Holiday Herbs

It’s the time of year for travelling remedies. ‘What can I take to stop me getting a tummy bug/mosquito bites/parasites?’ is the question of the moment, especially for people going further afield than Europe. And if you know that you are easy prey for infections, it makes sense to be prepared.
The ideal time to start your holiday herbs is a week or so before you go. Some of the bitter herbs, like the Artemisias, and many aromatics – garlic is probably the most famous – will change the ‘taste’ of your secretions, making you less attractive to biting insects, and less welcoming to parasites. Like a lot of ‘natural’ remedies, they can’t guarantee that you won’t pick up something, but it will be less likely, and if you do get an infection, it’s likely to be less severe and long-lasting.
The ideal protocol, then, is to start on three doses a day before you travel, and keep that up while you are away. If you do catch something, increase the dose up to several times daily. If it’s a tummy bug, you won’t be eating much, but try to keep up your fluid intake. A favourite herb to include is tormentil root, which is very high in tannins. These help to ‘line’ your digestive system and limit the inflammation, so again, the illness will be shorter and less severe than it might have been. It will also be less likely to leave you with long-term scarring to your gut, with the chronic digestive problems that can result.
You’ve got a good chance, with the herbs, of not getting ill at all. Patients often come back and say ‘Actually, I gave the rest of the medicine away to somebody else!’ And that’s probably the best possible outcome.