Winter is a time when many of us living in this climate set our sights on sunny southern destinations. As a practitioner, I have seen many clients return from tropical vacations with various gastro-intestinal symptoms that persist long after their holiday. Some also suffer other sudden symptoms like rashes, sinus flare-ups, arthritic issues, vertigo, resistant bladder infections, etc.
In almost every case, a pathogen has entered the body, and our northern-climate immune system is having difficulty ridding the body of these bugs. Pathogens such as parasites can enter the body through bug bites, food and drink, cuts and broken skin, swimming, hot-tubbing, and basically through any mucus membrane.
The best way to avoid these issues and still enjoy the food and warmth in a southern climate are some simple homeopathic and herbal defenses:
1. The most important recommendation for overall health and protection against pathogens from other countries is to take a probiotic (good bacteria) at least 2-3 weeks before travel. Probiotics are a key part of our internal defences. When you travel south, pick up a stable probiotic that can withstand room temperatures at least until opened. You can use a soft icepack to wrap the probiotic and pack it in the middle of your suitcase. Last year I picked up an unrefrigerated brand at a bargain price and would NOT recommend that brand at all. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, so go to a health food store and invest in a good brand. I tell my clients probiotics are like our own personal army, and logically you wouldn’t go into battle with only a third of your defences in place. Taking probiotics will enhance the immune system, keep you alkaline, and provide your immune system with the defences to ward off attacks from bacteria and parasites.
2. Before flying, pick up oscillococcinum, a homeopathic remedy for colds and flu. Start taking a capful, letting it dissolve under your tongue, three times throughout the day before you fly. Continue this regime for one day upon reaching your destination. Oscillococcinum should be taken at least 20 minutes before or after eating (i.e. not with food or drink).
3. If you have dry nasal sinuses, try oiling each nostril with sesame oil. This will help your immune system and protect you from infectious agents.
4. The homeopathic remedy Apis can clear up itchy and painful bug bites and stings in record time, allowing you to keep active and have fun. It comes in pellet form for dissolving under the tongue, as well as a cream that can be rubbed on a bug bite. The cream can also bring relief from rashes.
5. Oil of oregano will work for just about anything. You can put it on bites, and/or take it internally to combat infections. When taken internally, most will find the taste rather intense, so I suggest applying drops from a dropper on the middle to back of tongue and immediately chasing it with a drink of water.
6. Grapefruit seed extract is one thing I highly recommend for killing parasites. I recommend taking a few drops morning and night. It tastes bad, so I usually chase it with orange juice, but anything will do. I also soak my tooth brush in a glass of bottled water with 4 drops of the extract.
7. Emergen C is a great remedy to help with dehydration. Whether you stay out in the sun too long, or partied too hard the night before, Emergen C can correct the mineral imbalance. It is also good to help combat a cold or allergies. It comes in small packets in a range of flavours and is so easy to pack. Superstore and the Bulk Barn carry this product.
8. Traumeel cream and pellets are also something you can bring along for first aid. It works really well for relieving muscle sprains or bruising.
9. Coconut water, the clear liquid found in young green coconuts, has amazing health properties. Being an all-natural isotonic beverage loaded with electrolytes like potassium and chloride, coconut water is particularly useful for re-hydrating and replacing body fluids. It also has significant anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties that can be quite beneficial when travelling in tropical climates. It is also known to boost the immune system, raise metabolism, remove toxins, cleanse the digestive tract, and balance body PH. You can buy coconut water by the bottle or tetra pack, but the best way to get it is fresh from a green coconut. For more information check this link:
Health Benefits of Coconut Water
Happy travels and, if you do pick up something, call for an appointment when you get back, as there are several energy treatment techniques to help fight off pathogens.
The healthy scoop on coconut oil
It used to be widely believed that coconut, especially coconut oil, was unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content. In fact, I still have clients who tell me their MD has restricted them from using it out of concern that it would raise their cholesterol. The truth is, the fat in coconut oil is somewhat unique and different from that of other vegetable oils, and is now known to offer many nutritional and health benefits, including improving heart health!
One big difference is that coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that are easier for the body to digest and utilize than the long-chain fatty acids found in most other vegetable oils. In addition, almost half the fat in coconut oil is a kind rarely found in nature called lauric acid. The body converts that to monolaurin, which has beneficial antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal and antifungal properties.
Personally, I always have a jar of virgin or extra virgin coconut oil on hand for both kitchen and medicinal use. I encourage you to learn more about the unique properties and benefits yourself. Following are a few links to more information on coconut oil:
Dr. Mercola video on merits of coconut oil
Coconut Research Center