Homeopathy is a perfect travel companion because a few remedies can treat a very wide variety of minor problems that can crop up on holiday.
I never go anywhere without my travel kit: Sydney, Cradle Mountain, Bali, Europe – I always throw in my kit – and I even have a tiny kit in my handbag.
Actually I have two travel kits now! A very battered Helios kit of single remedies and a lovely new leather kit containing some extras and some combinations. Usually I can always find a remedy no matter what arises. Everything from shock and fright to upset tummies, insect bites and accidents, and if you’re new to homeopathy then combination remedies can be a good way to go.
What should you take?
I’ve listed below the single remedies in our 21 Remedy Travel Kit just to give you an idea of what you can be prepared for. This kit is designed for trips to India, Thailand, South America and similar and comes in the 30c potency which is ideal for everything.
If you are new to homeopathy but want to take some remedies with you, consider one of our combination kits such as our Mini Travel Kit – 8 Combinations, which includes all you’ll need in a small zip around pouch.
For trips around Australia or to Europe a standard Home Remedy Kit is usually more appropriate and this also comes as 21 remedies in a zip around pouch.
1. Aconite This is the major shock remedy so if you’ve been involved in a car accident, had your bag stolen or similar. It is also a remedy to think of for anything with palpitations, racing pulse, severe anxiety and can be helpful following a suspected heart attack or stroke while waiting for the ambulance. With panic attack-type symptoms, Aconite will also be helpful for someone who is terrified of flying or going to the doctor for instance. Symptoms come on suddenly and are acute, intense and can be painful, often with great fear (sometimes of dying) and restlessness. Also useful for the beginning of a cold which comes on suddenly, very high fever with dry burning heat or drenching sweat with strong thirst (Belladonna usually has no thirst). Symptoms may arise after exposure to cold dry wind, heat of sun, injury, shock and the patient is usually better for open air and classically worse around midnight.
2. Apis is usually the best remedy for bites and stings and allergic reactions if they fit the picture. This patient may experience strong reactions to bites and stings, certain foods or even medicines, often presenting as hives or similar puffy swellings which are shiny, red and tight. Also useful for tonsillitis, water retention, cystitis, nettle rash and shingles where the picture fits. The symptoms come on suddenly and the patient may cry out in pain, is irritable, restless and worse for heat and touch. They and their symptoms are generally better for cool drinks or ice packs.
3. Arnica The most well-known of all homeopathics and the first remedy to think of after an accident or injury where there is both physical and mental/emotional trauma. Helps to reduce shock, bleeding of small wounds or after surgery, and bruising. The patient often won’t want to be touched or assisted. Useful for sprains, strains, over-exertion and for sore, bruised, aching pain. Good for jetlag (which is effectively a trauma) and to help prevent DVT (put 1 or 2 pilules in a water bottle and sip throughout your flight or use our Travel/Jetlag Combination).
4. Arsenicum Album The first remedy to think of for food poisoning and other forms of upset tummy. It can also be used prophylactically against “Bali Belly” and similar – please ask for instructions/potency. The patient is extremely anxious and restless and fearful of being alone. They can be very thirsty for frequent sips of water and their pains are burning, as are any discharges – mucous, diarrhea, throat, tummy pain, etc. They can be totally prostrate (that’s laid out and weak!!!) and this often seems out of proportion to the condition. Typically they are worse from midnight to 2am and for cold food and drink. They often feel better for warmth, hot drinks and food, company and for fresh air (with their headaches).
5. Belladonna This is one of those great children’s fever remedies, but it has many more uses on holiday. Symptoms may appear after being chilled or alternatively from too much sun, from bites and stings, fever or with things like a urinary tract infection. The patient is often worse for touch, light, noise and being bumped, and often with fevers we will see delirium. The pains are usually throbbing and there may be burning heat, rapid pulse, bright redness of the skin, restlessness and usually no thirst with any fever (Aconite is usually very thirsty). The eyes are frequently glassy with dilated pupils and the patient may be floppy and lethargic or hyper. Make sure you keep an eye on fever in small children and babies and the current advice in Australia is to always take a baby under six months with a fever to your GP or ED.
6. Cantharis This is one of the best remedies for burns and cystitis. Classic cystitis – painful urination with cutting, burning and great urgency. Burns and sunburn with blistering and insect bites which look blistery and sting. The pains are burning and there is often burning, intense thirst but they feel worse for drinking and worse for urination, movement and touch.
7. Carbo Veg This is frequently called the ‘corpse reviver’ and could be thought of as a resuscitation remedy. Obviously if someone is in this state they are going to be on their way to the hospital, but it’s worth remembering this remedy if you have no other options. Symptoms at their most extreme include collapse due to oxygen starvation (eg drowning, suffocation, stillbirth). The body is cold, lifeless, limp and blue. It can be very useful in asthma where there is a sense of suffocation, the patient wants to be fanned and there may be blueness around the mouth. It is particularly good for digestive disorders especially wind and bloating, as well as diarrhea and wind after bad food or over indulgence. Often feels better for cool air, being fanned, belching and worse for warmth, dehydration and tight clothing.
8. China Is indicated for complaints after loss of fluids, eg dehydration, fever, diarrhea, the result of which is weakness and faintness, so it’s a recovery remedy and important for the aftermath of travellers’ diarrhea where the picture fits. There may be a bloated abdomen which is not better for belching. The diarrhea is usually painless but exhausting and the patient may feel better for hard pressure, lying down, fasting and wearing loose clothes.
9. Cocculus There are a number of travel sickness/morning sickness remedies but Cocculus is useful when there is nausea accompanied by a weak, empty feeling and trembling. It’s that feeling that lack of sleep can bring, causing everything to slow down, and dizziness is often part of the picture. It is therefore not just useful for morning/motion sickness, but good for jetlag with that classic feeling of dizziness, swaying and nausea. Patients are often worse for the sight/smell of food and for open air.
10. Gelsemium Paralysis and heaviness are key words with Gelsemium, so things like flu, anticipation/anxiety or similar states with trembling and chills and heat up and down the spine. There may be weakness and drowsiness with drooping eyelids and achy muscles. Nervous excitement can lead to frequent urination or diarrhea. Symptoms may come on after shock, fright, bad news and before events such as public speaking and exams. The patient is literally paralysed with emotion in these cases! They are worse from anticipation (fear of flying, change, new places), worse from emotions and worse from humid weather, but better for urination and sweating.
11. Hepar Sulph Is a good remedy for inflammation which is slow to resolve, where pus is present and the condition is ‘exquisitely’ painful – so ear infections, wounds, abscesses, etc. Often presents as a sore throat with pain spreading to the ear or a nasty chesty cough and pains anywhere are described as splinter-like or like a bone in the throat. These patients are over-sensitive on all levels and can be very irritable to the point of anger. They are very chilly and will complain if the covers are moved even slightly, being better for warmth and wrapping up.
12. Hypericum is often called ‘Arnica for the Nerves’ because of its affinity for the nervous system, presenting as shooting pain, nerve pain and numbness or tingling as part of most conditions. It is useful for injuries to the coccyx, surgical pain, forceps delivery, dental work and for cuts and injuries to fingers and toes (slammed in doors etc), and bites or stings – really anything which presents with shooting pain.
13. Ipecac Is useful for persistent nausea and/or vomiting, alone or with other conditions, but vomiting does not make them feel any better. It is indicated for morning or motion sickness, asthma or coughs (which are classically rattly, choking and/or gagging) and for excessive bleeding – all of which are often accompanied by persistent nausea. The patient may be thirstless with constant salivation and a clean tongue. They are worse for food and better for warmth and for lying with the eyes closed. Just on the rattly cough – Ipecac and Ant Tart are useful remedies for those rattly coughs that small babies and children often get which sound like they are drowning in mucous!
14. Ledum is useful following a puncture wound, eg rusty nails, insect stings, animal bites and for bruises or eye injuries, and may reduce local reaction to insect bites where the picture fits. I would recommend always using this remedy even if you have had a recent tetanus shot or are using homeoprophylaxis on your trip. The patient may feel cold, as may the injured part, but interestingly (and this is a keynote) the part is better for cold applications. The remedy has an affinity for capillaries, so is helpful for bloodshot, bruised or black eyes after Arnica has been given. Classically the wounds become blue, purple and puffy. There may be weakness, numbness or twitching of the part and they are worse for warmth.
15. Merc Sol Offensiveness and ulceration are keynotes of the Mercurius family. The breath, sweat and other discharges are usually very offensive, burning and slimy. Dirty yellowish-green is a common color for these discharges! The patient may complain of a metallic taste, profuse saliva and have bleeding gums or bleeding elsewhere. They are both easily overheated and chilled and can experience drenching sweats. Symptoms may include earaches with offensive discharge, sinusitis, tonsillitis. It is an important remedy for dysentery which presents with slimy diarrhea and is sometimes bloody. They are like a barometer – changeable on all levels. The patient is often worse at night, from temperature changes and sweating, and is better for rest.
16. Nux Vomica This is a big hangover, insomnia and indigestion remedy! There may be a constant urge to vomit or empty the bowels, but it doesn’t happen – think travellers’ constipation. Sleep problems are often an issue, even without overindulgence, and the patient may wake at 4am and can’t get back to sleep. When they do wake they may be excitable, impatient, angry, critical – which are actually common states for them! They may be worn out from overwork or travel, or ill from excess stimulation (eg coffee, alcohol, rich food, drugs, emotions). It’s a great remedy for travel constipation and for insomnia. For hangovers I recommend a dose before bed and a dose on waking in the night and this can work for insomnia too. They are worse in the morning, from loss of sleep, from noise and stimulants and better from resting, hot drinks and milk.
17. Podophyllum Is another important remedy for diarrhea, which may alternate with constipation, liver complaints or headaches. Thirst is strong for large quantities of cold water and there may be vomiting of hot, frothy mucus. The stool may be profuse, gushing, jelly-like and highly offensive with colicky pains. It is one of the remedies indicated in cholera and similar conditions. This can be a remedy to consider in teething with these symptoms. There may be a sensation of everything being too relaxed – abdomen, pelvis, rectum. The patient is better lying on the abdomen and worse in summer/hot weather and early morning.
18. Rhus Tox is one of the best remedies for sprains and strains. The patient stiffens up with rest, is worse for first movement and better once they get going. It is also useful for boils, urticaria and similar rashes, shingles and allergic reactions. It has an affinity for hot, painful swelling of joints, and sprains and strains to fibrous tissue, ligaments and joints. This is another remedy for dysentery-like symptoms with tearing pain down the back of the legs. It can be helpful for colds, flu and coughs with bright red tip to tongue. Typically worse for cold, wet weather, for getting chilled or wet after being hot and for over exertion. They are usually better for heat, movement and alcohol!
19. Silica Can be helpful for people who catch cold easily and then have trouble recovering, ending up with thick mucous in the sinuses or lingering mucousy coughs. Energy is often low, as is stamina and there may be problems with hair, nails, teeth and bones. It’s good for encouraging splinters or other foreign bodies to discharge, including hard plugs of wax (especially after swimming). Use for blocked tear ducts and other types of infections, for beginning of colds, coughs, fever. These patients perspire easily but are generally cold. Always better for heat and worse for cold in any form and for damp, wet weather.
20. Veratrum Album This is another of those gastro-type remedies presenting with profuse cold sweat and watery diarrhea. Patients may also have simultaneous vomiting and diarrhea. They may want sour fruit and salty things. They are usually very thirsty for cold drinks but this can aggravate the condition. Another important cholera remedy so you can understand the severity of the diarrhea. They are going to be worse for exertion and drinking but better for hot drinks or food, for covering up and for walking.
21. S.O.S. (our version of Rescue Remedy) is a valuable addition to any kit for times of stress or after a shock or fright. This can be tucked into a handbag, wash bag, etc.
Additional Suggestions for a Travel Kit
There are several other combination remedies which are useful for travel and can be easier to use if you are new to homeopathy or see our Mini Travel Kit – 8 combinations, which contains eight remedies for most eventualities, leaving you space to add two more remedies if required.
Travel/Jet Lag Combination contains remedies (including S.O.S.) to combat stress, jet lag and change in environment. It can also help protect against radiation which is present on the aircraft and can be helpful in preventing DVT, along with appropriate exercise as recommended by the airlines.
Travel Prep – Immune Support for Travel – I always recommend travellers use either Anas Barb or Winter Prep/Travel Prep (Winter and Travel are the same combination) to help with change of environment and to promote a stronger immune response to the bugs which frequently float around in the air conditioning system on planes and at airports. They can be taken once a week through your trip and if symptoms of cold, flu or similar appear, can be increased to three times a day and used alongside the indicated remedies for the situation. I recommend Travel Prep as the most robust of these remedies. Start three days before travel and take once a day until three days after arrival at both ends of a trip.
Kalm Kids is great for travel with small children! It contains those remedies known to calm and soothe and we get great feedback on this combination. I’ve also recommended it for dogs and cats, as well as anxious adults.
Gastro Combination is my “don’t leave home without it” remedy for any trip but especially for people travelling to Bali, Thailand, India and the like. While some people have cast iron stomachs, any new environment can be a challenge even for the strongest of digestive systems and you don’t want to be without this remedy when Bali Belly or similar strikes. If you take nothing else on holiday, take this!!
Ouchy Combx is made up of the most commonly indicated and most frequently required remedies for first aid situations to assist in the soothing and healing of bumps, bruises, scratches, bites and other minor wounds and injuries. It’s useful in cases where you feel you need to give 3 or 4 remedies to cover all eventualities and you’re not quite sure what to give and in what order! And of course it saves on space. Designed originally for small children you can use for the whole family!
Bites & Stings Combination is another of those useful remedies that may assist with symptoms of itching, swelling, burning, stinging and rashes from a variety of animals and insects. It may also help symptoms of cystitis as the picture can be similar. If you are particularly prone to being bitten by mossies vitamin B1 can be helpful in changing the reaction of the mosquitoes to your particular scent, but Caladium 6c has been really helpful for some travelers, when taken daily, in reducing bites.
Anticipation Combx I’ve made up this combination many times in my year’s in practice for people with fear of flying, claustrophobia, going to a new place or similar. It includes remedies for fear, anticipation, anxiety with paralysis, palpitations, nausea and so on and all those situations where you are frozen with emotion or fear. You can take this remedy as soon as you feel the symptoms come on, even if it’s a month or more before the anticipated event. Put the drops or pilules in a water bottle and sip as required!
Other useful non-homeopathic additions to your Travel Kit
While homeopathy is definitely a reliable travel companion and a few remedies can help with a lot of situations, sometimes it’s good to have a back-up so here is my list of items which you might want to include and some other items we never leave home without. I’ve no doubt we could all add to this, but my aim is one day to travel overseas for a month with just carry-on luggage!!
Ear plugs – I never travel without ear plugs for obvious reasons!
EarPlanes – I also never travel without these little gizmos which help to reduce ear pain and blockage while flying. They come in children’s and adult’s size.
Essentials Oils – In addition to my homeopathic kit, I never travel anywhere without my Young Living essential oils. Basics such as Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Panaway, Thieves, Valor will get me through most things and they smell great too!
Hydralyte or similar (rehydration tablets) – These are particularly useful after diarrhea, heat stroke and other situations of fluid loss. They can be easily dissolved in water.
Imodium – this is a pharmacy product for severe diarrhea. We’ve never used it because Gastro always works, but it’s always there in the bottom of the first aid kit just in case …
Pegs – Never under estimate the power and usefulness of a clothes peg! Hair clips and similar will also do the job.
Probiotics – while there are often good pharmacies in many tourist destinations, it does seem to be common practice now to take probiotics while on holiday. Make sure you buy probiotics which don’t need refrigeration or take our homeopathic Probiotic Kefir 6x!
Reusable shopping bags – many of the waterways in tourist destinations are full of plastic shopping bags. Discourage their use by taking your own and using them everywhere you go!
Sharp knife – those colourful knives in a scabbard are great for travel and it means you can buy yummy local produce and picnic at your leisure. We have also been known to take a melamine plate or lightweight chopping board as well!
Small torch – you can use your phone, but sometimes a small torch is useful if you are wandering around at night.
Water bottle – empty – buying water in small bottles when you travel can be expensive and it’s also very bad for the local environment. We always take an empty water bottle each when we travel, then buy the biggest containers of water we can find so that we don’t keep throwing away small plastic bottles. You will also find that many airports now have filtered water available for free as well.
Helios Homeopathic Pharmacy Travel Kit Flyer Nature’s Materia Medica; Robin Murphy
The World Travellers Manual of Homoeopathy; Dr Colin Lessell
This information does not constitute medical advice and does not replace advice from your GP or Travel Doctor. Always consider whether this information is appropriate for your individual needs.
Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies.
It is referenced from the texts approved by Therapeutic Goods Administration and is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a treatment seek advice from your homeopath.