It is wise for all travelers to carry a first aid kit for possible injuries or mishaps while away. The easiest first aid kit to carry is a homeopathic one. These are readily available in homeopathic pharmacies, many health food stores and from homeopathic manufacturers. They usually consist of six to eight remedies and an accompanying booklet explaining the use of the remedies. The idea of taking homeopathic remedies is foreign to many people, and they approach it with some degree of fear and disbelief. I can assure you that these remedies are wonderful when the proper one is used.

I would recommend the following remedies for a small but powerful kit. All of the remedies are prepared homeopathically and many potencies are available. The rule of thumb in this discipline is that the more acute the trauma or disease the higher the potency needed. The beauty of these remedies is that if you have not chosen the correct one, no harm is done and another can be tried. The remedies usually come in the form of a pill, which is not swallowed but allowed to dissolve under or on the tongue.

Aenica-6x and/or 200c or any potency available-is the first remedy of choice in injuries, especially when some shock is attached and there is painful swelling of the soft tissues. In severe cases the remedy may be used every 15 minutes until there is some relief. The symptoms are that the patient feels very sore and achy. There may be bleeding. He feels better lying down with the head lower. He usually feels better when warm; however, cold on contact may give some relief to the aching of the injured spot. He also wants to be left alone.

A combination remedy called traumeel can be tried if aenica does not give relief with an hour or two. It is a combination of several other remedies that are used in injuries with slightly different symptom complexes.

Bryonia is used when the injury develops slowly with swelling and pain. If there is no desire to move or be touched because of exacerbation of the pain and if the area is red and hot, bryonia should be used.

Hypericum is used when nerves are injured or areas are crushed where many nerves exist. It is most often used in finger and toe injuries or for the sharp nerve type pain that follows falling on the tail bone.

Ledum is the remedy of preference where the area is black and blue, e.g., a black eye, or for a bruise discoloration that does not tend to go away. Ledum is also used in insect bites.

Apis is the remedy of choice for bee stings and other insect bites. The symptoms are a red hot feeling and swelling around the bite. It feels better when a cold compress is applied but is aggravated by heat. If the skin feels cold around the bite, then ledum is used.

Arsenicum alba is preferred for diarrhea and symptoms related to food poisoning or over indulgence. There is always a feeling of hopelessness about these patient, and they desire warm drinks. If necessary, the diarrhea can be controlled by the allopathic drug Immodium. However, if there is blood in the stool, see a physician at once.

Next month we will consider a few other simple travel needs.

Dr. Devananda Tandavan, MD, is a member of the American Medical Association, the International College of Surgeons, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the American Federation of Astrologers, the International Reiki Association, the International Center of Homeopathy- and more. Send your questions to Hinduism Today, 107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746 USA.