Herbs On The Go

When our family travels I take along an herbal first aid kit. It has most of the things we might need: Echinacea tincture, yarrow powder, thyme salve, plasters. Nevertheless, there are sometimes when we are caught without our first aid kit, or simply don’t have what we need for a particular ailment. What do we do then? It would be so easy to just go to the pharmacy, pick up some ibuprofen and call it a day. But, even easier, healthier and cheaper is a trip to the local convenience store for two boxes of tea bags.

My daughters and I just last week took a holiday in Berlin. This was meant to be a girl’s trip, fun, a bit of luxury, museums, cafes and shopping. The first day, Bekah got a mosquito bite and, as she is allergic, her ankle and foot swelled up, painfully inhibiting her movement, her enjoyment of the trip and our mobility as a group. An oversight on my part, I hadn’t any of our Stings and Bites Salve, nor did I see any Plantain, our go to plant for bug bites, in the cracks and crevices of the city streets (it grows in abundance in our area). So we went to our hotel room mini-bar and grabbed the ubiquitous free tea bags, and to our great delight, amongst them were the teas we needed: Peppermint and Chamomile.

According to  ‘Nutritional Herbology’:

Peppermint contains aromatic compounds that increase the production of digestive fluids, relieve muscle spasms, increase blood circulation, reduce pains, promote sweating and are antiseptic. It also contains astringent compounds which shrink inflamed tissues. Peppermint has been used to treat indigestion, flatulence, mouth sores, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, nausea, morning sickness and dysmenorrhea.”

According to ‘Alternative Nature’:

Chamomile flowers are used in alternative medicine as an anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, nervine, stomachic, tonic, vasodilatory. The anti-inflammatory properties make it good for rheumatism, arthritis, and other painful swellings. Additional uses in herbal medicine include an antispasmodic for intestinal and menstrual cramps, relieving gas pains, and a very mild but efficient laxative. Milder tea in large doses is given throughout the day for fevers, sore throats, the aches and pains due to colds, flu, and allergies.”

I emptied and washed out the hotel room garbage can and made a warm foot soak for Rebekah. While she was soaking her foot, I prepared a cup each of the chamomile and peppermint teas. I covered the cups while they were steeping in order to retain all of the important volatile oils. Once the teas were done, Rebekah drank them to benefit from their internal healing qualities, as well as to aid in stress relief, while I opened the tea bags and applied the warm, moist plant material to her swollen foot and ankle as a poultice to aid in the healing of her limb topically. We did this several times over the few days in Berlin. We saw great results even the next day.

Every convenience store, grocer’s, hotel room or drug store has Chamomile or Peppermint tea bags. Together, these are powerful all-around medicine when you are on the go. It’s not a bad idea to carry a few of these bags with you in your purse or first aid kit. These teas can be used for anxiety, cold and flu, fever, insomnia, allergies and a host of other on-the-go needs.

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