Homeopathy is a complementary medical system that was developed in Germany more than 200 years ago. Mina Weight picks out some essential, all-natural remedies for your next family vacation
With the holidays approaching, you are likely looking forward to a stress-relieving, sickness-free summer break. But how well does your family travel? As you get busy planning your flights, accommodation and activities, you’ll also need to consider which medicines to pack in your first-aid kit.
I have been practising homeopathy since the mid ‘90s and whether I travel alone or with my husband and children, I always find room in my suitcase for the homeopathic remedies we most frequently use. Natural and free of side effects, homeopathic remedies can quickly ease mild discomforts, such as jet lag or sunburn, and they don’t conflict with conventional treatments for more serious ailments, such as sunstroke. These easy-to-take remedies are inexpensive and small enough to carry anywhere.
Suitable and safe-to-use for the whole family, homeopathic remedies are usually chosen based on the person’s constitution and how the symptoms were experienced. The basic premise is that ‘like cures like’ – a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people can cure similar symptoms in sick people.
Homeopathy can be used to address numerous minor ailments from motion sickness, jet lag, vomiting and diarrhoea, to sunburn, cuts, insect bites and sprains. It is also effective in treating chronic physical and emotional problems, including psoriasis, eczema, migraines, backache and asthma. In serious cases, immediate medical attention is recommended, of course, but homeopathic remedies can still be used to speed up healing time.
For convenience, homeopathic travel kits are available at most natural health retailers, including the Integrated Medicine Institute in DB. Two useful remedies that I never travel without are Nux vomica for constipation and Arsenicum album for food poisoning.
Travelling abroad, many of us suffer from constipation. Out of your normal routine, getting used to different time zones and not eating your usual diet can contribute to the problem. Resorting to laxatives is common but ill-advised, as the body can become dependent and either take a while to return to normal or, worse, find it cannot function independently.
Before resorting to any kind of medication, however, the best approach is to increase the amount of fibre in your diet by eating more wholegrains and fresh fruit and vegetables. Drinking more water, exercising and even certain yoga postures can also help get your bowels moving. If these common sense approaches don’t help and constipation persists, homeopathy can come to the rescue.
Nux vomica, created from the seeds of the strychnos nux vomica tree, is a commonly used homeopathic remedy for constipation, indigestion and bloating. It is also a great detoxifier, and can help alleviate hangovers and irritability.
My neighbour’s two-year-old son was brought to me when he went through a frustrating and uncomfortable period of constipation. He would go for days between bowel movements, and gradually became more and more distressed and irritable. A couple of doses of Nux vomica given over a few weeks had the desired effect, returning his bowel movements to normal regularity. Now his mother always knows what to give him if the problem returns.
No matter how thrilling or exotic the destination, some travellers find themselves spending more time in the bathroom than out in the sun. A mild case of food poisoning usually lasts 24 hours. In serious cases, such as salmonella poisoning or rotavirus, the symptoms may be more severe and last longer.
Imodium is a commonly used, over-the-counter medicine for mild food poisoning, however, it may not be suitable for children unless prescribed by a doctor. Possible side effects include tiredness, bloating, nausea and constipation. As a child-friendly homeopathic alternative, I recommend Arsenicum album, a solution prepared by diluting aqueous arsenic trioxide until there is little or no arsenic remaining in the solution. This can alleviate symptoms quickly and effectively.
A few months ago, I treated my helper’s friend with Arsenicum album. She had collapsed in the bathroom and was vomiting violently and also had diarrhoea. After a dose of Arsenicum album, she was able to lie down and rest between trips to the bathroom. A short while later, I administered a second dose after which she fell asleep and slept for four hours. When she awoke, although weak, she felt much better.
When getting over food poisoning or any minor health issue, be sure to rehydrate by drinking lots of fluids and eating plain, simple foods. This is particularly important if you are vacationing in a hot country, so be sure to pack some rehydration salts along with your essential homeopathic travel kit.
Mina Weight (RSHom UK) consults at the Integrated Medicine Institute in DB on Wednesdays and Fridays. You can contact her on 2537 1087, or [email protected].