Altitude Sickness

It can happen.

Altitude sickness is the most common side effect of high altitude travel and can be minimized by taking it easy the first couple days you arrive. The Project World School  team has taken this into account as we’ve planned for the first few days of the retreat.

High altitudes can cause symptoms like headache, nausea, weakness and trouble sleeping.  At higher altitudes the amount of oxygen mixed into the air is less. This drop in the amount of available oxygen can affect the heart, muscles, lungs and nervous system. It can affect anyone, even those in fantastic physical condition. After one to five days the body will begin to adjust and altitude sickness will subside naturally.


In the Andes, it is traditional to chew coca leaves and drink it as a tea. There will be coca tea available throughout the entire retreat as it definitely helps with overcoming issues surrounding the altitude. In addition, it is recommended that you consume a lot of water during the first few days upon arrival. Be prepared to move slower, and we will take this into consideration with the first few days of scheduling.

If you wish to explore a herbal route before you arrive in Peru for the retreat, the list below is a suggestion of herbs to explore and certainly not a prescription. Remember, the idea is to oxygenate the blood – explore other supplements and means of getting more oxygen into the blood. The air is thinner at higher altitudes and supplements that can help the body oxygenate are beneficial. Consult your physician and do your own research.


Ginkgo helps improve circulation and therefore helps improve the body’s tolerance to low levels of oxygen. Scientific studies have confirmed these results in humans. Take 120 to 150 milligrams daily. These are usually in the form of capsules. Although not common, side effects are possible. These include headaches and upset stomach.


This is an ancient Chinese remedy that helps to improve oxygenation to the blood. Take up to 1,000 milligrams in capsule form each day or two teaspoons of tincture three times per day. Herbalists suggest you take the dosage while at a higher elevation and continue taking it for several days after.


Ginseng has been shown to help improve blood oxygenation and respiratory function. It is also used in treating asthma and bronchitis. Take up to four 500-milligram capsules daily while symptoms persist. Do not combine ginseng with caffeine, antidepressants or blood thinners, and do not use if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure.

Siberian Ginseng

Well known as a tonic herb, Siberian ginseng helps improve overall health when taken long-term. Begin taking a few days before ascending for maximum effect. Take up to nine 500 milligram capsules per day or up to 20 drops of tincture up to three times per day.


Ginger is an old cure used for nausea. It can be used for altitude sickness as well as motion sickness. It comes in various forms such as tea, tincture, capsules or raw. Take up to eight 500 milligram capsules daily or ½ to 1 teaspoon of ground root per day or 10 to 20 drops of tincture per day. Dilute tincture in water to drink. Do not take ginger if you have gallbladder disease.


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