Traveling Natural Medicine Chest
Dear Dr. Emerson,
My patient will be in the Middle East for one year. The area he will be in is underdeveloped with little access to medicines, etc. What would you suggest to bring as his natural “medicine chest”, understanding that he has limited space to pack too many things. Thank you!
Dear Living Abroad,
Thank you for a great question! In my own experience of traveling within underdeveloped areas, food and water often pose the greatest hazard to health and the most critical issue becomes trying to prevent infection of any kind. For this, I rely on tried and true antimicrobial herbs. So good ol’ garlic and goldenseal root are what I bring with me. In America, we live in a rather sanitized society, so our immune systems can be overwhelmed by what we encounter in many foreign countries.
My most recent trip was to India, and I depended on the antimicrobial action of a garlic capsule with each meal to help prevent foodborne illness and offer some protection against parasitic infection. Goldenseal root capsules may provide more concentrated antimicrobial and immune support, if any illness or infection begins, whether it’s a common cold, a GI issue or a skin issue. Both garlic and goldenseal root capsules can be opened, mixed with a little purified water or an ointment base and applied topically to cuts and abrasions. A goldenseal root capsule can be opened and the powder added to purified hot water, making a tea which can be used to swish and swallow, nipping oral or dental problems in the bud. It can also be used to wash larger abrasions or burns. Oregon grape root and Barberry root contain active ingredients similar to goldenseal root, and supplements containing powdered extract combinations of these herbs can be substituted if needed or desired. My third supplement choice would be a mushroom-based immune support supplement for daily use, featuring reishi, maitake and shitaki as primaries.
These three supplements, along with a potent daily multivitamin, can help support and strengthen your patient’s own natural immune response to all the foreign elements he may be exposed to. Additionally, colloidal silver spray for cuts and scrapes can help prevent small things from turning into big things, and can be used orally for mouth hygiene when needed or immune support. If there is room, you can’t go wrong with some turmeric extract capsules, a great antioxidant that also supports a healthy inflammatory response. My last word of advice: Eat only well-cooked food and drink purified bottled water only from unopened, sealed containers! We are wishing your patient safe travels!
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By Lisa Murray, RDN, LD