Our travel kit is always packed and suitcase ready because we are a traveling family. We have a whole set of toiletries and herbal medicine dedicated to globetrotting. Whether staying close or going across the pond, our kit has been sufficiently stocked with the basics to take care of the whole family.
This may sound strange, but Niles is (and I know he always was) his own person now. When we go out to eat we order him his own plate of food. He’s not nursing anymore and sleeps in his own bed, in his own room. He has a whole life at daycare with friends, not to mention he’s forming sentences, many of which begin with an emphatic “NO.” He is not a baby anymore, so no longer feels like an extension of me, if that makes sense.
So with Niles being Niles, coupled with traveling to Cuba, which is where our most recent adventures took place, I felt like it was a good time to reevaluate our travel kit. Cuba was the first place where I felt like finding medicine or medical care could be challenging for us. We’ve managed fine through language barriers and no internet access before, but somehow experiencing them both in one place, with a toddler, seemed like too much for me to wrap my head around. This feeling was also heightened by the fact that Niles was sick with a bad stomach virus days before our departure. It made me think about what we would do if he was seriously sick while we were away.
I know we can’t plan for every illness or scenario, but because the actions and benefits of herbs are wide ranging and overlapping, we can be pretty well prepared should some sh*t go down while we’re on the road. At the very least, having the medicine that we feel most comfortable using can buy us time while we look for a local healer, clinic or hospital, should that need arise.
Compiling this version of our travel kit, while totally worth it, was by far the most time-consuming packing task. We have about 120 herbs in our apothecary and we make all of our own body care. Some items were no-brainers and of course, we have most of our product line included in the pack, which is helpful. However, in addition to selecting a handful of herbs to make our kit more complete and robust, I had to think about the following:
1. When we get sick, what does it usually look like?
2. What is the most convenient and efficient way to take this medicine?
3. What if I need to get something in or on my body faster?
4. How many issues can I address with this medicine?
This is a great exercise for everyone. Whether you’re into natural healing or not, having the medicine you need for your family on hand when you’re traveling will put your mind at ease. When you’re away from home you need to know what to administer to yourself or loved one in a pinch. Bring what you would use at home. It’s definitely not the time to experiment with medicine you aren’t familiar with. For us, it’s herbs, but for another family, it could be Tums and Tylenol. If you’re flying, it’s always a good idea to have some items in your carry-on luggage too, in case your bags are lost or delayed.
Ok, so here is what’s in our Herbal Travel Kit and my reasoning for including it:
Back row, left to right
- Cod Liver Oil – You can read all about the innumerable benefits of Cod Liver Oil here: https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/. To keep this short and sweet, we take it as a family because it noticeable improves our immunity and increases our energy. Specifically for Niles, a spoonful a day keeps the daycare germs away!
- Echinacea, Osha and Elecampane Tincture – This is our serious anti-infection blend for colds, wet coughs and congestion, sinus and upper respiratory issues. To name a few of this blend’s benefits: it clears and dries mucous; calms and soothes the lungs and bronchial tubes; is anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antimicrobial; and oxygenating so you feel like you have more room to breathe.
- Niles’ Wipe Solution – Back in our cloth diapering days we used to make our own baby wipe solution as well. It’s a mixture of castile soap, aloe vera liquid, apple cider vinegar and calendula infusion. This is our soap-on-the-go if, especially during the flight when our hands get sticky handling Niles’ food, or if there is a situation with vomit.
- Iwilla Remedy Herbal Bug Spray – Mosquitoes feast on Tami, we can’t leave home without it. It also doubles as an effective antibacterial spray.
- Hyperbiotics Pro 15 – To keep gut health in check, especially while trying new foods and not having access to bacteria rich food, like yogurt. It’s also good to have if you do get sick and need to replenish your gut microbes.
- Iwilla Remedy Relax. Relate. Release Herbal Oil – We use this topically for muscle aches, headaches, anxiety and even cramps.
- Iwilla Remedy Stomach Ease Oil – Topically for gas, nausea and an assortment of tummy troubles.
- Iwilla Remedy My Skin Glows Vegan Nourishing Cream – This is our go-to for diaper rash prevention and healing, dry skin patches, baby eczema and sunburn.
Middle Row, left to right
- Hyland’s Teething Tablets – Because you can’t control when teething is going to occur or predict its intensity.
- Iwilla Remedy Good Night Wellness Elixir – When we originally formulated this herbal extract blend we called it Stress Free Travel to help calm Tami’s nerves during flights. As a strong sedative blend, it has a number of valuable uses for bringing your energy down to help you relax, travel and sleep. We’ve even had a client use it to help her process grief when a loved one passed away. We don’t sell it on the website yet because we’re still testing and playing with the name.
- Iwilla Remedy Skin Spirit Face Oil – It’s the only product we use on our faces to keep them gleaming, acne and blemish free.
- Lavender Essential Oil – If you could only take one essential oil with you, choose Lavender. It’s antibacterial, antiseptic, a relaxant, helps clear congestion and does soooo much more, which you can read all about on the interwebs. Remember though, that essential oils are the most potent form of the plant, so less is, actually, better.
- Catnip and Skullcap Tincture – This is another teething remedy to help ease the pain and the anxiety around teething.
- Selima’s Hair Oil – Apricot kernel oil infused with rosemary and nettle to keep my scalp and hair shiny and healthy and to prevent breakage.
- Jamaican Dogwood Tincture – For headaches and migraines, which we don’t experience often, but I’d rather have something on hand, just in case.
- Iwilla Remedy I Love My Armpits Travel Deodorants Baby Powder and Floral Fields scents – Perfect travel size to keep us fresh for the week.
- Tiger Balm – A strong muscle relaxant that we use after we’ve shuttled all the luggage it requires to travel with a toddler.
Front row, from left to right
- Activated Charcoal – To help bind during excessive vomiting and diarrhea.
- Aloe Vera Pills – We purchased these pills from a healer in Cape Verde back in 2013 and yes, they are still effective and strong. We use them for more severe gastrointestinal issues.
- Advil – Definitely not my first choice, but admittedly good to have on deck when we run out of our natural remedies, don’t have the proper one or can’t get access to a better alternative.
- Two tea blends – I honestly don’t remember what herbs are in these tins, something delicious I’m sure for when I want to enjoy a hot beverage. I’ll pull these out on the plane or in the evening before going to bed.
- Cayenne Pepper – Excellent hemostatic herb and my go-to for small cuts.
- Muscle Rub – Not as strong as Tiger Balm, so it’s perfect for Niles if he falls.
- Salt and Baking Soda Toothpaste – Simple and effective tooth powder recipe that alkalinizes the mouth and is antibacterial.
- Iwilla Remedy Smile Lip Balm Speckled Blood Orange – Can’t leave home without it.
- Eyebright – This herb is most commonly used for eye problems, as its name suggests and we have used it for conjunctivitis with success. I’ve found that it’s also an excellent remedy for the sinuses and we use it for sinus infections and congestion. It is also very gentle, thus perfect for Niles.
- Chamomile – I have fond memories of drinking Chamomile as a child; it’s probably the first herb I turn to for comfort and calm for the whole family.
- Tea ball, tea bags and droppers – All the tools we need to administer the medicine.