey before bed, to relax the body’s nervous system in preparation for bed.
- Improve your digestion. Don’t you just hate that travel bloating? Eating healthy and easily digestible foods in the few days before travelling will help in terms of bloating, constipation and general fatigue. The better your body is when you arrive on the flight, the better equipped to handle the challenges of travel, it will be. So start fighting the jet lag early, because everything ‘health’ starts with the gut!
Post-travel swelling / water retention massage
Most of us don’t need telling twice to go for a massage, and certainly not if it helps combat flight fatigue. If you feel tired and swollen, try to get a good massage as it improves your circulation, organ functions and clears the fluid retention. For swollen ankles or feet, dipping your feet in warm salt water will help too.
Lower back pain
However active you are, travelling long distances and getting out of your usual routine, whether it’s walking or more serious training regimes, can cause backaches and stiffness.
- Try a gentle massage with warm oils like sesame oil, known for helping to reduce blood pressure. Mustard oil or coconut oil which reduces inflammation, when boiled with a little camphor, will ease the stiffness and pain in the muscles.
- A hot fomentation compress on the back using a towel dipped in hot water can be very soothing. It is good if you can add a few drops of eucalyptus oil – which has anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties – or camphor to this water. Camphor increases the blood flow to an area and in turn, helps reduce inflammation.
- Do some gentle stretching exercises to relieve the stiffness.
- Try to get your digestive system functioning well to relieve pressure on the back (see Travellers’ Tummy). Eat whole foods rich in fibre that are easily digestible, so plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. It can be good to boost your digestive and immune system before and during travel with a good quality probiotic and to supplement with digestive enzymes before food if you know you have a sensitive digestive system. Ensure you are hydrated, as this is a major cause of digestive discomfort resulting from flying.
– TEXT BY MELANIE SWAN
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.