Natural medicines for people on the move

natural medicinesMany common foods have great healing properties and it’s well worth travellers getting to know what natural and inexpensive ingredients can help them deal with conditions such as travel sickness, coughs and colds, ulcers, stings and bites and of course, that pesky sunburn.

Of course we’re not saying you should travel without a basic first aid kit, however when heading to far flung destinations you may struggle to find medication you know and recognise or have to deal with language barriers. So to help you bridge the gap until conventional aid can be found, here are some top tips for ‘medicines on the move’ from Silver Travel Advisor writer and pharmacist Dave Harcombe.


Avocados – Natural sun protection

For an emergency sunscreen, slice open an avocado. This oil and nutrient rich fruit offers rapid skin penetration, quickly protecting softening and soothing the skin. Even when the sun is behind the clouds, or a more conventional sunscreen is at hand, apply as a skin moisturizer, cleansing cream, makeup base, bath oil, and hair conditioner.

Bananas – A solution to stress

To counteract anxiety caused by airport queues, flight delays and general travel stresses, bite on a banana. This happy fruit’s 105 calories and 14g of sugar provides a mild blood sugar boost which helps the brain produce mellowing serotonin.


Cinnamon – Sickness and upset stomach

Found naturally throughout Asia, the Far East and in supermarkets worldwide, cinnamon has an antimicrobial action that can quickly settle nausea and upset stomachs. Eat it in stews, on toast, in desserts and teas and a daily does will keep the doctor away.

Coca-Cola – Perfect for wasp stings

Coca-Cola can be used to take the pain out of a wasp sting, but never use on a bee sting. Coke contains phosphoric acid, which counters an alkaline wasp sting whereas bee stings are acidic and it would have no effect.


Coffee – Insect repellent

Apply a lighted match to a small container of ground coffee to keep wasps away. Just a couple of teaspoons on a saucer or small dish will smoulder for hours, it’s cheap to top up and even if the wasps persist, it smells nice.

Ginger – Get rid of coughs and colds

A cold or sore throat is a miserable holiday companion. Infuse a mug of boiled water with ginger to create a fast and simple cure for sore throats, especially if caught in a monsoon or on the promenade on a wet afternoon in Bognor. Ginger can also be taken to suppress nausea and alleviate motion sickness.

Salt – Fight mouth ulcers

Raid the condiment pots in hotels and restaurants, or pick up a salt on the plane as it’s the perfect treatment for mouth ulcers, which are easy to get when you’re run down. Apply salt directly to ulcers – it’ll sting at first, but the soreness of the ulcer fades away like magic. Alternatively if a glass of water and a sink are at hand, regular saltwater mouthwashes have the same effect.


Tomatoes – the traveller’s cure all

Tomatoes are invaluable travel companions. To stop itching and swelling, slice and apply raw tomato to insect bites. If hair takes on a tinge of green after swimming in a chlorine laden pool, comb tomato sauce through it.

Adding two cup fulls of tomato juice to a warm bath helps dispel the odours of excess perspiration, especially in hot climates. Sit in the tomato infused water for 15 – 20 minutes and you’ll be ready to face the heat again.

Vinegar – Jellyfish stings

The pain of jellyfish stings can be alleviated immediately by dousing the area with vinegar and rinsing with salt water (the sea will do). Remove tentacles by scraping them off with a seashell or credit card and apply a cold compress. Never rinse stings with alcohol or fresh water because the pain and stinging will get worse!


Yoghurt – the essential travel medicine

Yoghurt is one of the greatest and healthiest food aids as it’s an antibiotic and immunity booster. Yoghurt can help clear up travelers’ diarrhea, soothes ulcers and rids women of yeast infections. Check the label first to make sure it contains a live acidophilus culture.

By day Co-Editor Keri is a freelance journalist and copywriter, but spends most of her free time either travelling or planning her next trip!  A complete travel fanatic, she has a love of tropical climates, wildlife and afternoon tea (hence the creation of her Global Afternoon Tea Challenge!)

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