For many parts of the world, life is returning to normal. Schools are reopening, concerts are being scheduled, and vacations are resuming. But that doesn’t mean that the COVID-19 pandemic is magically gone, and that we can all throw caution to the wind! This powerful virus still presents a threat to our immune systems- systems that have likely been stunted from a year spent in indoor isolation. As you consider making your summer plans, it’s a great idea to take some of your pandemic survival skills with you, particularly when it comes to immune support!
Traveling, especially on airplanes, buses, trains, and other tightly-packed transit, has always presented an immunological challenge. We’re in close quarters with dozens, if not hundreds, of other people, exposed to all sorts of viruses and bacteria that we normally wouldn’t see. It wasn’t until this COVID-19 pandemic that the majority of us began to realize the importance of protecting our health. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do, to boost your immune system before you travel, and during your trip too!
Supporting Your Immune System Naturally
And this brings up an important point! Our bodies are beautifully designed to handle a huge variety of pathogens, and we never want to take anything that would blunt the immune response. Many over-the-counter medications and even supplements, end up working against the body and its inherent wisdom. This is why it’s critical to only choose the most natural, pure herbal supplements, when trying to support your immunity. The right herbs will work alongside your body, boosting various aspects of the immune response, to give you natural protection against germs.
But before you invest in the best supplements for the immune system, don’t forget to keep up the great habits you’ve probably developed throughout the pandemic. Good lifestyle habits are the best way to keep your immunity strong. So, in addition to targeted supplementation, make sure you continue:
- Washing your hands regularly
- Getting enough sleep and rest every day
- Avoiding highly sugary, processed foods
- Spending time outside in the sun and fresh air
- Moving your body every day
- Eating a healthy diet of fresh, whole foods
Even if you are doing fantastic at the things mentioned above, traveling can often mess with our schedules and routines. This is one of the reasons why so many people fail to stay healthy when traveling, besides the mere exposure to more germs, and is why the right immune system herbs can be priceless!
Here are 3 of our favorite herbal supplements for a healthy immune system, before, during, and after your travels:
One of the most revered medicines for the immune system, the berries of the European elder (black elderberry, Sambucus nigra) are packed with antioxidants and anthocyanins. They are reported to have antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects, and are often used to prevent things like the common cold and flu. This plant medicine has a particular affinity for the respiratory system, and may be a great preventative supplement for viruses like COVID-19, which affect the lungs and breathing. Elderberry may also have positive effects on the digestive system, for pain relief, and for overall disease prevention.
Most of the time, you'll find this supplement as elderberry syrup or tincture, which makes it easy (and delicious!) to reap the benefits of elderberry. Elderberry supplements have become a staple in many households, and for good reason! It’s simple to take, blends well with many other herbs, and tastes yummy too.
Elderberry Comfort is an organic, alcohol-free blend of elderberry extract, Reishi mushroom, and lemon balm. Add this tincture to water or juice, or take it straight under the tongue for viral prevention that you can feel good about.
Mushrooms are some of the most powerful immunomodulators on the planet, and Reishi stands out as the “king of mushrooms” for good reason. This has been used as a health tonic throughout Asia for hundreds of years, and while it has several benefits (cancer prevention, heart health, anti-aging), it is most known for its effects on immune function. Reishi, Ganoderma lucidum, is an edible fungus that has shown supportive effects on the number and functioning of the lymphocytes, aka white blood cells. These are the cells most responsible for fighting off infections in our bodies.
Reishi mushrooms are not typically eaten in culinary style, like portobellos or shitakes would, but are most often extracted or made into powders. This allows for all the active components to be easily absorbed and utilized, and makes it simple to get a high enough dose to be effective, particularly when your body is under threat from a virus like COVID-19.
Our Botanicals Reishi extract is an alcohol-free liquid supplement, easy to pack with you for your travels.
3. Oregon Grape
While medicinal mushrooms like Reishi and herbs like elderberry seem to get a lot of press when it comes to immune support, there are plenty of underrated plants like Oregon grape root that shouldn’t be overlooked. This is a shrub native to the Nothern American West region, and has been used as medicine by many tribes throughout the area. The root of this plant has been shown to help the body fight off a myriad of infections, including viruses and bacteria, as well as yeasts like Candida and other fungi. Oregon grape is part of a family of plants high in a particular alkaloid called berberine, which is known for being “nature’s antibiotics.” You’ll see a hint to this in Oregon grape’s Latin name- Berberis aquifolium.
Not only has Oregon grape root been shown to inhibit viruses, bacteria, and fungi, but also parasites and protozoa as well. Plus, it has powerful antioxidant levels, can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and clear up skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. It is best to take Oregon grape root as a whole plant tincture, as this is the best way to extract the valuable medicine.
Our Botanicals makes a wonderful Oregon grape liquid extract that is simple to add to water or juice, or straight under the tongue. It packs a punch, when you want the best immune support supplements on hand when traveling.
Your Herbal Travel Kit
Whether you are looking to boost your immune system before you travel, or want peace of mind as you’re out and about, these three herbal extracts fit the bill. You can take each separately, as needed, or combine them if you’re going to be in an area of high exposure to COVID-19 or other pathogens.
Because these supplements can stimulate the immune system, it’s best to take them for short periods (no more than 3 weeks at a time), with breaks in between (breaks of at least 10 days). It’s also best to talk to your healthcare provider first, if you have an autoimmune condition.
There are many choices on the market today, when it comes to supplements for the immune system, and plenty of resources out there on things like the benefits of elderberry. However, it’s important to use your judgment when choosing your dietary supplements, and go with a company that you can trust. Look for products made with wildcrafted, organic, and consciously-cultivated herbs, and those without tons of additives, fillers, or sweeteners.
No matter where life takes you next, especially in the era of COVID, you should have a few essentials for supporting the immune system in your bag. With these three options, you can feel more confident, being out in the world again.