This Weird Natural Remedy Saved Our Family Vacation

It was one of those stomach bugs that threatened to destroy a family trip. It had started in the early morning hours as I got ready for work. I ignored the nausea, blaming tea on an empty stomach. I ignored the cold sweat, blaming rushing around to get out the door. I ignored the exhaustion, blaming the fact that I can’t seem to get to bed before midnight and my alarm goes off at 6 a.m. After all, when wasn’t I exhausted? By noon, it was clear ignoring my ailments wasn’t doing the trick. There was no way around it: I was getting sick.

I called my nurse practitioner who confirmed there was a nasty bug going around and I should wait it out and hope for the best. “Fluids and rest,” she advised.


Our bags were packed. The hotel room was reserved. The kids were excited. With 24 hours to go, I was willing to try anything to get rid of whatever was attacking my internal organs. In desperation, I called my sister, an RN and homeopathic treatment advocate.

While I’m not a complete skeptic, my eyes usually glaze over when she talks about essential oils, bone broth, and leaky gut syndrome. I’m of the “Give me an aspirin and lavender oil” sort of gal. My kids wore amber teething necklaces and had gums liberally laced with numbing ointment. They take Dramamine for motion sickness and sip iced ginger tea during the trip.

I knew fluids and rest were only going to get me so far — and not nearly as far as I needed to go.

“What do I do?” I asked my sister, as nausea threatened to turn into something more, forcing me to leave work early.

“I have some oils that should help with some of the symptoms.” I stopped by her house on my way home. She handed me a small vial containing peppermint, ginger, and cardamom oils. A quick Internet chat with another homeopathic-minded friend had me stopping at the natural store and picking up activated charcoal tablets.

Armed with both, I went home. I drank a big glass of water, took the tablets, rubbed the oil on my stomach, and promptly fell asleep. I woke three hours later, took more charcoal tablets, rubbed more oil on my stomach, and realized, with some surprise, I was feeling ever-so-slightly better.

I repeated every few hours for the rest of the evening. I woke the next morning feeling, if not completely better, well enough to get in the car for five hours. By the time dinner hit, I was completely fine.

I’m not sure if it was a stomach bug or perhaps something I ate. What I am sure of is that I won’t tune out when my sister talks about essential oils and will make sure my medicine cabinet contains activated charcoal.

What odd remedies have you discovered actually work?