Clothes, shoes, powerbanks, sunscreen—these are always top priority when packing for a holiday. But how many of us remember to carry a few preventives in case of a medical problem? There’s nothing worse than falling sick while travelling, so a natural first-aid kit is a handy troubleshooter. Here are seven natural kitchen ingredients I recommend you travel with. And remember, organic and locally sourced is always better.
ALMONDS: The right way to jumpstart your day
They’re rich in nutrients, antioxidants, fibre and protein. And they release energy or sugars more gradually than a cup of tea with sugar, so they don’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels, making it the right kind of energy. Soak a handful of almonds overnight. Peel off the skin and eat them first thing in the morning.
Did you know: Almonds are rich in magnesium, which is necessary for a good night’s rest.
TURMERIC: The natural remedy for minor accidents
In ayurveda, this beautiful golden-yellow powder has always been acknowledged as a medical wonder. And rightly so. Turmeric is a great antiseptic— perfect for most injuries, cuts and wounds. Just mix one or two teaspoons of turmeric with water to make a paste and apply it over the wound.
Did you know: If you’re sleep deprived, hungover or just fatigued, add a pinch of turmeric (mix in some black pepper to make it more absorbable in the body) in a glass of water and drink it. It also works as a relaxant.
FENNEL SEEDS: The best digestive aid
Fennel seeds aid digestion, helping to alleviate gas or bloating. From reducing water retention to regulating blood pressure, fennel seeds pack in a nutritious and medicinal punch. Make sure to eat a few after a heavy meal to reap its many benefits. Did you know: Fennel seed tea is an excellent diuretic and detoxifier. It can also help ease symptoms of asthma.
CINNAMON: The counter to our culinary indulgences
Who doesn’t reach out for that extra helping of dessert while travelling? Cinnamon (powder or sticks) not only offers a great way to add spice to any drink, it also works to control and reduce blood sugar levels. Travel usually throws our routines into disarray, but a cup of cinnamon tea can alleviate the stress that can be caused by a new environment and a changed diet.
Did you know: Cinnamon powder won’t properly mix in warm liquids; it’ll just end up turning sludgy. A simple trick is to first mix the powder with a bit of honey before adding it to a warm liquid.
HONEY: The healing balm
Honey can be used to combat colds and help heal an injury, and just when you need some comfort. Rather than sweeten your breakfast with sugar, add honey to your meal.
Did you know: Eating honey or even applying some on the lips or the soles of your feet helps if they are chapped or dry.
SEA SALT: The natural electrolyte
Rich in minerals, sea salt makes for an excellent electrolyte minus the sugar. It is the perfect way to prevent dehydration after a day spent out in the sun. At restaurants, whenever you can, ask the server to hold off on regular salt and add a dash of your own sea salt—your immune system will thank you for it.
Did you know: Himalayan pink salt can also help with respiratory and sinus issues. If you feel a sore throat coming on, crush a spoonful of salt crystals into a warm glass of water and gargle.
CLOVES: The portable dentist
Few things are worse than having to make a trip to the dentist’s while travelling. Cloves are a literal lifesaver when you have a toothache. Chew on a few cloves (or apply some clove oil on the affected area) for near-immediate pain relief. As a bonus, cloves also fight halitosis, so you have the perfect breath freshener after a long flight.
Did you know: Cloves are naturally anti-inflammatory and help reduce acidity. Eat a few after a rich meal.