Medicines on the Holiday Menu - Part 1

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Here are Silver Travel Advisor’s top tips for tried and tested `Medicines on the Menu’ while on holiday - as suggested by our travelling pharmacist, Dave Harcombe and a few other tips from the Silver Travel Advisor team!

This article was used by leading journalist Christine Negroni in her New York Times feature  Sick on the Road? Try the Grocery Store

Coca-Cola - once bitten
Freely available in bars and shops worldwide Coca-Cola can be used to take the pain out of a wasp sting, but never use on a bee sting. Cola contains phosphoric acid, which counters the akaline wasp sting whereas bee stings are acidic and Cola would have no effect.

Coca-Cola is also good for diarrhoea. Take one can of regular coke and one can of sugar free coke, mix together and add one spoonful of salt. Allow it to go flat and drink.  You need to sip and not gulp.

Oil and vinegarVinegar - taken with jelly
The pain of jellyfish stings can be alleviated immediately by dousing the area with vinegar and rinsing with salt water (the sea will do). Remove the tentacles by scraping them off with a sea-shell or credit card and apply a cold compress. Never rinse stings with alcohol or fresh water or the pain and stinging will get worse.

Tomatoes - the traveller’s cure all
Tomatoes are invaluable travel companions. To stop itching and swelling, apply raw tomato to insect bites. Simply apply a slice to the bite. If hair takes on a tinge of green after swimming in a chlorine laden pool, simply comb tomato sauce through it. And two cupfuls of tomato juice added to a warm bath helps dispel the odours of excess perspiration, especially in hot climates. Sit in the tomato infused water for 15 – 20 minutes and you’ll be ready to face the heat again.

Ginger - nature’s fighter
A cold or sore throat is a miserable holiday companion. Infuse a mug of boiled water with ginger to create a fast and simple cure for sore throats, especially if caught in a monsoon or on the promenade on a wet afternoon in Bognor. Ginger can also be taken to suppress nausea and alleviate motion sickness.

Salt - oust the ulcer
Raid the condiment pots in the hotel or restaurant for salt and apply directly to mouth ulcers. It’ll sting like crazy at first, but the soreness of the ulcer fades like magic. Alternatively if a glass of water and a sink are at hand, regular saltwater mouth washes have the same effect.

YoghurtYoghurt - the essential travel medicine
Yoghurt is one of the greatest and healthiest food aids. It’s an antibiotic, an immunity booster and helps clear up travellers’ diarrhea, it also soothes ulcers and rids women of yeast infections. Check the label first to make sure it contains a live acidophilus culture.

Cinnamon - spice up the cure
Found naturally throughout Asia and the Far East and in supermarkets worldwide, cinnamon has an antimicrobial action and can quickly settle nausia and upset stomachs. Eat it in stews, on toast, in desserts and teas and a daily does will keep the doctor away.

Coffee - aromatic insect repellant
The Greeks apply a lighted match to a small container of ground coffee to keep wasps away. Just a couple of teaspoons on a saucer or small dish will smoulder for hours, it’s cheap to top up and even if the wasps persist, it smells nice.

Bananas - the stressed traveller’s best friend
To counteract the anxiety caused by airport queues, flight delays and general travel stresses, bite on a banana. This happy fruit’s 105 calories and 14g of sugar provides a mild blood sugar boost which helps the brain produce mellowing serotonin.

AvocadosAvocados - one slice or two?
For an emergency sunscreen, slice open an avodaco. This oil-rich, nutrient rich and delicious fruit offers rapid skin penetration which quickly protects, softens and soothes the skin. When the sun is behind the clouds, or proprietary sunscreen is at hand, apply to the skin, avocados can be used as a skin moisturizer, cleansing cream, makeup base, bath oil, and hair conditioner.

Lime juice and fresh figs - for toothache
For an aching tooth, dip a cotton wool ball in fresh lime juice and put on the aching tooth. Or rub fresh figs onto the gums to ease mild toothache, as figs have anti-inflammatory properties.

Fresh pineapple - to ease a sore throat
Eat fresh pineapple slices and gargle with the juice, but remember that the pineapple must be fresh and not from a tin.

Cucumber, lemon juice and vinegar / olive oil - all help relieve sunburn
If you have overdone the rays, simply apply cucumber slices which are good for prickly heat too. Or try lemon juice which eases sunburn and irritant skin rashes (only on unbroken skin). Or alternatively, vinegar/olive oil in equal parts – simply shake together and apply

FigsOlive oil again
For a bruise, rub with olive oil which aids healing

Cucumber or leek - for insect stings
Try a slice of leek or cucumber or alternatively put a raw onion onto sting, cover with bandage and leave for a few hours.

Please note that our “medicines on the menu” are all gentle natural remedies which have been suggested by a qualified pharmacist based on his own experiences and the recommendations of his customers. However, always seek medical advice if symptoms persist or there is any cause for concern. Silver Travel Advisor cannot accept any liability for any of the suggestions made here.

•  Read Part 2: Medicines on the Holiday Menu - Holiday ailments? 

Any other food tips would be welcomed ...

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Other Members' Thoughts - 3 Comment(s)

  • coolonespa
    over 6 years ago
    Good article. I can vouch for the success of Ginger in reducing motion sickness, works a treat for my wife. We've also talked about Ginger & it's potential uses on the forum if you want to see what others make of its benefits.
  • MARY_69
    over 7 years ago
    I would highly recommend Masala Tea for sore throat or laryngitis. My laryngitis was brought on by malaria medication prescribed by my GP before travelling to Goa. When I arrived the local hotel doctor prescribed Masala tea. I think it was the spices and warmth that helped the most in this concoction. In the end it did take almost 2 days to get my voice back which was very much appreciated by my husband on our 2nd honeymoon.
  • JennieSilver
    almost 8 years ago
    I can absolutely agree about the vinegar on jelly fish stings. Also immersing your hand or foot in 'almost too hot to bear' hot water if you stand or put your hand on a weaver fish on the British coast. These nasty little chaps leave 3 or 4 puncture wounds, which can cause huge swelling if not dealy with briskly. The hot water breaks down the enzymes quickly, I believe.