Protect Yourself While Traveling…Naturally!

Long distance travel carries with it the lure of exploration as well as the discomforts of challenging environments. These days, airline travel means long lines and multiple security checks. Be sure to have a relaxed state of mind to help you go with the flow, and an engaging book. Maintaining balance in the immune and gastrointestinal systems will help you enjoy your vacation healthfully and actively.

Maintaining a healthy immune system

The first line of defense for the immune system is the well-known herb, echinacea (ek-i-nay-sha). Best used as an alcohol-based liquid extract versus capsules or tea, echinacea protects against unwelcome microorganisms. Taking 30 drops in a little water just before you arrive at the airport, and continuing with 15 drops every two hours will help maintain a strong defense against all the germs being recirculated throughout the airport and later (when you finally get to board!), in the cabin.

If you are suffering from sinus congestion or tend to get stuffed up while flying, take an herbal decongestant before and during the flight. Its best to avoid dairy products since they tend to be mucus forming. Highly salted airplane snacks should be replaced with healthy snacks like fruit and unsalted nuts.

Probiotics – the friendly bacteria

The local water will probably contain organisms unfamiliar to your intestinal tract (even within the U.S.) so bottled water is best. For more exotic locations, a twice-daily dose of 1 tsp apple cider vinegar in ½ cup water will help make the intestines inhospitable to parasites.

Take a probiotic supplement to help maintain intestinal ecology. This offers a good defense against unfriendly microorganisms one may encounter in a new environment. The shelf-stable products are more convenient for travel than those requiring refrigeration. Take twice a day on an empty stomach.

Garlic has antibiotic and anti-viral properties. Deodorized garlic tablets are available but fresh is always best. Most restaurants will accommodate you with fresh, chopped garlic you can put in your food.

Constipation is often a problem while traveling. Bring along a formula that contains the herb, cascara sagrada, rather than the harsher senna. Take at bedtime along with your probiotic.

Hiking, biking and sightseeing=stressed muscles

If you haven’t conditioned your body prior to vacation, your muscles may start rebelling. Pack a nervine formula containing the herbs valerian, passionflower, and hops, to relax tense muscles. Take 2-3 capsules at bedtime for a relaxed, refreshing sleep.

Long distance travel creates thirsty skin

Summer travel can be dehydrating to the skin. Whether you’re driving long distances in an air-conditioned car, or traveling by plane in re-circulated air, your inner and outer body require hydration.

This is the time to avoid dehydrating drinks such as coffee and alcohol and drink plenty of water. How much water is always the question. A rule of thumb is to take your weight, divide it in half and drink that many ounces: 150 pounds, divided in half equals 75, therefore drink 75 ounces of water each day, or about nine to ten 8oz glasses. Water is also a great energizer.

Another way to hydrate the skin is with the liberal use of moisturizing creams and lotions. Apply lotion to your body, face, neck and hands, and a protective cream to your lips. Bring along a small spray bottle of water and spritz your face every hour. Adding a few drops of essential oil to the water will provide added benefits (try lavender, tangerine or rose for their relaxing properties; eucalyptus, sage, ginger or peppermint for sinus-clearing and stimulating properties.)

For longer trips, pre-soak chamomile tea bags, store in a plastic bag, and apply to eyes while napping. The chamomile will help reduce eye puffiness and serve as an eye mask.

Refresh, revitalize and you’re ready to rock!

When you arrive at your destination, prepare a rejuvenating bath by adding 10 drops essential oil of peppermint to the bath water. Apply a stimulating facial mask and use a peppermint body scrub to exfoliate the hours of stale air, grime and stress your skin has suffered. After your bath, apply an energizing seaweed-based body moisturizer, take a long drink of water and you’re ready to check out your new, fun location.