A TCM Practitioner’s Guide to Summer Travel

Summer is here and everybody’s looking forward to their vacation. It’s supposed to be a time of regeneration, relaxation, and adventure. Unfortunately, flu bugs, food poisoning and other digestive upsets, and even injuries are not sensitive to the timeline of your travel plans.

TCM decoctions are often not the most convenient for taking along while away from home. While being the most powerful form of herbal administration, you are usually without access to a kettle or stove, while on the road. Luckily, there are many good patent pill formulations that can be taken along easily to suit the needs of any vacation.

In my practice, I have been a fan of using Golden Flower Chinese Herbs patents. Golden Flower was founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1990. They pride themselves in taking utmost care to insure that all the ingredients used have been tested for impurities and adulterants. All raw herbs have been tested for freshness, pesticide residues, microbial activity, and heavy metals before being processed into tablet form. Golden Flower products exceed current international GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standards. GMP is the standard used to assure safety and quality for herbal patents. If you choose not to use Golden Flower, take the time to make sure that the manufacturer has this GMP designation.

Golden Flower has a line of formulas, “I never travel far without…” I have used these formulas myself while traveling, and truly never leave home without them. These formulas tackle the most common ailments experienced by people while on vacation and allow for flexibility to construct a travel kit that fits your vacation plans best. I carry the following patent formulas in my clinic and recommend that you create your own travel kit to bring with you on your next vacation:

Patents for the Flu Bug/Common Cold

There is nothing worse than finally starting your vacation, hopping on a plane, and then it happens: someone sneezes, the person beside you coughs, and by the time you get off the plane you feel sick. There are two patent formulas I recommend for dealing with exposure to viruses and bacterial infections.

1. Gan Mao Ling Formula

It is one of the most effective formulas for the initial onset of the flu/common cold. It can also be used as a preventative when you’re fairly confident that you have been exposed to a virus. Travelers will often take this formula before boarding a plane and at each flight connection.

Herbs: Mao Dong Qing, Ban Lan Gen, San Ya Ku, Ju Hua, Man Jing Zi, Jin Yin Hua; Indications: common cold, ear infection, red eyes, fever, headache, flu, enlarged lymph nodes, sinus congestion/infection, sore throat, and tonsilitis

2. Viola Clear Fire Formula

This formula is effective against many types of microbials. It has one of the largest scopes of application of any formula in its category. It has an inhibitory effect on many viruses, bacteria, and fungi. It is most effective for respiratory infections and children respond especially well to it. This is a very versatile formula and can be used when you are unsure of the nature of the infection.

Herbs: Bai Hua She She Cao, Yu Xing Cao, Zi Hua Di Ding, Da Qing Ye, Ban Lan Gen, Chuan Xin Lian, Jin Yin Hua, Xia Ku Cao, Lian Qiao, Chen Pi, Gan Cao, Huang Lian; Indications: bronchitis, chicken pox, cough, diarrhea from dirty food, fever, laryngitis, enlarged lymph nodes, mononucleosis, pneumonia, respiratory infection, sinus infection, strep throat, tonsilitis, urinary tract infection

Patents for the Digestive System

Traveling brings a lot of change with it. Whether it be changing time zones, new environment, new and unusual foods, and/or new water, it’s enough to get your digestive systems out of whack. Best case scenario: you’re a little constipated, worse case scenario: full-on projectile exodus from food poisoning. I carry four great Golden Flower patents you might find useful for your next vacation.

1. Ease Digestion Formula

This is my number one choice for bringing with me on any trip. It treats a whole range of stomach upset complaints as well as mild food poisoning. This is the perfect patent for bringing to areas with questionable food cleanliness or when overindulgence is a possibility.

Herbs: Fu Ling, Huo Xiang, Lai Fu Zi, Gu Ya, Hou Po, Cang Zhu, Zi Su Ye, Bai Zhi, Chuan Mu Xiang, Zhi Ban Xia, Bo He, Ju Hong, Huang Lian; Indications: abdominal distension, abdominal pain, belching, constipation, concurrent vomiting and diarrhea, diarrhea, flatulence, food poisoning, gastroenteritis, hangover, heartburn, indigestion, intestinal cramping, loose stools, morning sickness, motion sickness, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting

2. Perscia & Cistanches Formula

A great formula for getting slow moving bowels going again. Our bodies are very much set to a schedule with a preference for familiarity and one of the easiest ways to mess that up is by crossing over time zones and being greeted by an unknown “throne”. We also tend to get dehydrated when traveling without even thinking about it, further slowing down the bowels. This formula is great for gently moving bowels when dryness is involved.

Herbs: Rou Cong Rong, Da Huang, Dang Gui, Bai Zi Ren, Zhi Shi, Hou Po, Tao Ren, Xing Ren, Bai Shao, Zhi Ke, Gan Cao; Indications: incomplete or painful bowel movement, constipation, hard or difficult to pass stool

3. Wu Hua Formula

A definite must-have formula to bring with you if you are traveling to a destination with poor sanitation and water quality. Nobody wants to deal with a parasitic infection, or some other intestinal distress, while on vacation.

Herbs: Jin Yin Hua, Mu Jin Hua, Ji Guan Hua. Hou Po Hua, Ge Hua; Indications: dysentery, blood in the stool, diarrhea, gastrointestinal inflammation, hematemesis, intestinal parasites, pinworms, rectal bleeding

4. Stomach Harmonizing Formula

This formula is great for when you’ve eaten way too much, whether it be at a family reunion, Thanksgiving dinner, or at a buffet in Vegas. It helps to promote digestion and can also treat heartburn.

Herbs: Shan Zha, Bai Shao, Shen Qu, Lian Qiao, Zhi Ban Xia, Fu Ling, Chen Pi, Chuan Lian Zi, Sheng Jiang, Lai Fu Zi, Huang Lian; Indications: abdominal cramping, acute abdominal distension, acute acid reflux, reduced appetite, bad breath, sour foul tasting belching, constipation or diarrhea, flatulence, food stagnation, GERD, hangover, nausea or vomiting

Patents for Calming the Mind and Sleep

Traveling can be stressful. It’s not all bad of course but needs to be processed none-the-less. New adventures bring with it lots of stimulation from sounds, sights, smells, new foods, new environment, etc. All of this can leave us feeling anxious, frazzled, and often with troubles sleeping at night.

1. Bupleurum D Formula

This formula is great for helping you adapt to new surroundings. It helps the body process acute stress smoothly and helps to quiet restlessness and excessive dreaming at night. It’s sure to make that hotel pillow feel like your favourite one at home.

Herbs: Chai Hu, Dang Shen, Zhi Ban Xia, Huang Qin, Sheng Jiang, Gui Zhi, Fu Shen, Long Gu, Mu Li, Da Huang, Da Zao, Jiu Jie Chang Pu; Indications: Anxiety, Constipation, dream disturbed sleep, drug withdrawal, emotional instability, headache, hypertension, insomnia, irritability, mania, PTSD, restlessness, smoking withdrawal

2. An Mien Formula

One of the most popular Traditional Chinese Medicine formulas for treating insomnia. Most of the herbs in this formula have a sedative effect.

Herbs: Suan Zao Ren, Qing (Zhi) Yuan Zi, Fu Shen, Zhi Zi, Da Zao, Bai Dou Kou, Sha Ren, Chao Lai Fu Zi; Indications: anxiety/depression, dream disturbed sleep, insomnia, a feeling of fragility, panic attacks, restlessness

Patents for Physical Endurance and Injury

For some people, the idea of a vacation isn’t lying on a tropical beach. Instead, they’re out to experience a physical adventure. Whether you’re hiking the West Coast Trail or cycling through Southeast Asia your top concerns are probably a) will I have the endurance levels to complete this feat, and b) what if there is an injury along the way? Golden Flower offers two patents perfect for these concerns.

1. Ginseng Endurance Formula

This formula has been designed to enhance athletic performance and increase endurance levels. Most of the herbs in this formula have adaptogenic properties. This means that they are able to return the body to balance by reducing the impacts of physical and emotional stresses. Research has shown that this formula increases blood oxygen availability, breathing capacity and stamina, and reduces the volume of toxic metabolic by-products.

Herbs: Huang Qi, Wu Jia Shen, Hong Jing Tian, Ren Shen, Dang Gui, Wu Wei Zi, Bai Zhu, Ling Zhi, Fu Ling, Gan Cao, Dong Chong Xia Cao; Indications: lack of appetite, laboured breathing upon exertion, shallow breathing, fatigue, weak immune system, recovery after illness, shortness of breath, generalized weakness

2. Tieh Ta Formula

A classical martial arts formula used for recovering from a traumatic injury. Whether it be a rolled ankle or a bad bruise from a fall, this formula will speed up recovery and reduce pain to get you back to your adventure. A must-have for anyone who is planning a physically demanding trip.

Herbs: San Qi, Dang Gui, Yu Jin, Bai Dou Kou, Da Huang, Hong Hua, Huai Niu Xi, Xu Duan, Gu Sui Ban, Xiang Fu, Ru Xiang, and Mo Yao; Indications: bruises, fractures or broken bones, joint dislocations, torn ligaments, muscle strains, pain and swelling from an injury, post-operative pain, sports injuries, sprains, and traumatic injuries.

I hope this blog post will give you an idea of what should be in your luggage on your next trip! Connect with me via email at lavenderhouseacupuncture@gmail.com or book your TCM Herbal Consult online. I look forward to hearing from you!