India | Tips on Travel Health from an Ayurveda Doctor

Travel is incredible for the soul and the mind, but can be extremely difficult on the body. New timezones, new cuisines, and new biting insects to watch out for are just the beginning. I tend to have stomach issues when I travel, especially cramping up on any flight over 5 hours. It takes a while to adjust once I reach a destination. I would imagine I’m not the only one with this issue. I also tend to fall off of motorbikes. I may be in the minority with that particular issue.

When I was in Bangalore, India volunteering with Leave UR Mark, part of my time was spent working with Arth Ayurveda (an Ayurvedic health center). I had the opportunity to try many of their amazing and oily procedures myself, which I wrote about here on the Arth Ayurveda blog. But that’s only one part of Ayurveda Medicine. Another part is caring for yourself continuously. I also received several different health analyses when I was at Arth Ayurveda, and I learned how I need to take better care of myself, which I am writing about here, also for the Arth Ayurveda blog. When we are traveling, our natural routine gets shaken up and I spoke with Dr. Prashanth about ways to adapt in our new environments and to deal with some common travel woes, naturally.

How to Naturally Combat Jetlag

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When flying, make sure to drink plenty of fluids, which can be in the form of water, juice, coffee, or tea – but should not be in the form of alcohol (sorry). On an everyday basis, approximately 30-50 ML of water every half hour is good, but when at the airport and on the plane, try to up that to 50-100 ML.

If you will be landing in the evening, keep yourself awake as much as you can during your flight. I recommend crossword puzzles or catching up on some comedies from a few months back if you have a personal screen, but nothing boring or you will doze. Avoid coffee and tea for the last 3-4 hours of your flight. Fill up your belly before landing, even if your airline meal doesn’t seem too appetizing. When you arrive at your hotel, get into bed as soon as possible and crash.

If landing in the morning or during the day, it’s important to sleep as much and as well as you can on the flight. This time, avoid heavy foods, especially 3-4 hours before landing. When you land and get settled in, have a warm meal. Try to stay out of your hotel room and to stay engaged with others as much as you can to avoid an early bedtime. If you don’t know anyone and are shy around strangers, try my crossword puzzle suggestion from earlier or start working on something – anything – to stay awake.

The day after a fight, if you’re able to manage it, a hard massage with oil (not an aromatherapy massage) should help. This is not always possible while traveling, but a hot shower and hot food for each meal will be beneficial as well. If you travel often, carry a natural supplement called ashwagandha with you on your trips. Taking one tablet (or two, if you are a light sleeper) before bed for the first two nights should do the job. Your new environment’s time should take over after one or two days.

How to Naturally Prevent Motion Sickness

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Even people who are not normally plagued with motion sickness can become nauseous on a particularly turbulent flight, boatride, or busride. But there are certain things you can keep on hand to help alleviate these symptoms, whether you have a history with motion sickness or just want to be prepared.

If you know you’re going to feel sick when flying, drink small quantities of fluids (20-25 ML) every 15-30 minutes or sip something every 5-10 minutes. You’ll have enough in you to keep you hydrated but not enough that will trigger becoming sick.

If a particular fragrance is pleasing to you, you can spray it on a handkerchief or your clothing and keep smelling it throughout your trip. While you can use what you like, the recommended fragrance for nausea is lemon. You might not be able to bring a lemon with you on an international flight, but you should be able to find something that smells like lemon easily.

Another idea from Dr. Prashanth is to keep cardamom seeds in your mouth. Pop in two at a time and keep them there until they dissolve, then replace them. Alternatively, bhavana shunti, a product made of natural ginger will work as well. Bhavana Shunti looks difficult to buy online but ginger anything should help to alleviate nausea, digestion pains, and elimination issues.

Dr. Prashanth also recommends getting up out of your seat and walking around every one to two hours to divert your mind a little and to get exposure to other smells going on around the plane, if that’s where your nausea comes about.

How to Naturally Feel Better after Food Poisoning

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I encountered a bout of food poisoning on my final night and day in Inle Lake, Myanmar. I treated mine with lots of water, white rice, bananas, 100 Plus, and Pocari Sweat.

Just as with motion sickness, Bhavana shunti, or if unavailable, ginger-related products will help here as well. Try it with hot water.

For loose bowels, you should be able to find green tea in most places you travel. If you can’t find any, or if you can’t leave your hotel room, sipping on hot water should be sufficient. Everything will be flushed out faster than you think it will.

Continuing to drink juice will also help. If you’re on a flight, most likely apple, tomato, or pomegranate juice will be available and they are all good options.

How to Prevent and Treat Bugbites Naturally

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I don’t like wearing bug repellent because of the feel and the smell, but in some places, it’s necessary. Dr. Prashanth recommends wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts and socks and even covering everything but your face if the mosquitoes are really bad or if you have allergies. But another option is to put a simple massage oil, olive oil, or castor oil on your exposed areas. Drinking hot water with turmeric before going outside will also help. If you get bitten, drink that same hot mixture to alleviate the itching.

How to Cure a Hangover Naturally

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Hangovers get really bad once you get past your mid-twenties, as I was explaining to my youthful Leave UR Mark roommates last week, but they’re even more terrible when you’re traveling. No one wants to miss a day of exploring because they had too much fun the night before. If you know it’s going to be a crazy night, you can prepare your body by boiling four to eight pieces of ginger or 10 grams of ginger powder into 250 ML of water. If you have access to it, add 10 grams of jaggery as well. You could also try a ginger tea if you don’t have the raw materials.

This same concoction will help the morning after the party as well. Also beneficial will be slowly sipping a big mug of very, very, very hot green tea. After the tea, take a refreshing, long, hot water bath and drink a strong cup of coffee to get you back on your feet to continue on your adventure.

If you happen to ever be in Bangalore, India, please consider a consultation and treatments with my friends at Arth Ayurveda. Arth Ayurveda will also be expanding the practice into the states soon. Even if not in Bangalore, follow them on Facebook or Instagram for health tips and additional information.

This post was written in partnership with Leave UR Mark, a social enterprise in Bangalore, Goa, and Mumbai that connects travelers with local internships and volunteer opportunities in India. Opinions are always my own.

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