1. Probiotics – This is an obvious one but an important one since dysentery while traveling is a common occurrence. Therefore building and maintaining the digestive flora of your gut while traveling is a top priority.
These helpful bacteria are an essential part if our immune system and play a role in digestive health. Start taking them before you travel to get a head start and increase your live probiotic food such as naturally fermented sauerkraut or other veggies, kombucha and coconut kefir. Skip the dairy yogurt as it is acidifying to the body and can lead to phlegm production.
It also is good to have a probiotic supplement on hand in the event you take an antibiotic and need to replenish your flora afterwards, especially for women who might be prone to post antibiotic yeast infections.
Products I recommend are Jarrow’s EPS or Garden of Life’s Primal Defense Ultra Probiotic. Both brands are shelf stable and do not need to be refrigerated. I like Jarrow’s EPS because the blister packs are so easy to pack. Garden of Life also contains beneficial soil organisms that science is now understanding their role in the bodies’ microbiome. Popping one or two of these every morning on an empty stomach worked out well for me while I was traveling in South America.
2. Umeboshi Plum – This is going to be one of the lesser known supplements listed but one of the more special. Ume (for short) plums come from Japan where they are eaten regularly in Japanese cuisine like onigiri (seaweed rice wraps). They are also known for settling the stomach from motion sickness, eating bad or rich food, and alkalizing the digestion. They are very salty, quite sour and can take some getting used to.
You don’t need to eat them with rice to settle the stomach, just eat them plain or put them in a non-caffeinated tea or hot water and drink the water. Aficionados of ume plums will suck on the pit after eating to get the remaining essence. Umeboshis are known to people in the United States through Macrobiotics and helped me feel more fortified while traveling.
3. Curing Pill – Most of the supplements on this list are digestive related. Here is another remedy for upset stomach, hangover and diarrhea but hitting it from a different angle. It is a traditional Chinese herbal formula famous all over the world. You feel bad from eating– take a curing pill. Gentle and soothing you could even take a daily dose to help your digestion with the stress of eating food you may not be used to. There are several quality safe brands to purchase in the United States including Plum Flower Pill Curing and Dr. Shen’s Curing Pill.
4. Final digestive remedy to consider bringing along is another Chinese herbal remedy – Huang Lian Su or Coptis. This herb is similar to Goldenseal and contains an alkaloid called berberine which has affinity to killing bacteria that can wreak havoc on the digestive track. Travelers diarrhea usually just grounds you for a few days and many people wait it out without taking an antibiotic. However if you want to help it along you can take some Huang Lian Su without a prescription or as much damage to digestion as antibiotics can do. If friends you are traveling with are ill you can take some prophylactically but like antibiotics you don’t want to take it everyday.
5. For colds and flu – This is a tough one since there are so many great supplements for supporting the immune system out there. Some people swear by vitamin C or zinc or herbs like elderberry can be helpful but when you are packing light you need to whittle it down to some thing you can use for a wide spectrum of illness. Currently I am traveling with Andrographis as it can be used for sore throat, respiratory distress and a fever. It can also be used for a bladder infection or toothache. I also load up on mushrooms like Reishi and Agarikon before leaving as they are immune builders par excellence.
6. B complex or vitamin B1 – Vitamin B1 is rumored to discourage the biting of mosquitoes. It’s debatable whether this really works as mosquitoes seem to bother some people and not others. I take B complex that includes B1 of at least 100 milligrams for all the benefits of B’s when I travel. I took it this winter while in Brazil and the news about the Zika virus broke. I got hardly any bites my whole time in South America and while on a hike in a swampy area and others were getting mosquito bites, l didn’t get any.
7. Greens and/or supplements against radiation – I think I have been on 21 planes or something this year and so I have started to think about how I might protect myself against exposure to radiation on airplanes. Mushrooms have been studied for remediation from radiation and support immune health. Also plants like wheat grass and chlorella are often chosen for deep cellular health. So throwing in a few packets of a green superfood or a mushroom product on a trip is not a bad idea.
Host Defense Mycoshield is a mushroom throat spray that is in a convenient format for on the road use and helps support the immune system on a variety of levels.
The next challenge can be packing all this into your suitcase or pack but worth it when you are far away from the luxury of having access to nutritional supplements.
To health on the road!