Homeopathy for Travellers

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A few years ago I was sitting next to a mother and her young boy on a bus trip to New York City. Shortly after departure the boy started to cry, holding his tummy and clinging to mom. His mother was apologetic, explaining that the boy suffers from motion sickness. She told me the problem could be much worse; he vomits if she doesn’t give him Gravol before boarding.

While I don’t suffer from motion sickness myself, I make it a habit of travelling with a fully loaded first aid kit. You see, I get special pleasure from showing off how quick and effective homeopathic remedies can be in various first aid situations.

With the mother’s permission, I reached into my purse and pulled out the remedy Cocculus Indicus. I told the boy he will like its sweet taste, and instructed him to keep the remedy under his tongue until it dissolved completely. Within 15 minutes the boy stopped crying and let go of his mother.  I told the mother to repeat the remedy, if and when the symptoms return.  Much to the mother’s amazement, the boy was his usual happy self for the remaining 11-hour bus trip and no more remedy was needed.

Some people believe they don’t have the skill or knowledge to use homeopathic remedies and they shy away from prescribing for themselves and family members. While it does take special training to find suitable remedies for chronic illnesses (a task that should be left to professional homeopaths), prescribing in first aid situations is easy and safe, and can be done by anyone.

With a few selected remedies, even a beginner can prevent unpleasant situations and unnecessary suffering on a day trip, a cruise, or an international journey.

Below are some common ailments that may occur during travels, with corresponding homeopathic remedies in 30C potency. Always take one pellet at a time, even if the remedy container instructs you to take 3-5 pellets at a time. One will do the same, so don’t waste the pellets. Take the first pellet as soon as the symptoms occur. Repeat when the symptoms start creeping back following a period of improvement.

Common Travel Complaints and Associated Remedies

• Fear of Flying
Aconitum napellus 30C:  for fear of flying with great anxiety.  The fear may be accompanied by fear of accidents, and even fear of death.
Argentum nitricum 30C:  for fear of flying accompanied by diarrhea, cold sweats, and knots in the stomach. Subject may be fidgety.

• Jet lag
Cocculus indicus 30C:  take the first pellet during your flight and the second pellet upon arrival at your destination, to help you adjust to the time difference.  A third pellet may be taken if necessary.
Arnica montana 30C:  Equally useful as Cocculus for jet lag. Take the same way as Cocculus indicus.

• Earache / Plugged Ear
Arnica montana 30C: for earache or plugged ears during flight. Take the remedy based on severity of symptoms, as indicated in the paragraph titled ‘How to Take the Remedies’ (near the end of this article).

• Sun Burn
Calendula cream or gel:  for mild sun burn, apply the cream or gel generously on the affected area as often as desired.
Urtica urens 30C:  for mild burns, take one pellet every two hours. Apply calendula cream or gel in addition to taking the remedy orally.
Cantharis 30C:  for moderate burns, take one pellet every two hours. Apply calendula cream or gel as above.

• Sun Stroke
Glonoinum 30C:  for sun stroke accompanied with headaches, nausea, cold sweats or chills. Sunstroke can be serious, so use this remedy while waiting for medical help.

• Food Poisoning
Arsenicum album 30C:  for a case of food poisoning (such as Montezuma’s revenge, or similar) with diarrhea and cramps, cold sweats, and/or vomiting.

• Diarrhea
Arsenicum album 30C: for diarrhea accompanied by cramping, cold sweats and/or vomiting. Suited to an anxious, restless patient who is thirsty for small sips of water.
Podophyllum 30C: for splattering explosive diarrhea, usually in the early hours of the morning.
Veratrum album 30C: for diarrhea with a feeling of extreme coldness, weakness and cold sweats. The patient may look very pale.

• Constipation
Nux vomica 30C: for constipation due to travel, with change in routine and diet.
Natrum muriaticum 30C:  suited to shy introverts who are unable to have bowel movements in public washrooms or new surroundings.
Lycopodium 30C: for constipation with excess bloating and gassiness.

• Motion sickness
Cocculus indicus 30C: for motion sickness on car trips.  Can be taken one hour prior as prevention (only if you are 100% sure you will become car sick)
Tabacum 30C: best for boat trips and cruises. Take one hour before boarding if you’re prone to motion sickness.  Take one pellet as soon as you become sea-sick during stormy weather.
Both Cocculus and Tabacum can help motion sickness caused in cars or boats. If one does not work, try the other to discover which one is more effective for you.

• Altitude sickness
Silica 30C: for symptoms of nausea, light headedness and headaches caused by high altitudes

• Stings and Bites
Apis mellifica 30C: for stings and bites that are swollen, hot, burning and stinging (best for bee stings)
Ledum palustre 30C: for the swelling, itching and burning of mosquito and other insect bites. Also useful in puncture wounds caused by animal bites or sharp objects.  Prevents infections, such as tetanus.

• Hangover
Nux vomica 30C: for negative reactions from alcohol overconsumption. Take at bedtime preventively, when you suspect you will be hung over in the morning. Continue taking in the morning if needed. In most cases, one more pellet in the morning should help you feel like your old self again.

• Overeating / Indigestion
Nux vomica 30C: for indigestion with nausea and/or vomiting due to overindulgence in food.

• Injuries and Trauma
Arnica montana 30C: first remedy for aches, pains, bruises, scrapes and sprains caused by falls, blows or overexertion.

How to Take the Remedies

Below is a general guideline on how frequently to take a remedy. Reduce the frequency as the symptoms improve. If there is no improvement after taking a given remedy three times, move onto the next best indicated remedy. If the symptoms continue to get worse, get medical help.

Degree of Seriousness / Frequency:

Not Serious – Symptoms are mild and can wait a day or two without serious consequences – e.g. slight hangover, jet lag, constipation, etc. One pellet every 3-6 hours
Somewhat Serious – Symptoms are somewhat bothersome and need attention within 24 hours – e.g. mild to moderate sun burn, sprained ankle, etc. One pellet every 1-3 hours
Serious – Symptoms need immediate attention – e.g. severe diarrhea, food poisoning, bee sting, etc. One pellet every 5-30 minutes

A Word of Caution

Serious injuries and illnesses require immediate medical help and advice. Use your instincts and common sense. If the situation seems serious, call for medical help, then use the indicated homeopathic remedy while waiting for help to arrive.  Seek medical advice if symptoms don’t improve, or if symptoms return after using homeopathic remedies. In some cases, people may have pre-existing conditions that tends to worsen during vacation time. For example, a person who is hypersensitive to sun exposure may experience chronic headaches in warmer climates. Or sometimes a person who gets earaches during flights is not helped at all by the remedy Arnica. Such cases need a qualified homeopath to resolve the underlying constitutional weakness.

The Pros and Cons of Combination Remedies

You may have seen homeopathic remedies entitled “No Jet Lag” or “Motion Sickness” sold in health food stores.  These are “combination” remedies – made up of several homeopathic remedies, combined in one pill, known to be effective in jet lag, for instance. The pros of combination remedies are the convenience with which the layperson can select and prescribe by ailment name. The combination remedy may work for you if the specific remedy you need is one of the ingredients. As a result, combination remedies work some of the time for some people.

You have a greater chance of success by using a single remedy which is prescribed for your specific symptoms.  This is the basis of Classical Homeopathy – prescribing a single remedy at any given time to match all symptoms.

Homeopathy Saved My Vacation!

One patient who had travelled to Cuba with several homeopathic remedies in hand based on my recommendation, sent me the following email upon returning from her trip.

“On the second day of my trip, we went on a bus tour of neighbouring towns. I sprained my ankle getting off the bus. It was so bad that I could not continue the trip. I had to wait for a taxi to take me back to the hotel. My ankle was quite swollen and walking was very painful.

I read the instructions on the first aid kit you gave me and decided to take Arnica. Within 30 minutes the swelling had gone down considerably. My husband, who was a skeptic, could not believe the results. I continued taking Arnica once every hour. By the end of the day, I was walking with minimal pain. The next day my ankle was back to normal. I even played tennis!

Thank you so much! Homeopathy saved my vacation!”

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