In the last couple of years, herbs have become an integral part of my daily routine, so when I forget to take them, my day feels incomplete. When I take a business trip or go on vacation, my herbs come with me. In addition to the formulas that are part of my morning and evening routines, I also pack a few single liquid herbal extracts to provide support for whatever might happen during my time away from home.* I love using single extracts because they allow me to have an organoleptic (aka sensory) experience with my herbs. As a plant-based chef, I like tasting and smelling the herbs. Today we're sharing our top eight herbs for travel. Did yours make the list?
Confession: This was one of the most challenging pieces I've written for Gaia. In narrowing down the list for this blog, our Education & Communications Manager, Alison, and I felt like we were being asked to choose our favorite (fur) child. When we travel, we each take a lot of herbs with us. We're both planners, and it's no secret that we're big fans of plants. (We work for Gaia, after all!) After a whole lot of deliberation and debate - as well as some tasting and sampling - we whittled our list to the eight herbs shared here. (They're shared in alphabetical order so as to not reveal our personal biases.)
We're also sharing an herbal "key" to help you learn a bit about the groups of herbs we're mentioning today and how they support the body.*
Adaptogen: supports your body's natural ability to adapt to stress*
Carminative: supports healthy digestion, by naturally facilitating and eliminating gas*
Hypoglycement: supports healthy blood sugar levels*
Nervine: supports nervous system health*
Helps maintain normal blood sugar* Type of herb: hypoglycement Historical use: Cinnamon helps support a healthy glycemic balance by supporting healthy blood sugar metabolism.* The herb, which is a warming digestive aid, supports the occasional feeling of fullness within the stomach.* Real-life situation: After indulging in a flight of cupcakes. Mix with water or a tea with complimentary flavors, such as our Gas & Bloating Tea.
Promotes healthy energy and stamina* Type of herb: stimulating adaptogen Historical use: Eleuthero enhances the body's natural ability to adapt to stress, while supporting mental endurance and metabolic efficiency.* Real-life situation: A hiking trip through Yellowstone National Park. Add to your water bottle or a thermos of hot apple cider.
Supports healthy digestion* Type of herb: carminative Historical use: Ginger has long been used as a circulatory tonic and warming agent.* It provides support for occasional nausea and supports a healthy inflammatory response in the body.* Real-life situation: A bumpy ride on one of Central America's "chicken buses." It's delicious in water, sparkling water, juice and tea.
Supports a healthy response to stress* Type of herb: grounding adaptogen Historical use: Holy Basil supports a healthy response to stress, while nourishing the mind and elevating the spirit.* It allows you to focus on what needs to be done, without feeling the internal pressure that can often overwhelm us.* Real-life situation: A presentation to a room full of magazine editors. Add to your water bottle to keep you "in the eye of the hurricane."*
Type of herb: nervine Historical use: Lemon Balm provides a sense of balance for the nervous system while it supports the immune system.* The herb also provides comfort for occasional digestive distress.* Real-life situation: Trying to power through writing a report in the middle of an airport. It's delicious in green tea, hot or iced!
Supports the nervous system and promotes calm and relaxation* Type of herb: nervine Historical use: Passionflower has been widely used to promote calm and restfulness.* Well-known to traditional herbalists as a nutritive tonic for the nervous system, Passionflower provides support for the body during occasional times of stress and works to replenish the nervous system back to health.* Real-life situation: At the end of a long day of travel. Mix it with a bit of water - it tastes great!
Supports digestive health* Type of herb: carminative Historical use: Fresh and cooling, Peppermint has long been used to promote healthy functions of the digestive system.* It provides support for occasional gas and bloating after meals.* Real-life situation: After a decadent multi-course dinner. Add to water or any herbal tea for a refreshing twist.
Type of herb: nervine Historical use: American Skullcap, long revered in Western botanical medicine, helps your nervous system replenish itself. It enables your body to stay strong, so you do not let your nerves get the best of you.* Real-life situation: In between client meetings when you're on the road. Add to your tea or sparkling water.
Pro Tip: Herbal extracts are small enough that you don't need to check them when you fly. Simply pack them in a quart-size bag with your other liquids, and you're ready to go!