What is Altitude Sickness?
It is also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), altitude illness, hypobaropathy, “the altitude bends”, or soroche. It commonly occurs above 2,400 meters (8,000 feet). Here are some common symptoms of Altitude Sickness – headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite, upset stomach, feeling unsteady, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping, generally feeling unwell, double vision etc..
8 Natural Remedies for Altitude Sickness
- Before Travel or Hike: In a pot of boiling water, steep Cloves, Allspice (Jamaica pepper), Bay Leaf, Celery Seed, Cinnamon and Marjoram in quantities to taste. Mix in the following mints: Basil, Savory and Thyme. Should be taken in advance of anticipated travel or hike.
- Chinese Herbs to Prevent Altitude Sickness: Also known as ling-zhi or Ganoderma lucidum. Used for over 4,000 years in China, Japan, and Korea, reishi mushroom has traditionally been taken as a calming tonic in old age. It is taken by Chinese mountaineers to help prevent altitude sickness.
- Protect Central Nervous System: Harvested from the world’s oldest surviving tree, ginkgo leaf extracts have been shown to markedly improve blood flow through the arteries in the brain, to protect the central nervous system from oxidative damage, and to enhance mental recall and ability in healthy adults. Ginkgo stimulates blood flow throughout the body, from the head to the hands and feet. Hence can help with weak circulation, including altitude sickness, low blood pressure, Raynaud’s syndrome, and intermittent claudication.
- Remedy to Stress and Dehydration: Golden root is also known as Arctic root or Rhodiola rosea. Found in mountainous regions and tundra as far north as the Arctic, golden root has benefits similar in many ways to ginseng. A key remedy for long-term stress and physical and mental fatigue, it supports the body’s stress response. Golden root can be taken to prevent altitude sickness.
- Reduce Headache: High altitude can aggravate headache. It gets worse when you move your body and subsides when you rest. This headache is frequently associated with dehydration, especially if you have just gone to a higher altitude. If dehydration has occurred, make some homemade dextrose saline: Mix 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and about 10 drops of lime juice in a pint of water and drink it. The moment the dehydration is corrected, a headache will disappear or at least be greatly reduced.
- Hyperventilation – Quick Breathing: Hyperventilation is act of breathing more quickly and deeply than normal, and which causes excessive loss of carbon dioxide from the blood. This can lead to alkalosis (an increase in blood alkalinity). It can occur at high altitudes, as a result of heavy exercise, during panic attacks. Take Aconite every 5 minutes for up to six doses in an acute attack. OR A relaxing blend of essential oils of lavender, geranium, and bergamot in sweet almond oil or peach kernel oil may be used in the bath at times of great stress and anxiety.
- Get More Oxygen: Oxygen can be used for mild to moderate AMS below 3,700 m. You can get small oxygen cans from convenient store which provides approximately 120 to 150 inhalations.
- Folk Remedy: A tea made from the coca plant can be used as folk remedy.
Caution: Severe altitude sickness is a medical emergency. Someone with severe symptoms should immediately descend to a low altitude and seek medical help.