Like many, he knew he would be back on the road, it was a matter of when, not if. She wanted to know, was it safe? Is it right for me and can I make it work given the post-pandemic environment? My decision to get back on the road was based on my health, so before I got the call I knew I had to make the most of my knowledge and preparation to ensure I could travel again with confidence.
I had always held that nutrition and exercise recovery were important parts of what travelers should be doing, and now it was time to step up my own preparations in these areas. As a proponent of good sleep and being able to measure it, I had a few tools at my disposal. The most important thing for me was being able to measure the quality of my sleep, to make sure I was well rested, as I had known since pre-pandemic times that sleep would be disrupted again. The book Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness really rings true to me, they suggest we underperform not because of lack of ability but because of lack of proper recovery. I took it very seriously. I upped my game from my 2-3 weekly runs to 4-5 more commensurate sessions of relaxation, yoga, and stretching.
I was able to measure and monitor my progress through a combination of subjective feelings and apps that I use and recommend to others that I consult within the Travel Wellness space. Then I went back to thinking about what I like to think of as a game changer in terms of wellness for people on the go, adaptogens.
I used adaptogens before the pandemic and will continue to use them. They give me a lot of comfort in what they can help me achieve in terms of preventing any adverse health issues that are particularly relevant in post-pandemic times.
They are Holy Basil, Amla, Rhodiola and Licorice. I zeroed in on these 4 because they were close at hand and I had used them before. Why else did I choose these? Well, they are relatively easy to come by even now in times of COVID. Three are powerful adaptogens in their own right and the fourth is a mild adaptogen with a history of being an antiviral powerhouse. All four, if used therapeutically, have highly adaptogenic and antiviral properties. This was important to me because I wanted the science to back them up. Science says they all work through the HPA axis of the body and have a two-way action in their capabilities. This simply means that they work intelligently in the body and can be taken over a long period of time with increasing benefits. This is the health insurance that I like!
Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, is a powerful antioxidant and antiviral. The reason I take it is because it increases the presence of two powerful antioxidants, superoxide dismutase and superoxide catalase, both of which are useful in helping my body detoxify. The first thing I noticed when I took it at a therapeutic dose was an immediate sense of calm. One great thing about tulsi is that you can find it in tea bags, it travels well and is widely available.
The second adaptogen is Amla, also called Indian Gooseberry. It’s the second-highest fruit in vitamin C and beats my pesky store-bought vitamin C, unless it has accompanying flavonoids like rutin and quercetin. When I couldn’t find the Indian gooseberry, I have been known to use vitamin C, which will give me something of value. Although amla is a mild adaptation, it is an excellent option with proven and documented validity due to the high amount of vitamin C it contains. For me, the trick with vitamin C has been to bring it up to intestinal tolerance levels so that it delivers a therapeutic dose (it may be different for you). This can be awkward at times, but once I did it, I was able to pull back just below that level and still be able to maximize your profits.
The third is Rhodiola, also known as Winter Cherry or Arctic Root. It is excellent for chronic stress and immune depletion. It is a well-researched adaptogen and has significant holistic benefits. It is neuroprotective, hepatoprotective and radioprotective. Radiation protection is very important to us as we travel the world being exposed to more than our fair share of cosmic and non-ionizing radiation. Rhodiola is also known to help reduce fatigue, I love it for this fact alone. As a cooling adaptogen, it is less likely to cause overstimulation and nervousness. The only thing I would say about Rhodiola is that it has quite a strong flavor, if you don’t like consuming it away from food, be careful how much you put in your smoothie or drink as it can alter the flavor.
Finally licorice, I have to be a little careful with this one because high blood pressure runs in my family line so I use it sparingly. I’m not referring to your store-bought sugary confectionery either, I’m referring to licorice root sap. If you don’t have access to licorice sprig, you could probably use the store-bought kind for some of the beneficial aspects of the pure root. However, you want to use a little as you don’t want the sugar to overpower the beneficial effects of its adaptogenic properties. Licorice can be used for adrenal insufficiency, which is also known as adrenal fatigue. This is where licorice comes into play for us travelers, adrenal fatigue is one of those things that challenges frequent flying. Licorice can also be used to balance cortisol levels and is an immunomodulator.
I like to keep things simple so the way I use these adaptogens is, I always take holy basil tea bags with me when I travel, this is my favorite adaptogenic herb and it has not failed me yet. When I’m at home, I tend to have Amla in my smoothie, which can give it a nice flavor, or I combine Amla with rhodiola and licorice to make a hot herbal tea that I can use at home. This means that I always have something boiling hot that I can heat up in the morning and have a nice cup of goodness.
As I waited for that “CALL” to get back on the road, I have an increasing sense of readiness, aliveness and space, even though the stress of not being on the road has shifted in terms of working from home and juggling other priorities. As a post-pandemic travel landscape awaits us, all we can do is build resilience. I hope this has been helpful, this has been my experience with a very good group of adaptogens that have earned a place in my travel wellness toolkit.
Holy Basil – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5376420/
Amla – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21317655