Summer is right around the corner and with it the promise and glory of travel—particularly as parts of the world are opening up after two (long) years of lockdown.
As exhilarating as the thought of escaping to a fresh place may be, a variety of health issues can arise when you travel. Stress from airport security lines, exposure to new germs, jet lag, sleep disturbances and the mood swings that arrive with them, dietary changes and the digestive issues that might result from them, alterations in your normal regime—all can wreak havoc on your wellness.
While it’s thoroughly possible to stay healthy on vacation—by nourishing yourself wisely while you’re away, refraining from over-imbibing and weaving movement into your daily excursions—herbal supplements can assist with ensuring your trip is as blissful and well-lived as possible.
With that in mind, here are six herbs to consider tossing into your suitcase.
Top Herbs for Travel
A staple of Traditional Chinese Medicine, astragalus is a mighty herb with a host of excellent benefits that’s perfect for “tired and wired” types. Functioning as an adapatogen—substances that naturally support your body’s response to stress—it organically supports immune health, which is critical prior to and while traveling.†
What’s more, it’s rich in antioxidants and promotes liver support and detoxification—an important element to consider when visiting fresh places and dipping into culinary treats that may be new to you. Research also suggests it supports a healthy digestive tract—a boon when air travel, which can in some people cause constipation, is part of your journey.†
Another terrifically effective adaptogen? Rhodiola rosea. Derived from a perennial in the Arctic regions of Asia, Europe and North America, it bounds with beneficial compounds, thanks to its inclusion of rosavins—chemical substances that have been linked to optimal energy. (And when you’re on your first vacation in years? You’ll want all the exuberance you can get.) Additionally, rhodiola organically fosters improved mental and physical performance and may help mitigate stress.†
Ginger ale has long been used to ease a sore stomach—and for a good cause. The primary bioactive compound in ginger is gingerol, which studies have shown can support digestive responsiveness and diminish nausea, rendering this beloved herb a must-add to your valise if you’re prone towards motion sickness. To further make sure you don’t experience nausea or other tummy troubles on your trip? Chew fennel seeds and sip on peppermint tea: Research demonstrates that peppermint has the capacity to decrease the intensity of digestive challenges.
Created from the roots of Piper methysticum—a plant that blooms throughout the islands of the Pacific—kava kava, or kava for short, has an extensive history of use in both traditional health practices and social settings. Why? Because the herb, which has inspired the popularity of kava bars throughout the country, organically facilitates a calmer, more euphoric state of mind. (Think of it as a natural relaxant without the consequences of alcohol.) Particularly valuable for those who experience social anxiety, circumstantial stress and intestines that “act up” during travel, the herb functions through its support of kavalactones—insoluble substances that organically act as a muscle relaxant.†
Melatonin has long been a go-to for frequent flyers, given its ability to encourage sounder and more refreshing sleep. Working with the body’s naturally produced melatonin levels, the herbal supplement helps normalize the body’s natural circadian rhythms. What’s more, it possesses antioxidant properties—which are key to preventing free radical damage (a godsend for those who may be traveling to smoggy cities or sunny shores).†
Suffer from the flight jitters? You’re not alone: Data illustrates that nearly 40 percent of people have a fear of flying. To soothe your pre-travel uneasiness, as well as your nervous system in general, go with lemon balm. The supplement, obtained from an herbaceous plant from the mint family, has a cornucopia of benefits, from naturally support healthy sleep to enhancing relaxation and alleviating temporary headaches. One to try? Oregon’s Wild Harvest Lemon Balm. Free of allergens, it offers that crucial support for your adrenals, helping you travel stress-free—and certifying you have a wonderful vacation.†
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.