A week’s holiday in Turkey with a group of girls was all it took to bring about the birth of the Traveling Cauldron. I panic without my bag of tricks and never even go up the town without at least a bottle of lavender… so you can imagine what I take when travelling abroad. However, it was only when I went away with the belly dance class that I realized that, in general, people travel unprepared for the unexpected. Now, a lot of things cannot be dealt with, with a simple bottle of oil or a vitamin supplement, but a lot of minor things can. So here is my guide on what can be useful on your days away so as to avoid spoiling what could be a great holiday.
1. Lavender Spike: never leave home without a bottle of lavender, either spike or French, in your bag as it is the handiest bottle on the planet. However, I personally prefer the spike as it helps keep the midges away and in Scotland in BBQ season, it is a very handy thing to have!! As well as being useful as an insect repellant, Lavender is also great for applying direct to the skin on bites and stings, bruises and burns, cuts, wounds and grazes – in fact, any skin issue, I slap it on and see, especially in an emergency. My son split his head open and instead of a trip to hospital, I poured lavender in it to help, and by the next day when it was examined, it didn’t need stitching as it was already knitting together and mending…and no infection to boot. Drop it in the ear for earache too with a little warmed almond oil – another handy tip. It also works for tennis elbow, so can be used for any inflammation such as muscular aches, pains and sprains. Apply direct to the temples for headaches and migraine and inhale its aroma for shock and stress, The spike is useful for pillows for not only sleep but, if you start with a cold, it helps you breathe, eases catarrh etc. When travelling, I also sprinkle on the mattress and round the room to keep beasties away. The list is endless as you can see, so don’t leave home without it!!
2. Tea Tree: what lavender doesn’t fix, tea tree does!! Killer of fungal, bacterial and viral infections, apply neat in emergencies to insect bites, wounds that are infected, blisters, cold sores etc or diluted in carrier oil to sore throats and fungal skin infections. As top grade tea tree even kills MRSA, very little else can survive with it around so at the first sign of any infection, add 12 drops to bath and soak for 20 minutes to boost the immune system. Add neat to wounds and if in doubt of infection, add a few drops to the hands and apply to the air around (good for during flights to avoid infection etc). If you are particular about cleanliness, add to bathrooms etc.
3. Peppermint: really, really handy on holiday, peppermint is No 1 deterrent against ants. If ants are about, sprinkle around the doorway, balcony etc and watch them run…they will not cross peppermint. The oil is also great for cooling the body…apply in carrier oil to cool over-hot and tired feet and to relieve swollen ankles. Inhale neat if feeling faint, fatigued, stressed or suffering from migraine. I personally love this oil for digestive issues: add 3 drops to tsp carrier oil and massage into abdomen in a clockwise motion for colic, cramp, flatulence and all digestive gripes. Another use for peppermint is to inhale in steam for head colds, catarrh, sinusitis and asthma as it is anti-spasmodic and will be of great use, with immediate relief.
4. Geranium: I generally take this because it is a stress-free zone and great for inhaling or adding to the bath just to get into chill mode on holiday and leave all those worries behind. It also relieves any tension or anxiety just by closing the eyes and inhaling slowly. However, mosquitoes hate the smell of it and, as Turkey proved, hot countries generally grow it outside windows to keep the mossies away, so add to after-sun and apply to skin after dinner to act as an insect repellant when abroad. At night, sprinkle on bedding and near the window again to keep the beasties at bay. Monthly menses on holiday? Apply this oil in carrier oil and massage into abdomen to relieve the cramps, whilst adding to the bath and soaking for 20 minutes will relieve PMT. Heaven in a bottle…
5. Ginger: although I have peppermint in the list for digestive problems, I also always take ginger too. Peppermint is cooling but ginger is warming. It is the only remedy I use for actual diarrhea and associated cramps that follow, but it is also useful for travel sickness, indigestion, loss of appetite and nausea. Not only that, it is great to add to the bath and massage for muscular aches and pains, arthritis and rheumatism and its warming action is great for chills.
6. Ylang Ylang: now I take this because I love it and enjoy adding it to the bath (it has aphrodisiac qualities so great for couples) but it also relieves high blood pressure, tachycardia, palpitations and over-fast breathing so great for all stress-related disorders including tension, frustration, anger, insomnia, depression and impotence/frigidity so a must for a relaxing, stress-free break away.
7. Bergamot: I usually travel with one of the citrus oils with me but this is my favourite because it is very uplifting and refreshing – great for jet lag and negative moods! As with all citrus oils, it is antiseptic, insect repellant etc, but generally use this for tiredness at the start of a holiday and as a bathroom antiseptic just in case…
8. Carrier oil: personally I take Apricot Kernel oil but sweet almond will equally be fine for using with the oils to apply to the skin…don’t forget it as it is extremely important.
As well as these oils, other additions can be made:
9. Knees & things: this is a blend I make but to be honest, never travel without it just in case…I take ready mix blend for applying instantly to joints and pain as it relieves anything from twisted ankles and sprained wrists to arthritic joints and sciatica, RSI etc – not a necessity for all but I feel more secure if I have it with me just in case…
10. Oregano oil & Acidophilus: we use this in the fight against candida, but always include on trips away as it can be used as internal medicine for all digestive issues especially travelers tummy. Take the capsules during your holiday to ensure it isn’t spoilt because of the different food…perfect – one a day of each.
11. Vitamin B1: if you are going abroad where mosquitoes are a problem, take this supplement in 100mg tablets. I spent the holiday handing this out every 3 hours to all our party. It releases an aroma through the skin that deters the mossies but it must be taken little and often hence a pill every 3 hours, but it certainly does keep the little so-and-so’s away.
12. Echinacea/goldenseal/cats claw: another supplementary blend of herbs that is a savior in a bottle, take these capsules at the first sign of infection. This remedy will boost the immune system and act as a natural anti-biotic so very handy to have around just in case an infection is picked up – this will stop it in its tracks before it can get a grip, and if you add tea tree to the bath too, nothing should stop the fun.
13. Vitamin C: a natural anti-oxidant, I take at least 1000mg of this every day but on holiday, it can help with so much more. First sign of a cold, take a vitamin C boost – this is obvious but it is also a natural anti-inflammatory so taking this will help for any allergic reaction we used this for allergic skin reactions in 2 separate cases and got good responses from both where lavender alone wasn’t responding as quick as required. Will even help prickly heat and extra should also be taken if you get sunburnt as it assists in skin repair.
14. Intensive hand-care cream: another of my tricks is this little treasure. Not only is it a great moisturizer for hands and other dry skin such as knees, heels and elbows, but it acts as a barrier against the world to stop infection. So, if applied to a bad burn, it will stop the throbbing sensation, as the beeswax stays on the skin for protection, which makes it also great for extreme sunburn. It heals hacks too and other splits in the skin, keeping dirt out and the healing ability in.
15. Beeswax lip balm: I also always carry this little honey as the extra dryness of being away and always out in wind and sun means your lips dry extremely quickly. In Turkey I think everyone had a go at my lip balm because of over-dried and cracking lips.
16. Rosewater: not only is this a natural toner for skin but if your eyes become, irritated, dry, sore or inflamed, then some rosewater on cotton pads or in an eyebath will relieve problems very quickly.
Well, that is you all set for the incidentals of traveling so happy holidays. Hopefully, like insurance, you won’t need
any of them, but better prepared than run into trouble…
Now available from the Green Witch for £25 anbd £30 with beeswax products added
The Green Witch’s Traveling Cauldron – never leave home without it…