Traveling during cold and flu season and during one of the coldest conditions ever in the East Coast means getting prepared to keep your body as healthy as possible. I’m from the West Coast but love the East Coast and just happened to visit both New York City and Washington, D.C. in mid-January, 2013 when both were experiencing their coldest weather conditions in two years.
I was prepared on most levels to meet the weather conditions. But the biting cold was still a shock to my system. My down coats, gloves, wool scarf around my month and throat and winter boots with double thermal socks were perfect to keep me warm and cozy. While the outside was covered up and ready I was most concerned with keeping the inside safe and germ free.
Before leaving I stopped by the health food store to stock up on natural supplements to help fight flu and colds. Here are three that I found particularly helpful and effective.
1. Elderberry Liquid Extract. According to Herb Wisdom, Elderberry is known for its antioxidant activity and ability to fight the effects of coughs , flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. It is also good to lower cholesterol, improve vision, and boost the immune system. It might not taste delicious but don’t let that stop you from taking this herb to boost your immune system. I take a dropper full straight up but it can be put into your herb tea to be more palatable. The liquid form gets into the system quicker than pill form to start its beneficial effects.
2. Sambucus Black Elderberry Lozenges. Another form of the Elderberry herb, these in lozenge form can easily be carried with you to dissolve slowly in your mouth no matter where you are. If you are traveling by plane to your destination you can put them in your purse or carry-on without having to worry about the liquid content during flight check-ins. The content is 100% Elderberry with some natural sweeteners added.
3. Echinacea Complex. Echinacea is a well-known antibiotic and immune system enhancer that has been used for a range of disease from cancer to inflections. It helps strengthen the immune system to fight colds and flus. Research to date shows that echinacea won’t prevent a cold or flu and is best used to help treat these symptoms.
This information coincides with what I learned from my health store manager. That is, Echinacea helps after the infection has entered the body while Elderberry is best to build the immune system to prevent exposure to viral and bacterial infections. Used together the body has more protective qualities to fight these diseases.
Overall, my experience with these herbs was positive as they got me through rapidly changing weather conditions that went from approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit to less than 17 degrees with a wind chill factor that made it feel like 4 degrees overnight. If you are looking for ways to have some natural defenses against the onslaught of cold and flu consider these recommendations. As with all herbs and natural supplements, you should check with your doctor before using them.