For Alternative Medicine and Wholistic Healthcare Nerds ONLY
(dedicated to my brother Pat who is a bicycle nerd. His interesting and entertaining blog, in which he posts pictures of his gear and tells great stories about it all, has inspired me to take a picture of my stuff and describe it).
Here's a short entry about how we prepared. We brought a bunch of stuff. See photo. We followed recommendations from Lalitha – a seasoned India traveler and health expert, from our naturopathic physician, Todd Schlapfer, and from my own ideas and experience. It feels like we brought too much especially when we have to pack it around. But, since a lot of it is to deal with possible problems that can arise, we won't know until the end of the trip whether it was too much or not.
- We did homeopathic immunizations for a month prior to leaving – organized by Todd Schlapfer.
- We did not do any western medical immunizations.
- I let myself put on 5 pounds before I left home in case I needed to lose it here....but so far it looks to me like I'm still up 5 pounds. Oops.
What we brought with:
- A little black kit of homeopathics for every possible set of symptoms. The kit is quite small (lower left in photo) but was a big hassle to bring. They aren't supposed to go through radiation so security was a problem, In Amsterdam, I just said the word “homeopathic” and they waved me through. But everywhere else they made me put the little black pouch through EXTRA radiation I think. I don't know how effective the remedies are after all that radiation. I don't think I would bring them again. We could buy them here but that is WAY more complex than it sounds......verging on impossible for me at this point until I learn my way around a lot better.
- Tinctures and tablets to remedy flu, URI or gastrointestinal assault....haven't used them.....but the trip isn't over.
- Acidophilus - I think this is miraculous stuff whether you are traveling or not........keeps the digestive tract, from top to bottom, happy and safe.
- Lung Bronchial and Sinus Formula – (Lots of possible formulas are available but we brought Dr. Michael Murray brand) ….this herbal formula backed me out of what was promising to be a very nasty sinus infection.
- Neil Med – (our traveling version of Neti Pot -sinus irrigation – thanks Teri and Steve)
- Pure Oregano Oil – take it straight – awful! I think it counters everything that grows.
- Digestive enzymes
- Bach Flower remedy
- Mosquito Nets and DEET – I couldn't find a good malaria prevention in either the western or Alternative pharmacopoeia – (I'd be happy to be enlightened on this subject!) Once we got here and started getting so many mosquito bites I did more research. All sources I found seem to agree that the best prevention is to be up on Vitamin A and Zinc and to avoid mosquito bites (GOOD LUCK!)....so we just do our best and surrender to using a little DEET, which we both hate.
- Smooth Move tea (you have to have something for constipation AND for diarrhea)
- We brought one pharmaceutical (sulfamethaoxazole) to use for travelers diarrhea in case we lose our nerve (as we are losing our body fluids) – and go for the big guns.
- Liver protection formula – lots to choose from – milk thistle, triphala, several possible Chinese herbal formulas …..lots of others.......We brought “Liver Protection Formula” (Dr. Michael Murray brand) because I got a good price and it's a good formula). But next time I would just buy it here and get an Ayurvedic formula. Ayurvedic herbals are widely available, especially in Kerala, and they are both good quality and good price.
[Here's a cameo that will illustrate why you might want a liver protection formula: Last night, just as I finished spreading on some DEET, a guy walked by spraying heavy pesticides, probably DDT. I could have skipped the DEET but I could not have avoided the DDT. Both of these have to be “dealt with” by the liver, if I'm remembering correctly. And then, of course, there's the possibility of food-born hepatitis.
Eating safe food and drinking safe water works out – we eat hot cooked food, drink bottled water or very hot water (in coffee and tea), order lots of rice dishes, avoid animal protein except for hot milk and try not to binge out too much on wheat (parottis, chapatthi, etc.) or on dairy – chai and sweet “milk coffee”.
It's working out very well – I'm grateful for knowledge and the good advice and for the good fortune of having access to these sorts of herbs and homeopathics.