Don’t Leave Home Without It: Homeopathy on Vacation
By Susy Parker Goins
All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…
I’m leaving on a jet plane,
Don’t know when I’ll be back again.
It’s time for a break from school or work -- or life. So, you are packed and ready to go. You have extra socks and underwear, toothbrush and jammies. Make sure you carry along some useful remedies to deal with those conditions that could make your vacation painfully memorable.
The obligatory instructions and caveats:
30C potency is ideal for these situations.
If you’re traveling by air, carry the remedies in a bag to be hand searched. Sorry if it holds up the lines for a bit, but the X-rays may adversely affect the remedies -- and then where would you be?
If you have chosen the right remedy, you’ll feel better but get physically worse for a bit. But then you’ll get all better. That’s why it’s best to start your remedies at the onset.
If you have a fear of flying, check out Aconitum napellus for a fear of death; Arsenicum for a fear of death coupled with restlessness; or Argentum nitricum if you have a fear of traveling by car or plane. Start any of these remedies several days before you leave; three pellets three times a day between meals, when you have an hour or so with nothing else in your mouth.
Now, I am no Superman when it comes to flying. Neither is my 8-year-old son. I pack Petroleum for my air sickness. Joey gets Borax because he freaks out with any sort of downward motion. Petroleum is great for most cases of travel sickness (not just air sickness) characterized by dizziness focused at the back of your head or cold sweat and improvement after eating.
Cocculus is a catch-all, too, in that it helps air, sea and land sickness that manifests as nausea and dizziness with a hollow feeling in your head or elsewhere and is aggravated by moving your eyes, watching things go by or fresh air. (Of course, anything is aggravated in a plane by fresh air, isn’t it?)
Nux vomica is the remedy of excess. If you eat too much and/or have an upset stomach from travel, Nux is the remedy.
Tabacum focuses on seasickness that manifests as nausea and vomiting, pallor and cold sweats, with vertigo that is dreadful when you open your eyes and is improved by fresh air, removing extra clothes and by closing your eyes. Theridion is similar, except the vertigo is worse when you close your eyes.
Then there’s our buddy Ipecacuanha for nausea that is not relieved by vomiting. Zingiber, better known as ginger, works for dizziness.
For severe symptoms, take these remedies every 30 minutes. For mild symptoms, wait every two to four hours. Now if you just know you’ll get travel sick, by all means take the remedy before setting off and every couple of hours during the trip.
How far are you going? On a plane? (Take me with you.) If you’re going so far as to have worries about jet lag, take Arnica to help relieve the stress on your system. Take 30C potency before you board the plane, and repeat every four hours while in flight. If you really need it, dose yourself up every four hours for the following 24 hours after arrival.
So if you’re not content to suffer from plain old jet lag but have to have a deluxe case of it with such exhaustion that your eyelids are droopy and your limbs are limp, take Gelsemium sempervirens.
What if your jet lag includes nausea? Ipecacuanha is the remedy for you. Or did you super-size your nausea by adding dizziness or vertigo? Make that Cocculus. Take these remedies every two hours for severe symptoms. If your symptoms are mild, wait every four hours.
I have seen a combination remedy for jet lag, but since I had a cranky 18-month-old with me within arm’s reach of glass containers on the shelf, I was not able to take the time to look it over. I recommend you check the package label and compare notes.
Living in the Pacific Northwest as I do, when I travel to my home state of Texas, I make sure pack a few remedies to help me deal with the change in climate: for the heat, Antimonium crudum; for humidity, Dulcamara. Then for the times my in-laws come up here, I offer them Natrum Muriaticum for the sea climate. (Not that they would take it -- they think I’m a crackpot.)
All-righty, then! You’re settled in, the kids have stormed the beach in a reverse formation of D-Day and you’re ready to tuck into the all-you-can-eat buffet and bar. (Next to “it’s on clearance,” “all you can eat” are my favorite words.) Now what?
Let’s say you overindulge a bit. Hey, you’re on vacation, who wouldn’t? Nux vomica, our friend of the gastric over-achievers, is great for constipation, diarrhea, gas, hangovers, headaches, nausea and vomiting. If you feel like you have a typical hangover -- cannot bear noise, light or thinking -- then Nux is for you.
Antimonium crudum is another over-indulger’s friend. More specifically for overeating or drinking poor quality, acidy wines.
Maybe your nausea and vomiting are caused by something else. Consider these remedies: Arsenicum album is ideal if you suspect you have eaten tainted food, especially if Nux vomica hasn’t helped. Fear of death is an earmark symptom for Arsenicum; you may also crave cold drinks, then vomit them up, or experience burning pains, restlessness or feel that the sight or smell of food is unbearable.
Carbo vegetabilis works for weak digestion and heartburn. If there is a lot of flatulence or burping, consider Carbo veg. (Hmm, I’ll start sneaking this into my husband’s drinks.)
For diarrhea, I’ve already mentioned Nux vomica and Arsenicum album. I usually recommend Pulsatilla as the “whiny” remedy, but it’s effective for diarrhea aggravated by eating fatty foods.
Now, I could go on and on about the best way to avoid conditions caused by the sun is to just stay out of the sun -- but this article is about being on vacation. So I’ll just suck it up and start in with remedies. (Ok, I can’t resist: wear a hat or get a cute beach boy to smear sunscreen on you – please?)
If you still end up with a sunburn, Belladonna will help with the red, throbbing and heat radiating off sort of sunburn. Take it as often as needed to get quick relief. If you get to the blistering stage of a sunburn, Cantharis.
What about heat exhaustion? What about fatigue, clammy skin, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, muscle cramps? Veratrum album is the most common remedy for this combination of symptoms. Add diarrhea either before or after heat exhaustion, and Veratrum is definitely the remedy. Cuprum metallicum works for a similar set of symptoms, but with cramps taking the focus. Movement and touch aggravate. Carbo vegetabilis is best for those in a state of collapse. These folks need to be fanned and have all the windows open. They seem to be able to only breathe, that’s all.
If you get so far as to suffer from sunstroke, remember this is a serious ailment that requires medical attention. While you’re waiting for help, try Belladonna or Glonoine. Belladonna is specified for radiating heat, throbbing headache and a flushed face that are relieved by bending backward . Glonoine works more for a pulsing all over your body and the feeling that your head is too big.
Glonoine symptoms are aggravated by bending backward and applying of cold water and relieved by being in open air and uncovering your head. Administer the remedy in the highest potency you have available every 15 to 30 minutes during the crisis period. When the symptoms ease up, go to every two hours. If there is no change within two hours, change the remedy.
So let’s keep with the beach imagery here. You’re walking in the waves, looking tanned and relaxed, then something stings you, or you fall and scrape your knee -- or in my case, fall over something that was there just long enough to make me look like a complete dork and then disappears, leaving a swollen ankle or rash in its stead.
For stings (including insect bites, especially mosquitoes) or puncture wounds, consider Ledum. If you’re better from having your feet in ice cold water and worse with motion, at night or in the warmth of bed, it’s Ledum for you. By the way, Ledum is a great black eye remedy.
Apis mellifica, homeopathic honey bee, works best with what? Bee stings! So think swelling, red, sensitive to touch, constricted feelings that are better in open air and with cold bathing and worse from heat, touch, in late afternoon or after sleeping.
A tincture of Hypercal, a combination of Hypericum and Calendula, makes the perfect external wash for wounds of all sorts. Hypercal is also beneficial for scratches. If there is nerve injury, the Hypericum soothes. The Calendula heals broken skin beautifully.
So on to the falling-like-an-idiot section. No, I’m not going to regale you with stories of my antics – but let’s just say I know that Urtica urens (stinging nettle) is perfect for blisters, stinging rashes, prickly heat and hives. I also know from experience that Arnica montana is your sprain’s best friend, along with rest, ice, compressions and elevation (RICE). Ruta graveolens serves as a nice follow-up to Arnica for a sprain. Ledum is good for swelling in the hands, feet and face. Rhux toxicodendron takes care of the “rusty gate” type of sprain that improves with movement.
I’m sorry to say homeopathy can’t do much for sleepless nights caused by neighbors’ carryings-on. But for insomnia caused by an over-active mind that refuses to shut down, look to Coffea cruda. For waking up and being unable to fall back to sleep, try Cocculus.
© Susy Parker Goins
An informal student of natural health for years, NFO Bookshelf and Natural Beauty Editor Susy Goins received her certificate in homeopathy from the American College of Health Sciences. The self-proclaimed out-of-the-mainstream mama of three is a writer, belly dancer, actress, costumer and cook and will soon be celebrating 20 years of marriage to her husband.