by: Misty Rae Cech, ND
Going on a trip is usually thought of as a wonderful experience, one that you and your family may have planned and looked forward to for some time. To have the most fun – to get the most out of the experience – it’s important that you and your loved ones have the means to overcome those little ailments and discomforts that can make the experience range from mildly unpleasant to downright unbearable.
How can we include a little ‘Trip Insurance’ to our already overstuffed carry-ons or mini-vans?
Aromatherapy has an answer with some readily-available essential oils. Motion sickness, bug bites, digestive difficulties, and general travel weariness – to name a few – are common discomforts experienced when venturing away from home.
A small collection of inexpensive essential oils can provide great relief from these amusement-threatening ailments. ‘Treatment’ with these oils is simple – ranging from inhaling a little oil from a tissue, to adding to a bath, to drinking a drop with a warm cup of water. And, thankfully, relief often comes quickly because of the oils’ powerful properties and compatibility with our own bodies.
Peppermint and Ginger Essential Oils – Tummy Troubles and Clearing the Head
We’ll begin with ‘getting there’ – any trip starts with travelling. By car, boat, plane, or otherwise, motion sickness commonly effects many people, particularly children. This can easily make the ‘travelling’ portion of your experience absolutely no fun. Enter Peppermint essential oil. Peppermint has long been used to calm uneasy stomachs, and is easily used. One drop (it is strong!) in a cup of warm water, sweetened if you like, can be sipped before and during the voyage. For the fussy ones, a drop can be added to a small amount of honey and taken from a spoon for the same effect.
Ginger essential oil is also known for its calming of upset stomachs – a little inhaled from a tissue or diluted in a carrier oil and rubbed on the abdomen can bring relief. One can also add a drop of ginger to warm water and drink as a strong tea – this may be effective for some food-related stomach issues as well, particularly when combined with the abdomen massage method.
Peppermint can also be uplifting to the weary driver or passenger – a drop or two placed on tissues in the car or near your seat will release the aroma into your surroundings. Be careful with this oil however, as getting it on sensitive areas of the skin (directly under the nose, and certainly near the eyes) can cause irritation. Tissues with the oil on it should not touch these areas directly.
Lavender Oil – the Great Soother
Lavender has been called ‘a medicine chest in a bottle’ due to its wide range of effects. The aroma of Lavender is uplifting and relaxing, useful for stress in congested airports or crowded highways. Breathing this very safe essential oil is effective for adults and children alike – inhaling drops from a tissue directly, or from one’s placed in your surroundings can help you and your companions be at ease.
Cleansing and Keeping Bugs and Bites at Bay
Lavender essential oil is also an effective wound-healer because of its anti-inflammatory, mild antibacterial, and skin-regenerative actions. It can be used directly in case of burns, mixed 50:50 with Tea Tree and put on band aids to prevent infection, or blended with Thyme Linalol and Eucalyptus (2:4:2) and added to a bowl of water for an effective disinfectant wash.
Lavender is very useful for treating bites and stings – just place a little ‘neat’ (undiluted) on the affected area. This versatile oil is also a component of an insect repellent blend comprised of equal parts of Lavender, Thyme Linalol, and Peppermint, and a double-dose of Lemongrass essential oil.
A drop or more placed on tissue or cloth about your room can keep the insects out of your space; 3 drops of this blend per teaspoon of carrier oil can be regularly applied to the skin – or you may mix a similar amount into any lotion you may have.
Lavender can be used in combination with Geranium, Chamomile, Peppermint and Eucalyptus oils in relieving the effects of jet-lag. Getting out of this weary state as quickly as possible makes any trip more enjoyable. This requires getting yourself and companions in-synch with local time, having good rest at night and perhaps a gentle lift in the mornings and throughout the day.
To get yourself into the swing of local time, relax and be ready for bed with equal parts of Lavender and Geranium essential oils – Chamomile may also be used in place of the Geranium, and works especially well for soothing children (if they are irritable for ANY reason). Add a few drops to a bath or use in a massage oil.
For a morning eye-opener, do the same using equal amounts of Peppermint and Eucalyptus. You will find these useful at other times when you need a little clarity and lightening-up. Lemon Oil – the Purifier Lemon also has some wonderfully diverse uses. It is effective as an antibacterial, but not so strong as to be an irritant. Adding several drops per quart to your drinking water will help purify it, and the water can act as a disinfectant to be used in washing your fruits and vegetables – the need for this certainly depends on your location, but it not a bad idea whenever bacterial contamination may be a possibility.
Further, regularly drinking water with added lemon oil can gently stimulate the lymphatic and digestive systems, helping alleviate that sluggish feeling that often accompanies extended plane and car travel.
Eucalyptus Oil – For Keeping Cool and Cold Relief
Eucalyptus – the Narrow Leaf variety is a favourite – has a great range of uses as well. It can cool the body when too hot, and protect it when too cold. It is found in almost all formulas used to relieve congestion, can support circulation, and bring lightness to a travel-weary head.
Eucalyptus oil can be used like peppermint to uplift and invigorate during long intervals in an automobile. It can be added to a cool bath or used on a cold compress in cases of heat exhaustion and heat stroke (accompanied by, of course, copious amounts of water and electrolytes!), and used in a similar manner to reduce fever.
Eucalyptus oil may be blended with Geranium as a massage oil (3 drops Eucalyptus and 2 drops Geranium per teaspoon of carrier oil) to relieve heat cramps. For congestion relief, to a drawn bath, add 1 drop Eucalyptus, 3 drops Lemon, 2 drops Thyme, and 2 drops Tea Tree – soak and breathe deeply – or simply add a few drops to a steaming bowl of water and inhale.
These are just a few examples of ways to make your travel experiences more enjoyable with aromatherapy. With a little effort, you can expand your knowledge of these oils, discovering further uses, and find other oils that work well for your particular needs.
These essential oils are readily available, and fairly inexpensive – though caution should be used when buying oils, as some can be adulterated, and others are mass-produced with techniques that may limit their therapeutic benefits. The more pleasant and ‘well rounded’ an oil’s aroma, generally the higher the quality. Your nose will know! And as with any aromatherapy application, start slowly – essential oils deserve a healthy respect.
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