A Herbal Travel Kit

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You may have heard the news already….Kristen and I are embarking on a truly incredible journey to Peru to study Ethnobotany with Dr Jillian Stansbury. I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity. Our trip will take us from the high elevations of the Andes to the jungles of the Amazon.  I have been prepping my herbal travel kit to fend off an array of woes.  

Herbal Travel Kits are essentially a collection of herbs or remedies to help deal with common symptoms you are likely to encounter when traveling.  The challenge of an herbal travel kit is to strategically pick herbs with a broad spectrum of actions since its really not possible to bring the whole home apothecary. 

What I include in my kit really depends on how long I will be traveling, where I am a going, if I am flying or driving, and if I am limited by carry-on luggage.   This Peru travel kit is a challenge; We will be in diverse environments, cold-to-heat, high-to-low elevation, and are flying with only a carry-on. 

Here is the run-down on my Peru travel kit. Herbs that made the list and honorable mentions: 

1)      Andes Tonic:  Special for this trip, I made a small batch of tonic to help the body adjust to the changes in elevation we will encounter.  Our Andes Tonic is a blend of Cordyceps mushroom, Rhodiola Root, Ginkgo, and Rosemary. Andes Tonic is not available in the apothecary, but if you are looking for something similar we make custom blends. 

2)      Night Tonic: Travel is exhausting, especially when crossing multiple time zones or on overnight flights.  Insomnia, tension, nervousness, anxiety can all accompany long distance travel.  I am a very poor sleeper when I travel.  I always pack a sleep blend.  On this trip I am bringing our Night Tonic. 

3)      Pain Tonic:  White willow bark, Jamaican dogwood, ginger, and lavender, to relive minor aches, pains, and headache. 

4)      Viral Punch:  It’s easy to get run down and catch a cold when traveling.  Viral Punch will be my assistant, helping me tackle cold and flu viruses at the first sign. 

5)      Ginger Tea:  For nausea, gas and bloating, a simple ginger tea can’t be beat when traveling.  Ginger helps with nausea caused by bad food, or motion sickness.  Dry herbs are great for traveling because they are light, easy to pack, and don’t have the same limitations as liquids when passing airport security.  Ginger is a great travel companion (candied ginger is a fun option too…but I eat it like candy, so no)

6)      Gut-Biotic:  Diarrhea and infection from bad food or water go hand in hand.  That was a rough lesson to learn in Greece a few years ago (not making that mistake again).   Our Gut-biotic is a powdered herb blend of Oregon grape root, wormwood and cardamom.  Oregon grape root is astringent, bitter, and a broad spectrum antiseptic.  Wormwood is helpful with parasitic infections.  Cardamom is a carminative that can reduce the associated gas and bloating.  

7)      Headache Roller:  Yep.  I am bringing the headache roller.  This essential oil blend can help tackle the beginnings of a headache, serves double duty to soothe and cool any bug bites or stings, and I have been known to use it as an ‘emergency’ deodorant when I get stinky.  I can’t imaging traveling without.

8)      Bug-Be-Gone:  Not sure if my bug-be-gone topical oil is up to the task to repel crazy Amazon Jungle bugs…….will report back.   

9)      Peppermint Hydrosol:  On a tip from a friend (thanks Leslie), I am bringing a small spray bottle of peppermint hydrosol to refresh, and cool myself during the flight, or anytime during stressful, sweaty, and hot travel.  Lavender or Rose hydrosol would also be awesome for travel.

The Honorable Mentions…in other words, herbal blends that make great travel companions but didn’t make the cut for Peru.  These blends are worth considering next time you are planning a trip. 

10)   Adrenal Tonica blend of locally grown and wild-crafted adatogens. Taken in the morning and early afternoon, Adrenal Tonic can help keep your energy up and adjust to time zone changes.  I love packing our adrenal tonic for this purpose.  Adrenal Tonic is getting the cut because the adaptogenic properties of rhodiola in the Andes Tonic will serve this role.

11)   Healthy Guta soothing demulcent dry herb blend is excellent for moistening, and protecting the membranes of the gut.  In addition to use for general GI complaints Healthy Gut can be used for constipation due to dryness.  For more severe or regular constipation, having a bit of The Mover on hand is helpful.

12)   St. John’s Wort oil:   I love our St. John’s Wort oil. It was hard for me to leave it at home; Carry-on on luggage really makes you prioritize space.  I always bring St. John’s wort oil camping. It is the perfect topical first aid remedy for scrapes, burns (including sunburn), bug bites, or just about any skin irritation.

I had a lot of fun putting my herbal travel kit together. If you want to make your own custom travel kit stop in and see us at the Apothecary or shoot us an email.

Bon Voyage and Be Well.


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Keely M.