By Judy Coldicott ADH RCHom
Setting off on holiday with the family can be a chore for the parents in the house. By the time you’ve emptied the fridge and packed for everyone, then made sure that the pets are taken care of, the last load of washing is done and on a rack somewhere, the house secure and all the toys and cuddlies attached to the various children, you begin to wonder if it was such a good idea after all!
Then there’s the travel sickness. It can take the gloss off any holiday. Homeopathic remedies can be effective in keeping the nausea and other symptoms that accompany long trips at bay.
If you can learn to observe the particular pattern of your family members, travel sickness may be a thing of the past. Whether a long drive, a boat journey or a flight and an overseas trip, there are a variety of remedies suitable for different needs.
A remedy suitable for any occasion, Arnica can be extremely useful for travel, especially on a long journey. Typically used for jetlag, Arnica can help in alleviating the restless, cramped feeling that goes with being jammed in a small space without being able to stretch or move. If given for a few doses, it can relax the body enough to enable the traveler to get to sleep. Often there is a level of exhaustion in the person needing Arnica – they have worked hard to get organized for the holiday and then cannot relax enough to have a sleep along the way. Physical symptoms accompany the mental overtiredness too – aching back, legs and sometimes head can be symptoms needing a prescription of Arnica.
Cocculus is a great remedy for motion sickness and can be used in car journeys where there are winding roads to negotiate. The nausea they feel can be accompanied by vertigo and faintness. The sufferer becomes slow and quiet and may be faint and weak, stumbling and looking awkward when they get out of the car. They are worse for any movement of the boat or vehicle they are in and must sit still with eyes on the road or journey ahead. They can lie down in the car as long as they keep very still and the car is not on a windy road, but are much worse if they try to sit up again. There may be a background history of not enough sleep and the smells of food or eating fatty or rich food will aggravate them, making them feel sick. They have an empty feeling with the nausea and increased salivation. Cocculus is one of the main remedies we think of and use to help re-establish the body clock for overseas travel (or shift workers and feeding mothers). Many of these symptoms apply – vertigo, nausea and tiredness and Cocculus assists in getting the rhythm back to an even keel.
Just as the smell of petrol can make you feel nauseous, the homeopathic remedy Petroleum, made from the substance, can assist with the symptoms of travel sickness. Indicated in nausea that is worse from motion of the boat or vehicle, the patient is irritable and reactive. They feel better lying but with head propped up and feel worse for the smell of petrol/petroleum products – filling up the vehicle, the smell of avgas at an airport or boat fumes. They have vertigo felt in the back of the head sometimes with a small dull headache and tend to perspire with the nausea, especially if they vomit. Often the sufferer will have a sense of emptiness in the stomach and the nausea is relieved from eating something.
Nux vomica patients usually feel worse in the early morning so prefer to travel later in the day. Their nausea, too, is worse from motion and they will try to sit up to improve how they feel. They are very irritable, blaming and argumentative. They will avoid bright sunlight and tight clothing, both of which make them feel worse. They find it difficult to vomit and often state that they would feel better if only they could. Fresh air to the head and face may make them feel slightly better although they can be otherwise cold. Smells of food or cooking will aggravate their nausea.
Tabacum is another nausea worse from the motion of the boat/vehicle. The patient looks anxious and drained and feels better lying down with eyes closed but much worse being enclosed with no air – they may even flap their t-shirt to get cold air on the abdomen. They feel constant acute severe nausea and will be deathly pale, almost green in some cases, with sweating and dizziness. Their vomiting will come in paroxysms and they feel better for cold air and being uncovered.
One of the good remedies for children when travelling is Pulsatilla. Along with their nausea, they are often weeping, crying and wanting attention and usually feel much better sitting up front with lots of fresh air or hanging their head out of an open window. They respond well to some jollying along and sympathy and feel better if moving more slowly. They can become motion sick after eating too many rich foods or sweets and are better from cold drinks and food. Lying on their backs or being rubbed can also make them feel better.
Last but certainly not least is Sepia a wonderful remedy for nausea and often indicated for the overtired, overworked mother of many! Those needing Sepia may feel dull, indifferent and sluggish or faint, tired and heavy, especially the eyelids. Momentarily, their nausea and weakness will go if they can get out in the open air for a brisk walk or keep busy with their eyes moving around. In children, a game of eye spy might help them to forget how they feel. They have a heavy, sinking feeling in the stomach with nausea and don’t want to eat, but are actually better eating as long as it is not heavy, fat, rich food.
If you are planning a family holiday or are prone to motion sickness when travelling, then arm yourself with one or two of the best indicated remedies and see if you can allay the nausea, without the drowsiness often experienced from other drugs, and arrive feeling more refreshed.