Bare Health

Friday, 19 June 2015

Healthy fun in the Sun!


The Dawn Chorus.......gardens and hedgerows in full bloom........Blue skies as far as the eye can see and not a fluffy cloud in sight.....Warm evenings spent outdoors........day trips to the coast............long afternoon walks with family and friends. At last, It feels like Summer is just around the corner and no doubt many of you will be itching to pack your bags and jet off on your summer holiday or maybe you’re planning on staying closer to home with lots of fun days out and short breaks planned. Whatever your adventure this summer, make sure you don’t forget to pack some peace of mind in the form of a natural first aid kit. A small sandwich box thrown into your luggage, back pack or car containing natures own herbal helpers - can help treat everything from cuts & bruises, insect stings & bites to sunburn and travel sickness.



It’s important to know your needs and those of the people travelling with you – so a little careful planning prior to your holiday can ensure you’re prepared right from the start and prevent common problems from spoiling your trip. Ask yourself a few simple questions –Are you going to be at risk of bites & stings? Are you going to be eating and drinking different foods in unfamiliar environments? Do you have accident prone children? Does anyone have a fear of flying? Does anyone suffer from motion sickness? Making a check list is always a good idea.

Apart from your usual first aid kit essentials such as bandages, cotton swabs, tweezers, plasters and hand sanitizer there are a lots of tried & tested herbs, homeopathic remedies & essential oils that make great additions to any first aid kit. And what’s more they are all relatively inexpensive to buy and available from your nearest independent health store.

Bumps, cuts & grazes

Arnica , a homeopathic remedy, is great for any bruising, strains, sprains & swelling. Use the pillules orally and massage the gel gently onto affected areas. It is also a useful remedy for overcoming jet lag. Tea Tree Oil is a great natural antiseptic and can be used to prevent a wound getting infected – but only use a few drops as the pure essential oil is very concentrated. Manuka honey is also a great wound healer, however, this can be a little sticky and messy to apply straight from the pot. For ease of application opt for the preparation found in a tube. Calendula Cream has anti bacterial, anti inflammatory, astringent and anti fungal properties and is very soothing for healing wounds and burns.


Travellers Tummy

When travelling abroad and eating and drinking different foods in unfamiliar environments it may be wise to pack a supplement containing a broad spectrum of ‘friendly bacteria’ to support immunity & digestion. Make sure it is one that contains strains that can survive at higher temperatures, especially if you don’t have the option of a refrigerator.  Research has shown a unique yeast & microorganism called ‘Saccharomyces boulardii’ to be very useful in cases of travellers diarrhoea , reducing its duration – which is great news as nobody likes to lose days from their holiday with a sickness bug. Silicea Gel sachets are ideal for holidays too, offering additional support for the gastrointestinal tract in times of need. Made of colloidal silicic gel, silicia combined with oxygen and water, they are ideal for gastro intestinal upset due to the gels exceptional ability to bind to pathogens and their toxins within the GI tract and excreting them via the colon. It also has the added benefit of binding gases so can be useful for episodes of bloating and flatulence.

Ginger is popular for soothing stomach upsets and is often used to help the nausea experienced with motion sickness. This popular spice is available in chews, capsules or as a tincture.

Studies have also shown Wild Oregano Oil capsules to have antimicrobial activity and may be effective against pathogens such as Listeria and MRSA , whilst AllicinMax, a patented stabilised extract from Garlic has been also shown to be effective against bacteria such as helicobacter pylori and human parasites such as fungi, protozoa & worms. Two, useful ‘just in case’ remedies.

Keep those bugs at bay!

Essential oils, particularly citronella, eucalyptus and lemon myrtle oil can be used to deter those pesky mosquitoes – use a few drops on cotton wool pads and leave around your apartment/hotel room at night or add around 30 drops of citronella oil to a small bottle of water and spray often & liberally. Neem oil is also an effective repellent. However, if this all sounds like too much hard work – there are a number  of ready to use natural mosquito repellents available to buy from your local health store that are free of harmful chemical pesticides such as DEET.

And if you do get bitten? Dab a little lavender or tea tree oil onto the bite to relieve the itching and reduce the swelling. Combudoron, a homeopathic insect bite spray may also provide significant relief or the Homeopathic Remedy ‘Apis’.

Sun Protection

Although we are now being actively encouraged to expose ourselves to sunlight for short periods of time each day in order to synthesise Vitamin D we still need to make sure that we are sun smart and find a healthy balance between getting enough natural sunlight to maximize your vitamin D production and maintain your optimal health, while at the same time protecting yourself from damage that occurs from over exposure to the sun.

Natural Sunscreens should be a first aid kit staple. When using a sunscreen make sure it is one formulated from minerals as opposed to harmful chemicals. These days micronized zinc oxide is considered the safest form of sunscreen.  Choose a good quality natural & organic brand that contains natural plant extracts & antioxidants to enhance the effectiveness of the sunscreen whilst also moisturising the skin. Never stay in the sun to the point of burning & damaging the skin, wear protective clothing , hats & sunglasses.

We can also offer our skin protection from the inside out by supplementing with Astaxanthin (pronounced "asta-ZAN-thin") a naturally-occurring carotenoid found in algae, shrimp, lobster, crab and salmon.For humans, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with broad health implications one of which is its ability to protect the skin against the harmful effects of UVA damage from the sun. However, this does not mean that you can avoid wearing sun protection – it’s just another way to give your skin a little ‘added’ protection.

And should you accidentally over do your sun exposure? ThenAloe Vera Gel is ideal for healing burns whilst also helping to soothe and cool. Add a few drops of lavender as this is antiseptic and can also help soothe burns.

Pure Papaya ointment is also a great first aid kit essential, wonderful for sun parched skin and as a moisturising lip balm. This is an ultimate multi-purpose skin care product that can be used for many skin ailments. The perfect travelling companion, at home or abroad.

Allergies

If you or your loved ones are susceptible to seasonal allergies then it might be wise to include a natural antihistamine or pollenbarrier balm in your first aid kit to prevent those histamine levels from soaring. Urtica (stinging nettle) and Luffa are traditional herbal remedies used to alleviate the symptoms of hayfever, whilst urtica is also useful for prickly heat/urticaria rashes on the skin.

Holiday Stress

Rescue Remedy, a blend of flower essences, is ideal for the inevitable stress and fatigue often experienced when travelling. This is also a great one to try to minimise shock & fear – particularly for those fearful of flying.


Sore throats & sniffles

It’s not uncommon after spending many hours on a flight to return home with a sore throat and the beginnings of a cold – so why not take along some Echinacea & Sage Throat Spray to help support immunity? The antiseptic & antibacterial properties also make it a great spray disinfectant for cuts. Propolis lozenges are a great to have at hand – for immune support, to soothe sore throats and are ideal for sucking on takeoff and landing to ease pressure in the ears.

A standardised special extract of cistus villosus (rockrose) containing, a high level of polyphenols (up to 300 mg per daily dose) has been shown to coat the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat, thus providing a barrier against cold viruses. This physical effect means that no resistance is built up. Taken at the first signs of a cold or sore throat these lozenges offer additional immune support when the risk of infection is higher.
And finally, always have a good supply of bottled water close at hand as keeping adequately hydrated is vital and should never be over looked. Dehydration can come on so easily when spending a lot of time in warm climes, when travelling for any length of time or as a result of sickness.

Once you’re prepared all that’s left to do is to sit back, relax and enjoy your fun in the sun!

For more information, please call Bare Health on 01260 408413 or alternatively email mel@barehealth.co.uk. References are available on request.


The information contained within this article is intended for information purposes only and does not replace the advice of your GP or health care professional. Always seek medical advice if taking prescribed medication or undergoing any course of treatment.