Herbal First Aid for South america

As I prepare for a trip to Colombia this week, I wanted to give you all a peep into what I am packing in my medicine bag.

Some situations I want to prepare for include: Digestive upset- whether that be nausea from air travel or potentially a parasite (fingers crossed that won’t happen, but better to be prepared!)

Cold + Flu- traveling not only exposes us to air born viruses, but it compromises our immunity

Insects- both preventative measures and remedies for healing bug bites

Jet Lag- herbs to help with falling asleep + waking up

Stress + Anxiety- We will be going to three cities in 10 days. The stress of travel combined with the anxiety of being in a foreign country can be overwhelming.

When planning a first aid kit, whether that be for camping, music festivals, or even just to keep in your home or car, it is important to see what the situation calls for. How much room will you have? What possibilities do you for-see happening? A first aid kit that lives at home will probably be much more extensive than something you would want to travel with. Since I plan on packing light for this trip, I pared down to the essentials. I also thought about medicines that would serve dual purposes.

Here is what I included

  1. Digestive bitters- 1 oz blend of Gentian, Wormwood, Fennel, Orange Peel, and cardamom. This blend is something I would use to ward off a digestive parasite. Gentian and Wormwood are extremely bitter and potent herbs that have a long history of use for this purpose. Plus this blend has the added benefit of tasting great in cocktails ☺

  2. Activated charcoal tablets- in case of a stomach bug, this is another one of my go to remedies. Charcoal will bind to the parasite and move it through the body. In the event that I need to use them, I will break open the capsules and mix them with water. The charcoal is more accessible that way.

  3. Rose Geranium essential oil- This is my desert island essential oil. As in, if I only had one essential oil to use this would be it. Rose geranium comes in a small 5 ml bottle and is useful for bug bites, burns, fungal infections, pimples, and other skin disorders. It is extremely uplifting, energizing, and stress relieving, probably because it smells so dang good ☺

  4. Bug Off essential oil roll on- I am bringing this blend by luxe as a preventative for mosquitos. I know using a stronger brand like OFF is inevitable since we will be doing a fair amount of hiking in the Cocora Valley. For the times when we are not in hardcore mosquito land, I would like to use something more natural. This blend is a mix of citronella, eucalyptus, cedarwood, lemongrass, lavender, litsea, tea tree, patchouli, and catnip in sweet almond oil.

  5. Immune throat spray- For cold + flu prevention I chose to go with an tincture blend of immune supportive and anti-viral herbs which include Echinacea, Propolis, Hyssop leaf and flower, Sage leaf and St. John's Wort flowering tops. I have used this blend while traveling with much success. I use about 5 sprays every hour or so when I feel like I could be getting sick. It usually does the trick for me.

  6. Milky Oat Tops tincture- For the last two tinctures I wanted to pack herbs that help with sleep, stress, and anxiety. This category will be specific for each person. I have found that these plants work super well for me, but for someone else they might need something different. Milky Oats are a soothing nervine that help when you just feel fried. I use them a lot for anxiety, burnout, and as a gentle sleep aid.

  7. Chamomile Tincture- I have been really into chamomile recently. I find it helps with so many ailments from digestive upset, to pain, to nervous anxiety, to sleep. When I combine it with milky oats it makes me feel like I’m being carried away on a cloud by baby angels.

I have a few honorable mentions as well which include Rescue Remedy, Hangover Tonic (with milk thistle and st johns wort) Willow pain relieving tincture, and some multi purpose salves. After narrowing it down, I decided that because of space I could make do with the remedies above.