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Beyond Flat Earth Medicine. Holiday travel season

Pack these remedies and be prepared

Have you
ever found yourself traveling over the holidays? I have, and that's why I know
many of the problems that can occur when away from home and on the go. That's
also why our family almost always carries a few remedies or a homeopathic travel
kit along.
     Homeopathic remedies are great for travel. They
are small, lightweight, durable, and can address a wide range of problems. The
kit I often carry has 50 small vials and can be used to treat so many problems
that it is like carrying a homeopathic pharmacy in my pocket.
     Just about anything can happen while traveling:
colds and flu, diarrhea, headaches, injuries—you name it. For this column,
I'll address a few of the common problems that are related to traveling itself—namely,
travel anxiety, motion sickness, and jet lag.

Travel anxiety
For most of us, traveling is a pleasant, albeit sometimes stressful, undertaking.
For some, however, the thought of getting on an airplane or leaving familiar
territory can cause feelings of anxiety or even outright terror. Homeopathic
remedies can often help.
     Gelsemium. This remedy is perhaps best-known
to home prescribers as a remedy for those suffering from the flu. But it is also
very useful if you are experiencing anxiety from anticipation—specifically
the type of anxiety where you have diarrhea, your mouth may feel numb, and you
can't think because of a kind of mental numbness.
     Argentum nitricum. While those needing Gelsemium
will experience symptoms of mental prostration, the Argentum nitricum patient
will be more tremulous and impulsive. The travel anxiety makes them want to walk
for relief. People needing this remedy often crave sweets and have a strong fear
of heights.
     Aconite. When travel anxiety spills over
into frank panic, Aconite often saves the day. The anguish is extreme—as
if one is facing imminent death. The person is restless with extreme fear.
     Rescue Remedy®. I would feel
remiss if I did not mention Rescue Remedy®. This preparation of
Bach Flower essences is often quite helpful for travel anxiety. Although not
a homeopathic remedy, Rescue Remedy® is safe and non-toxic.

Motion sickness
Cocculus indicus. Those who need this commonly indicated remedy for motion
sickness typically feel nauseated from riding in a boat or car; sometimes they
even feel the nausea from just looking at something in motion. They may have
a heavy, stupid feeling in their head, possibly with accompanying dizziness or
a metallic taste in the mouth.
     Tabacum. This is a homeopathic remedy prepared
from tobacco. As Tom Sawyer found out while camping on an island in the middle
of the Mississippi River with Huckleberry Finn, tobacco can cause a severe form
of nausea. And what it can cause in large doses in healthy people, it can cure
when given in small homeopathic dilutions to sick people. The nausea of those
needing Tabacum is generally more severe than that of Cocculus; in fact, it is
sometimes described as a deathly nausea. The person feels wretched, with a faint,
sinking feeling in the stomach. There may be vomiting caused by slight motion.
The person needing Tabacum is often cold with a pale face and cold sweat.
     Bryonia. The grand keynote symptom of this
remedy, "worse from any movement," is true in motion sickness. The person is
usually irritable with a coated tongue. They may feel dry and thirsty and will
often have an associated headache.
     Nux vomica. Consider Nux vomica if the person
is very irritable and oversensitive to noise, light, odors, etc. They probably
won't want to be touched. They will often have an associated constipation with
an ineffectual urging—that is, they feel like they need to go, but they
can't or can only go a little bit.
     Petroleum. "Ailments from riding in cars,
ships, and carriages" is an old keynote symptom for this remedy. The nausea of
those needing Petroleum is associated with increased saliva or a feeling of water
in the mouth. There may be a feeling of emptiness in the stomach, and the person
often is irritable and easily offended.
     Ginger root is a food/medicinal plant that
is effective both to prevent and to treat motion sickness. It can be taken in
just about any form: fresh, powdered in capsules, or even in drinks or cookies,
like ginger ale or ginger snaps—as long as they contain real ginger, not
just artificial ginger flavoring. I have heard that ginger is also effective
in homeopathic doses in motion sickness, although I don't have personal experience
using it this way. If you want to get the homeopathic form of ginger, remember
that it is called Zingiber.

Jet lag
Arnica. The homeopathic remedy that I have frequently seen help patients
suffering from jet lag is good old Arnica, the remedy most known for trauma.
If you think about it, this is not surprising: people suffering from jet lag
often feel achy and experience symptoms that are flu-like. (Arnica is also a
flu remedy.) The bottom line is that it often works.

The 30C or 30X potencies available in most stores that sell homeopathic remedies
should work just fine. Simply give a few pellets (2 or 3 is enough) under the
tongue every 5 to 15 minutes until the person feels relief. Then repeat the remedy
as needed thereafter.

Watch that radiation!
I have treated many pilots, airline attendants, and others who travel frequently
and carry their homeopathic remedies through the airport security checkpoints.
It appears to me that homeopathic remedies can pass through security scanners
(x-rays) a few times without affecting their efficacy, but after four to six
passes they seem to diminish in potency. Before September 11, 2001, avoiding
radiation of homeopathic remedies in airports was easy. You could simply hand
the remedies to security personnel and ask that they be hand checked instead
of scanned. Now, security personnel often refuse to hand check and insist that
everything go through the scanner. Even checked bags get zapped nowadays; in
fact, the radiation produced by these large scanners is higher than that of the
scanners for carry-on bags.
     What to do? When I fly, I no longer take my fifty-remedy
kit because it is too valuable ($125 replacement value). I either carry a few
remedies in my pocket through the metal detector, or I just buy some remedies
as needed at my destination. Most of the trips my family takes these days are
by automobile, so we just toss the first-aid kit and any additional remedies
into the car.
     One of my current patients who flies frequently
has two sets of the remedy she takes daily. One she travels with and disposes
of after a few trips, and the second she keeps at home. She definitely notices
that the efficacy of the remedy fades after too many scans, so this strategy
works for her.
     If your remedies don't seem to be working like
they used to and they have been scanned more than a few times, you should consider
that they may be damaged and need to be replaced. Luckily, homeopathic remedies
are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

Editor's note:
There is very little concrete information as to what effect radiation may have
on homeopathic remedies. We are aware of only one private study conducted in
the 1970s that examined this issue, and the results were inconclusive.
     While some travelers report that, in their observation,
remedies that have been x-rayed lose some of their efficacy, other frequent travelers
report that they have had their remedy kits x-rayed again and again, as often
as once a week, with no apparent loss of strength.
     Some travelers say they've had little problem getting
their remedies hand checked since September 11, 2001. But on her website,
Lauren Feder, MD, reports: "airport security rules state that in order for a
medication to be hand checked there must be a prescription or a formal note.
... If the remedies are rejected for a hand check, by all means have them x-rayed,
and enjoy the trip!"

* For more information on what to pack in your travel kit, see Dr. Amy Rothenberg's
article "Home for the holidays", December 2003.

About the author:
Dr. Timothy R. Dooley is a graduate of National College of Naturopathic Medicine
as well as Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine. He practices
homeopathy in San Diego, California, and teaches at the Southwest College of
Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences. He is the author of the easy-to-read
introductory book, Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine. The complete
text can be read on-line at
For more information, visit
He can be reached at (619) 297-8641 or

Miracles for motion sickness
by Joan Clifton

We were on a big boat sailing out to the Great Reef in Australia where they handed
out either ginger tablets or an over-the-counter medication (like Dramamine)
for seasickness. The ginger tablets were in an open basket on the counter and
you could help yourself. You had to ask for one of the other pills. My husband,
who is very easily affected by motion sickness, chose ginger, and it worked wonders.
We grabbed a handful, and he has used them since as well.

However, when we were at Disney World this past summer he was very dizzy and
nauseated from just looking at the rides. On the second day it was really irking
him. We had not brought the ginger tablets, but we did have a homeopathic first-aid
kit. So he took one dose of Cocculus 30C. The relief was almost instantaneous
and, interestingly, lasted for the rest of the week.