The first aid kit I packed to come here in Kerala is the size of a small shoebox. Except for mosquito repellent and cold cream I have yet to use it, and although I should be relieved, I am annoyed. It’s the heaviest part of my luggage and I’ll probably carry it all back home ! A lot of this medication treats tummy-aches and Kerala has a strong system of traditional medicine, Ayurveda, that handles those issues well and without the long tail of potential side effects.
“You were right to take precautions, when traveling you never know where you’re going to land and what you’re going to find. Kerala is rich in water sources and is not at risk for Malaria. But you may want to travel to other parts of India which are less fortunate in those regards.” Dr Sulficker reminded me. Dr Pameela Sulficker is the Ayurvedic doctor here at Cardamom County, she introduces travelers to ayurveda at the Ayura Wellness Center.
“Plus the food here in Kerala is generally very spicy”, she added, “and the difference in our culinary habits, the wide variety of spices, can upset a foreign stomach. As a precaution always ask for the dish you order to be mild. It may take a little time for the stomach to adjust. We provide ayurvedic remedies in a liquid form against constipation, diarrhea, indigestion.”
As for precautions regarding water, I’ve noticed that most guides recommend to drink from closed untampered bottles of mineral water. It seems like such a waste and such a disrespect to the Indians in their fight not to become a throwaway society.
“Boiled water is safe. You can ask for jeera water, water boiled with cumin so it is yellow (see pictures above). It is very good for digestion. Also herbal water, boiled with various herbs that give it a pink color prevents acidity and gas.”
I plan to do some yoga while I am here. Or maybe mohini attam, the traditional Kerala dance, or even go for a course of the local martial arts Kalari. What would you advise ?
“Whatever you do, do not exceed the limits of your body. Be patient and gentle to yourself, give it your 90%. If you feel tension in a muscle, take a break, and start again cautiously. Time and exercise will give you more flexibility and more strength.”
And against mosquito bites I can always use lemongrass…
“Lemongrass? Well it has antimicrobial properties so you can apply it on mosquito bites. But I would not recommend it as a repellent. Just use the mosquito repellent you brought !”