The 5-Ingredient Shot To Take Before Every Flight (Or Whenever You're Feeling Sick)

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Sometimes it feels like traveling and getting sick go hand in hand. It is true that just getting on a plane exposes you to a bunch of new germs while sleep deprivation and stress—which often accompany travel—can leave your body vulnerable to pesky colds and the flu, especially at this time of year.

But before you freak out, don't freak out. All you need is a pre- and post-travel wellness action plan to supercharge your immune system and help you fend off those pesky microbes. Then, you know you've done what you can and you can leave the rest up to fate.

How to create a pre-travel action plan.

A probiotic, magnesium, and adaptogenic mushrooms (particularly chaga and turkey tail) are all functional medicine go-to supplements to bring with you on a trip. Elderberry is another great herb to take before you travel. Also known as Sambucus nigra, elderberry is high in vitamin C and other important nutrients like vitamin A, potassium, iron, B6, fiber, and beta-carotene and has some important immune-protecting properties. According to Aviva Romm, M.D., an herbalist, integrative medicine doctor, and mindbodygreen Collective member, elderberry is one of the six herbs she recommends during flu season. "This is my go-to herb for early signs of flu. Studies have shown that elderberry extract can significantly shorten the duration of influenza while lowering the need for medication, when compared with placebo," she wrote.

The elderberry shot that's perfect for your next trip.

Because of its vitamin- and mineral-packed nutrient profile, elderberry is quickly gaining steam in the wellness world as a go-to ingredient for immune health. And while you can take elderberry in a supplement capsule, there are far more interesting (and delicious!) ways to take it. Quite a few brands are selling elderberry cough syrup and products like these Nature's Way organic Elderberry Zinc Lozenges, $4.39, and these Zarbee's Naturals Children's Elderberry Immune Support Gummies, $7.69.

Pressed Juicery, however, just took things to a new level by creating an Elderberry Shot, $2.95, that's definitely worth sharing. For starters, it has five simple ingredients—cloves, cinnamon, lemon, elderberry, and honey—and is small enough to get through TSA and shoot back right before takeoff. It also tastes amazing. It's sweet, tangy, and just a little bit spicy. Cinnamon is known for its blood-sugar-balancing effects, lemon is a decent source of vitamin C, and cloves are used often in ayurvedic medicine for their antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, and analgesic properties. Honey is also a superstar ingredient for the immune system, and according to the National Institutes of Health, "Research suggests that buckwheat honey is superior to placebo for reducing frequency of cough, reducing cough, and improving quality of sleep for children with the common cold."

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How to make an elderberry shot at home.

If you're not in one of the states with a Pressed Juicery, don't fret. You can make your own version of this elderberry shot right at home with the following recipe, which makes about three shots.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 3 teaspoons black elderberry syrup (like this one from Gaia Herbs)
  • 8 ounces of water

Method:

  1. Heat 8 ounces of water on the stove until steam is rising from the pot. Remove from heat.
  2. Add cinnamon, cloves, honey, and elderberry syrup and stir until the honey and syrup are fully incorporated. Cover and let sit until totally cooled.
  3. Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves with a fork or spoon and add lemon juice. Store in bridge in an airtight container and drink chilled.

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