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From the Townsend Letter
July 2006


Healing with Homeopathy
Your Homeopathic Travel Kit: Don't Leave Home Without It!
by Robert Ullman, ND and Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, LCSW

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Travel is wonderful, stimulating, broadening, and just plain fun – unless you are sick, injured, incapacitated, or otherwise not feeling well. We would much rather spend time lying on a beach somewhere, soaking up some rays, than lying in a hotel room or hospital bed feeling terrible, wishing we could be out enjoying our favorite leisure activities. What to do? Bring along your homeopathic travel kit. With a few small granules of a potent homeopathic medicine, soon you'll be on the road to health or at least on the road to a great restaurant, hiking trail, or beach.

Why are homeopathic medicines so well-suited to travel? Homeopathic medicines are highly effective, rapid, inexpensive, lightweight, natural, non-toxic, easy-to-use, and available in many parts of the world. With attributes like that, you'll soon find that they are indispensable additions to your traveling essentials.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with homeopathic medicines, here is the short course. Derived from a wide variety of natural substances, these invaluable medicines are designed to match the symptoms of your illness exactly, stimulating your body and mind to begin a healing process, resulting in the elimination of the illness. Homeopathy has been used for nearly 200 years to heal both acute and chronic illnesses, from first aid conditions like sprains, bruises, and burns to minor illnesses like colds, flu, ear aches, and bladder infections. Homeopathy has also been used to cure serious, life-threatening, acute illnesses like malaria, typhoid, and dysentery, which can really spoil your trip by landing you in that undesirable destination: a foreign hospital, with doctors who may not speak your language. See what your homeopathic travel kit just might prevent?

To know which homeopathic medicine to take for your illness, you probably will need to consult books like our own Homeopathic Self-Care: The Quick and Easy Guide for the Whole Family, or Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicine by Stephen Cummings and Dana Ullman. In Homeopathic Self-Care, we teach you to "Look, Listen, and Ask" until you understand the symptoms from which you, your traveling companion, or family member are suffering. Then you can match your symptoms to a particular homeopathic medicine by using the charts and descriptions that list the top medicines used for each illness. At that point, you can follow the dosing instructions in the book until your symptoms are resolved and you are feeling much better.

If you don't have your book with you (Tip: before you leave on your trip, copy the pages you might need), you can see a homeopath in whatever place you happen to be. Many countries in the world, such as England, France, the Netherlands, Germany, India, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico and other Latin American countries have homeopathic doctors and pharmacies selling homeopathic medicines, at least in the larger cities. If there is no homeopath available, though, you will just have to do it yourself. Having a travel kit with you on your trip will provide you with most, if not all, of the medicines you need, and you won't have to go looking for them when you least feel like going out or fighting crowds and traffic. Our Homeopathic Self-Care Medicine Kit (, for example, has the fifty most common medicines for treating acute illnesses and first aid conditions, in a small, one-pound bullet-box kit. Other kits, larger or smaller, are also available from homeopathic doctors, pharmacies, and manufacturers. Find one that suits your needs for compactness and includes a sufficient number of medicines to take care of the most common health problems experienced by travelers. You can also put together your own medicine kit by acquiring the remedies described below for treating some of the more frequently experienced travel woes.

La Turista and Food Poisoning
Who hasn't experienced at least one bout of turista, also euphemistically called the runs, Montezuma's revenge, Delhi belly, or the Tiki trots, among many other not-so-affectionate names. No one wants to spend his or her hard-won vacation staring at the questionably clean walls and floor of a foreign bathroom. Abdominal cramps and loose, watery, foul-smelling diarrhea will ruin just about anybody's holiday. After nine or ten trips to India, one to Mexico, and a few trips to South America, Australia, and New Zealand, we are veterans of the war on diarrhea. Luckily, using homeopathy, you don't have to know if it is bacteria, amoebas, giardia, or food poisoning to treat it. Let your symptoms be your guide.

Our favorite remedy for traveler's diarrhea is Podophyllum (May Apple). Judyth, while hiking the gorgeous Milford Track in New Zealand, with hundreds of waterfalls pouring down the cliffs, was dealing with some pouring of her own. Our friendly guide had extolled the safety of the kiwi backcountry water. After a few unfortunate gulps from one of those beautiful streams, Judyth found herself with an apparent case of Giardia, or some other parasite. She was having profuse, forcible, explosively gushing stools. She started taking Podophyllum 30C from our kit every few hours, and within a day, she was totally okay and able to enjoy the marvelous hiking once more. Giardia is often cyclical and recurrent, yet she never had another episode in the months following the trip.

Another medicine we have used for turista is Arsenicum album, which is used often for food poisoning. The person who needs it is frequently quite chilly, anxious about his or health, even with a fear of dying. He or she experiences nausea and vomiting, restlessness, cramping, and burning pains. One more indispensable medicine is Veratrum album, which is also used for those who are chilly and sweaty, with violent vomiting and profuse watery diarrhea that exhausts the person. He or she may crave ice, cold drinks, lemons, fruit, pickles, and salt.

Gelsemium is used for a combination of diarrhea and utter exhaustion in which the person feels totally wiped out, a state in which people describe themselves as feeling dull, drowsy, and droopy. Gelsemium also works well for these symptoms during a flu as well and can also be used for stage fright (if you happen to be performing in a foreign country).

Worse in the Sun
Since most of us head for the sun if we get a chance, especially those of us who live here in the Pacific Northwest, we also suggest some homeopathic lifesavers for sunburn, heat exhaustion, sunstroke, or shingles. Bob had shingles of the forehead twice from very bad sunburns, once high in the Italian Alps and once in Chile, where the ozone hole makes it hazardous to be in the sun without a hat. In Australia, which has similar ozone hole rays, they have billboards saying, "Slip, Slap, Slop," which stands for "slip on a shirt, slap on a hat, and slop on some sunscreen." Good advice, if followed. Fortunately for Bob, Rhus tox 30C came to the rescue both times, resolving the red, painful, itching, oozing vesicles in a much shorter time than usual and with no post-herpetic neuralgia or scarring. For more benefit, Rhus tox can also help the stiffness that comes on after over-exertion in those Alpine places.

Fortunately, most people just get the sunburn without the herpes. For sunburn, we like to give Cantharis (Spanish fly) 30C from the kit to help the burn heal as quickly as possible. Calendula spray, cream, or gel, slathered on liberally, can also bring a lot of soothing relief. Cantharis is not only great for sunburns, but also for other more severe burns and severe bladder infections as well.

For those who spend way too much time out in el Sol, two more medicines can help sunstroke and heat exhaustion: Belladonna and Glonoine. Once while backpacking in the Olympic mountains of Washington, going up a steep trail on a hot summer day, Judyth developed one of the worst headaches she had ever had. Reduced to sitting by the side of the trail holding her head in her hands, she felt as if her head was being pounded from the inside with a sledgehammer. She couldn't take another step, because the jarring motion hurt her head so much and the hot, bright sunlight was too intense. Luckily, she could take Belladonna 30C from her travel kit. In a short while, her head was pain-free, and she was happily trekking up the mountain once again. Both medicines cover violently throbbing, pounding headaches that come on suddenly after too much heat and sun. Glonoine patients feel as if their heads might explode, not surprising for those who need a remedy made from nitroglycerin, and their symptoms often improve when they are out of the sun. Belladonna patients have a bright red face that feels hot and dry, and the headache tends to be right-sided. These patients also tend to be irritable and very sensitive to light, noise, and jarring. Try taking 30C every hour or so, or whenever the symptoms start to return, until you are feeling better. If neither of these medicines is effective, try Natrum muriaticum, which is also known for headaches from the sun and dehydration.

Bumps, Bruises, and Accidents
Nearly everyone who has tried homeopathy knows about Arnica, the nearly miraculous medicine for bruises, shock, and trauma from injuries and accidents. Giving Arnica after an injury or accident is often the best first-aid, provided you have also employed the other indicated first-aid measures appropriate for the situation After Arnica has had a chance to take effect and relieve some of the immediate trauma, a more specific medicine may be given that matches the specific symptoms of the injury, such as Ledum, Hypericum, Bryonia, or Ruta.

People needing Arnica feel sore and bruised, yet they often reject help, saying there is nothing wrong with them. They do want to lie down, but the bed feels too hard. Arnica is one of the best remedies for black eyes and any kind of blunt trauma. Once, Bob was standing on a bed in Mexico, attempting to adjust the top of some curtains. Unfortunately, he stepped back into the ceiling fan, which clipped him in la cabeza (the head). Dazed and bruised, he hit the bed bleeding and moaning in a state of shock. Judyth quickly gave him some Arnica; the bleeding stopped; and, after some rest, he was able to enjoy going for a walk on the beach.

Ledum is mostly used for puncture wounds and bruises that feel cold, yet paradoxically are better from cold applications. Ledum was known for helping prevent and treat tetanus in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, prior to the availability of immunization.
Hypericum is also used for puncture wounds, but acts as a specific medicine for injuries to the nerves, accompanied by shooting pains. Bryonia is good for injuries where the least motion causes severe pain.

Judyth had a kayaking accident in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand, resulting in a very bruised foot that was extremely painful whenever she tried to move it. Although Arnica helped at first, Bryonia was the medicine that made the most difference, healing the bruise overnight and allowing her to paddle pain-free the next morning.

Bug Bites and Bee Stings
Two homeopathic medicines must be in your kit for mishaps with the bugs and the bees. Apis mellifica is the best medicine for bee and wasp stings. You should also remove the stinger, of course, and use ice. Apis covers other inflamed injuries as well, where swelling and stinging pain predominate.

For ordinary insect bites, Ledum (also used for puncture wounds) can help relieve the itching and heal the bite.

Altitude Sickness
When we were recently in Peru and Bolivia, traveling at 14,000 feet, we used coca leaf tea and homeopathic Coca (not cocaine) effectively to relieve altitude sickness. The symptoms of altitude sickness may include headache, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and sleep disturbances. People in the Andes have used Coca in various forms to relieve fatigue and altitude sickness for centuries. (Homeopathic Coca generally is not available in the United States due to FDA restrictions, but may be obtained from Indian, European, or Latin American pharmacies.)

Don't Leave Home Without It
As you can see, having an homeopathic travel kit can save time and trouble, a trip, and maybe even a life. With a book, a kit, and a little time to educate yourself on homeopathic first aid and acute self-care, you will be prepared to stay healthy wherever you go. Why not take a little time (without spending much money) to make your travels safer, healthier, and much more enjoyable? You will be glad you did for many a trip to come. Happy traveling!

Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman are licensed naturopathic physicians board certified in homeopathy. Their books include: A Drug-Free Approach to Asperger Syndrome and Autism; Ritalin-Free Kids, Rage-Free Kids; Prozac-Free; Homeopathic Self-Care: The Quick and Easy Guide for the Whole Family; Whole Woman Homeopathy; The Patient's Guide to Homeopathic Medicine; and Mystics, Masters, Saints and Sages – Stories of Enlightenment. They teach and lecture internationally and practice at The Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine in Edmonds, Washington and Langley, Washington. Avid and seasoned travelers, and soon-to-be residents on two continents, they are quite experienced with natural travel medicine. They treat patients by phone as well as in person and can be reached by telephone at 425-774-5599 or by fax at 425-670-0319. Their website is


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