The Day-Tripper’s Satchel: 8 Essential Ayurvedic Supplies from Grandma’s Purse
Getting sick is always a drag, but getting sick while away from home is especially uncomfortable. To maintain optimal vitality while out and about, Ayurveda teaches us to watch for the early signs of discomfort and skillfully nip them in the bud.
Because unexpected health irritations can arise at any time, it’s beneficial to be prepared with simple Ayurvedic tools you can carry with you.
This brings to mind Ayurveda’s proverbial “Grandmother’s Purse”—a precious bag which held the essential healing spices and herbs for the household; a transportable home medicine cabinet filled with everything needed to waylay sickness and maintain health.
Although this practice has greatly diminished over the ages, I believe it is time for it to be revived and renewed for modern practitioners of Ayurveda. So with that, let’s humble ourselves before the old wisdom-keepers and dig into grandma’s purse!
Prepared for Health: Anytime, Anywhere
A thorough approach to health and wellness includes a comprehensive toolkit of dosha-balancing diet, lifestyle, and self-care practices. Yet, simple herbs, spices, and teas can be carried with you anywhere and used as a first response to minor discomforts and complaints.
The following list of goodies is not as comprehensive as an Ayurvedic home medicine cabinet or a self-care kit for travel. But these powerhouse substances are easy to carry with you every day to quickly support healthy digestion, respiration, immunity, and emotional well-being.
This is my day-tripper’s version of grandma’s purse. (The Harry Potter fan in me thinks of it a bit like the Undetectable Extension Charm on Hermione’s purse—if you know, you know!)
How to Equip Your Day Bag
So, what’s in your purse or backpack right now? Wallet, keys, phone, sunglasses? Chapstick, breath mints, tissues, tampons, condoms, hair ties?
Time to uplevel your day bag with a few time-tested Ayurvedic tools!
Use a small, sealable container to carry tea bags and herbal tablets so they’re easy to access from your bag. I actually keep my day bag supplies in an old Turmeric tablet bottle—cheers to upcycling!
A thermos of warm water can be used for hydrating, taking tablets, and even gargling. If you need to steep tea on the go, just fill up your thermos with hot water at a restaurant, gas station, or cafe.
8 Ayurvedic Tools Your Grandmother Would Approve Of
1. Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Tulsi is celebrated for its many health-promoting benefits and considered one of the most sattvic herbs in the Ayurvedic cornucopia. Warming in nature, this Ayurvedic favorite supports healthy lungs and respiration, aids in circulation, and supports metabolic function.
Tulsi is even said to enhance mental clarity and promote a sense of calm, making it a wonderful choice when you’re experiencing elevated stress, grief, or heartbreak.
- Tip: Stash several tulsi tablets and teabags in your satchel to use whenever you feel a bit “off,” or excess stress beginning to rise.
- Note: Avoid when pregnant, overheated, or dealing with elevated pitta dosha.
2. Roasted Fennel Seeds
Chewing roasted fennel seeds is an easy and delicious way to support fresh breath, strengthen agni, and promote balanced digestion. Perfect for when you’re away from home, fennel seeds are a tridoshic favorite for anyone and everyone dealing with digestive complaints.
After eating, chew on a half teaspoon of roasted seeds for about five minutes, swallowing the juice as you chew (it’s okay to swallow the seeds too, but you can spit them out if you prefer).
- Tip: To make your own, dry-roast your fennel seeds over medium heat for about 3–5 minutes or until their aroma is released. Cool and store in a glass container. Put several teaspoons worth in a sealable bag or lightweight jar to keep in your day bag.
3. Himalayan Rock Salt
As a busy teacher interfacing with students and fellow travelers, I swear by this technique for maintaining strong immunity.
- Tip: Keep a tablespoon of rock salt in a sealable container in your day bag. When needed, dissolve ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt in one cup of warm water and gargle for 30 to 60 seconds. For added benefit, mix ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder into your salt gargle.
- Note: Avoid if you have a throat infection or salt sensitivity.
4. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is well-known for its calming and harmonizing qualities. Famous for its ability to support a good night’s sleep, chamomile is an equally wonderful ally during stressful days.
Ayurveda also traditionally uses chamomile to support comfortable menstruation, ease discomfort in the muscles, and support a healthy immune system.
This aromatic herbal tonic benefits all three doshas, giving it a well-deserved spot in the day-tripper’s bag.
- Tip: Stash a few tea bags to use when feeling anxiousness, frustration, or weariness.
- Note: Avoid during pregnancy.
5. CCF Tea
CCF Tea, made with cumin, coriander, and fennel, is an Ayurvedic classic for supporting healthy digestion. Renowned for a plethora of benefits, CCF is commonly used to soothe digestive imbalance and promote a comfortable post-meal experience.
CCF is gentle and effective for all three doshas. When dry-roasted and steeped in hot water, these three aromatic seeds produce a nutty-flavored tea that can be enjoyed any time of day to support comfortable digestion.
- Tip: For ease, consider steeping CCF tea in a thermos ahead of time to carry with you during the day.
You don’t need caffeine to stay alert and bright during busy days or long car rides. For thousands of years, Ayurveda has used the power of aromatic essential oils to safely and effectively bring balance to the mind and emotions.
I always have at least one essential oil with me, depending on my mood. When packing your day bag, choose awakening or relaxing aromas as needed.
- Eucalyptus, mint, and citrus are invigorating when feeling foggy-headed (best for kapha).
- Sweet aromas like rose, geranium, and lily work well to soothe a stressed or exhausted mind (for vata and pitta).
- Lavender and sandalwood are tri-doshic and great choices for almost any circumstance.
- Tip: Carry a pocket aromatherapy inhaler in your satchel and take a few deep whiffs as needed. You can make your own by soaking a cotton swab in essential oils and protecting it within a plastic cover. Easy to sniff and spill-free, I keep one at my desk, one in my purse, and one in the car.
- Note: Avoid if sensitive or allergic to scent.
7. Herbs for Digestion & Elimination
You never know when a little extra support will come in handy. Luckily, Banyan offers herbal tablets for each dosha that are easy to keep on hand so you always have what you need to feel comfortable—wherever you are.
Talk with your Ayurvedic practitioner to identify which of the following formulas to favor. And of course, there are loads of other Ayurvedic herbs and spices to choose from for a more personalized approach:
- Triphala: tridoshic formula for supporting digestion and elimination.
- Vata Digest: warming herbs to support calm and comfortable digestion.
- Pitta Digest: cooling herbs to soothe and calm an overly-fiery digestive tract.
- Kapha Digest: a warm, peppery blend to enkindle sluggish digestion.
8. The Unpackable
Finally, my favorite Ayurvedic tips for balance when away from home are the non-material self-care techniques we carry with us all the time. These are the tools for self-soothing and self-regulation, such as mindful eating, breathing practices, presence of mind, and silent reflection.
Wherever your own nuggets of internal wisdom come from, hold them in high regard and keep them with you! And keep gathering Ayurvedic techniques for self-care—the possibilities for what might go into your version of ‘grandmother’s purse’ are boundless.
Wherever you go and whatever obstacles arise in your path, may the strength of the grandmothers be with you and may your day tripper’s satchel help you thrive!