When I go on a trip, I like to take a few naturopathic essentials with me just in case. Here are some of my favorite items:
Aloe vera gel: It’s a good idea to carry a small tube of this stuff, especially if you’re going on a beach holiday. Though best-known as a burn treatment, it can also be used to heal cuts and scrapes. Some preparations can be consumed as a remedy for constipation. However, it’s not always practical to lug around the type of aloe vera gel that can be ingested, as it must be refrigerated once it’s opened. That’s why I rely on a trusted dried fruit – prunes – to treat constipation.
Prunes: Prunes are dried plums, which are high in soluble and insoluble fiber; both work together to create a natural laxative effect. In China, you can find individually-wrapped varieties. Though some countries don’t allow you to import dried fruits, the good news is that prunes are relatively easy to find. If you do get constipation while you’re traveling, be sure to also drink a lot of water.
Vitamin C: Traveling can be physically and emotionally taxing. When we’re jetlagged or lacking sleep, we’re more susceptible to illness. Vitamin C can boost the body’s ability to fight off infections; when under stress, we require more of it. I always take extra Vitamin C with me when I travel. Also, be sure to eat foods rich in Vitamin C such as kiwis, oranges, melons, cherries, grapes, bell peppers, peas, beets, carrots, and cucumbers. In general, these are best consumed raw to maximize their nutritional benefits.
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE): Grapefruit seed extract is an anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent. When you’re feeling under the weather, add a few drops of GSE to some water and you’re good to go. Planes, with their enclosed spaces and recycled air, can be a breeding ground for infection. In places with questionable water quality, GSE can be a valuable disinfectant for water; 20 drops per small bottle should do.
Probiotics: When stools become watery and loose due to food poisoning, the body loses large amounts of helpful bacteria. The latter are needed for healthy immune function and digestion, which they facilitate by breaking down food and absorbing nutrients. Probiotics can be bought at local pharmacies and the World Health Store; be sure to buy shelf-stable versions that don’t need to be refrigerated.
Got a question? Dr.Melissa Rodriguez is a mom of two and a wellness consultant. She also works as a naturopath at International Medical Center. Check out her website.
Photo: Terminals & Gates(Flickr)
This article originally appeared on p22 of the beijingkids April 2014 issue. Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com