Herbfacts

Herb Health: Travel Well

Travelling is full of excitement and new experiences but sometimes it can create havoc with our health.

Editor Jane Garton shares her top travel tips for staying healthy.

Holidays and travel are all about exploration, sun and relaxation but sometimes things can go awry.  What if you feel stressed before you even set off, start to feel queasy as you get going and then arrive at your destination feeling too tired to focus?  What if you spend too long in the sun on your first day or eat a dodgy meal and end up with a dose of holiday tummy?

These are all common holiday mishaps and the good news is there are plenty of natural ways to protect yourself against them and several herbal remedies to help you get better fast.

YOU GET JET LAG

Reaching for the duvet on arrival at your holiday destination may be tempting but resist it. Instead try to adjust to your new time zone as quickly as you can. Change the time on your watch, jump into a cold shower and stay awake until it’s time for bed.

Eat at normal meal times and make sure you drink plenty of fluids (this means water, not cocktails!) Guarana or ginseng can help you to stay alert when adjusting to a different time zone, while lemon balm and valerian can help you sleep.

YOU START TO SNIFFLE AND SNEEZE

The last thing you expect to get as the weather hots up is a cold, but busy airports and holiday resorts where you are rubbing shoulders with people from all over the world are classic places to catch a cold.

If you are prone to catching colds start taking echinacea a few days before your departure date and continue while you are away. And if you do start to sniffle and sneeze a dose of pelargonium can help to stop the infection taking hold.

YOU HAVE AN UPSET STOMACH

Trying the local cuisine is part of the holiday experience but if you are not careful it could end up upsetting your stomach. For example, bacteria or viruses in poorly cooked or contaminated foods can lead to nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea, which can quickly ruin the best planned break.

If you go down with a bug, avoid tea, coffee, fatty foods, fruit and vegetables for 24 hours and stick to bland foods such as crackers, dry toast or clear soup. Herbal teas such as fennel, ginger or peppermint can be soothing while an extract of artichoke may help to calm things down.

YOU GET SUNBURNT

It can be tempting to spend too long in the sun especially on the first day or so of your holiday but remember too much sun increases your risk of skin cancer. Slapping on a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 and coverage for both UVA and UVB rays is essential, as is donning a hat and shirt. Head for the shade when the sun is at its hottest (between 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.). These are the top sun safety rules you can’t afford to ignore.

But if you do over do it and start to burn move out of the sun as fast as you can then smother the area with aloe vera gel to cool down the skin and calm any painful inflammation.

YOU FEEL TRAVEL SICK

Whether you are travelling by plane, boat or car, travel sickness is never fun. Keeping your fluid intake up and avoiding big meals before you set off, as well as getting plenty of fresh air, can stop you feeling queasy.

Ginger is a tried and tested remedy for travel sickness so take some ginger capsules or chew on some fresh ginger.