This time of the year we do put our body through a little too much … long hours, plenty of stress, too much caffeine, a few too many glass of Christmas cheer and then there are the parties, family get togethers, shopping (with everyone else in your suburb at the same time) and the snacking.
This can be both fun and a little urgh at the same time!
When it comes time for us to have a couple of days off once the Christmas madness has slowed down we can be so run down we end up getting sick – or if we are travelling overseas we may be a little susceptible to getting some “Bali belly” – the last thing you want when you’re away enjoying yourself!
Here are a few things you can add to your "holiday kit" along with your bandaids to support you during this time:
1. SB probiotic - Saccharomyces boulardii (SB) supports gut health and may aid in relief of symptoms of diarrhoea associated with travelling. It discourages the growth of harmful microorganisms, is shelf stable which means it doesn’t need a fridge – perfect when travelling!
2. Killing herbs – this may seem a little harsh but some of the bugs we can pick up when we are travelling aren’t holding anything back on us! For example for viruses, gastro, giardia, worms or parasites there are some herbs that work really well at killing them off – these include Artemisia annua (Chinese wormwood), Berberis vulgaris (Barberry), Phellodendron amurense (Phellodendron), Andrographis paniculata (Andrographis) and Juglans nigra (black walnut) and Zingiber officinale (ginger)
3. Immune support – so you’ve slowed down and now it’s time for a cold to step in – yay (not!) – a liquid herb mix ready to go or a bottle of quality herbs (I love the Bioceuticals Armaforce) is going to help your immune system fight the onset of a cold and reduce the duration of it. Zinc, vitamin C and good probiotic (different to the one mentioned above) are also important for supporting immune health. And if it’s a sore throat you’ve got, which can often come about sharing lovely germs on flights, I am a big fan (and user) of a herbal throat spray from MediHerb
4. Sleep herbs – being wired this time of the year, going to bed at different times and longer days can actually make our sleep quality worse. Herbs such as Kava, Lavender and good old fashioned oats work really well to help lull us into a lovely sleep. As well as taking liquid or tablet herbal preparations there are some great herbal teas out there that work to soothe us - I like Love Tea Organic Calming Tea myself
5. Liver support – our poor little liver this time of the year is working overtime! We are giving it way more work to do than normal – not just with alcohol and foods but also stress can make its life a little unhappy! Including roasted dandelion root tea (a brand I like is called Bonvit and you can get it from a lot of supermarkets) helps support digestive and liver health or putting a herb such as St Mary’s Thistle as part of your pre and post celebration recover could be a good idea
6. Gut lovin – not only is your liver working OT but so is your gut – it may mean you are getting post drinkies diarrhoea or heartburn which is never fun. Some slippery elm (which you can get from a lot of supermarkets or health food stores) in water will work to soothe your whole digestive system (I like to think of it as Aloe Vera for your guts). Having a good bone broth on hand to help soothe and repair the gut and bring in some extra nutrients is an easy way to make food work for you. And when you’re feeling dusty bone broth is good because the flavour isn’t strong and it is easy to get down. My personal favourite and what I stock in clinic is the range from NutraOrganics. For some thoughts on Gut Health please check out this handout I have put together
7. Travel essence – this is a blend of Australia Bush Flowers all designed to help support you with jetlag – all you need to do is add 7 drops to your water bottle on the flight, and take 7 drops under your tongue every hour whilst actually travelling and then twice a day for three days once you have arrived
The holiday season is one we all want to enjoy – sometimes we have a few extra friends (bugs) along for the ride – being a little prepared and having a travel wellness kit prepared can help minimise any sickness you may get.
Please remember that not all herbal extracts are for everyone, so please seek advice from a qualified naturopath (like myself) or a herbal medicine practitioner.