An Herbalist’s Travel Kit Revealed

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. ~Ibn Battuta

I recently spent 3 amazing weeks in Bali, Indonesia. With traveling, I never know what I will be able to buy while there as far as herbs, supplements and other remedies that I like. So, from my very abundant herbal medicine cabinet, I narrowed it down to the essentials. Here’s what I brought with me beyond the basics (bandaids, aloe vera, tweezers, etc.):

1. Probiotics: While traveling to less developed parts of the world, I try to play by the rules as far as drinking clean water, avoiding a lot of raw foods and generally being cautious of potential contaminated food. However, the reality is that taking your microbiome to an exotic location with a completely different set of potential invaders can cause some minor distress. Probiotics can help reinforce your natural defenses while traveling. It can also be taken in higher doses if you end up getting a case of Bali Belly, like up to 5 capsules at a time 3 times a day until the bottle is gone and symptoms have improved. Of course, not all cases of traveller’s diarrhea are self-limiting or self-treatable so be smart and stay hydrated. This is also one supplement that I take on a regular basis at home too. It’s important to note that not all probiotics are created equally, so do your homework (currently I like Klaire Labs).

2. Essential oils: Small bottles packed with endless healing possibilities. Here are some of my favorites to travel with and what they can be used for:

Peppermint is great for digestive upset, feeling overheated, motion sickness and promoting mental clarity. It can be used topically with a carrier oil, although I often skip it and just apply directly to skin. Be sure to test a small area if you’re just getting started with oils.

Lavender is known for it’s relaxing quality, as well as relieving skin irritation, itching and burns. It’s one of the most widely used oils and it’s safe topically or internally. Again, I usually skip the carrier oil but you can add it to coconut oil before applying.

Thieves (blend by Young Living) is well known for it’s antiviral and antimicrobial strength. It has clove, lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon and rosemary. You can rub a couple drops into the soles of your feet to boost immune function. This is one that should consider using a carrier oil with since clove can create a stronger sensation compared to other oils. Test a small area on your skin to see how you respond. This can also be used internally.

Valor (blend by Young Living) is one of my personal favorites, so wherever I go, it goes too. It has frankincense, spruce and blue tansy. It smells amazing and it’s great for releasing tension, supporting courage and strength. I also like it for times of meditation. It’s safe to use directly on the skin, like on the tops of the shoulders for tension or behind the ears before meditation.

(Side note: The majority of the oils I currently use are from Young Living. So this writing is specific to their products. Not all essential oils are considered therapeutic, so again do some research for yourself before buying. For many brands, I would not recommend internal use.)

3. Chinese Herbal formulas: With me I brought, one formula for headaches, one for digestive issues and one for common cold. That’s the abridged version. Really, these formulas could potentially be used for much more because they target more than specific symptoms. They have a very energetic quality about them, as well as antimicrobial and antiviral effects. So, if you’re interested in getting some go-to herbal formulas for your medicine cabinet it’s best to discuss it with a qualified herbalist who can prescribe and explain formulas that may be beneficial to have on hand.

4. Pain terminator: This is a product that you can find from a Chinese Medicine practitioner. It’s our version of IcyHot or Biofreeze, if you are familiar with those brands. Basically, it’s a menthol based cream that also contains herbs to help stop pain and relieve swelling or bruising. It’s good to have on hand for sore muscles or occasional bumps and bruises.

5. Propolis tincture: Bee propolis is something I discovered while in school and I love it. It’s a great immune booster and has been found to have antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects. It’s particularly good for sore throats and stopping a common cold if you suspect you’re getting sick. I took a dropper full of it every day while there to keep my immune system feeling strong. With travel comes time changes and physical stresses; like change in eating habits, pollution, heat, etc., so it’s helpful to give yourself a little boost. (Caution of course for those who have any bee related allergy.)

Post a comment below if you have a question about anything I mentioned in this post!

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