As the cold weather creeps in, retreating inside is inevitable. Also inevitable: more time spent in indoor air makes us more susceptible to whatever bugs might be lurking.

This year, take proactive steps to keep all miserable critters at bay. RT’s resident wellness guru, Jen Musgrove, offers her Top 3 Picks for staying cold and flu free this winter.

Elderberry: As far back as 460 BC, Hippocrates referred to elderberry as his “medicine chest,” owing to the great many health benefits conferred by the brightly colored herb.  One of the oldest medicines on the planet, this natural antiviral and antimicrobial has been shown to shorten duration of cold and flu; in fact, it’s comparable to drugs like Tamiflu for the treatment of flu (with none of the harsh side effects). TRAVEL TIP: If you’re planning to take an airplane this winter, it’s been proven that supplementation with elderberry before, during, and after air travel has beneficial effects on travelers’ health—particularly respiratory health.

Jen likes the Gaia Black Elderberry Syrup for adults and kids.  Use as directed.

Andrographis: Used as a cold remedy since ancient times in both India and China, the powerful andrographis herb is a great tool for squashing colds before they get you. (Unlike elderberry, andrographis is not known to be helpful once you’re in the acute phase of a cold, but does its best work as an immunity-boosting preventative.) Get your andrograghis fix with Kold Kare by Kare N Herbs. Use as directed. (Note: Kold Kare is safe to use with kids; Jen suggests one tablet a day.)

Astragalus: A Chinese herb used medicinally for thousands of years, the Astragalus root’s main claim to fame is its ability to regulate the body’s immune response. Specifically, astragalus boosts white blood cell activity to guard against seasonal colds, viruses and respiratory infections. Classified as an adaptogen, it also protects against mental, physical and emotional stress. (Bonus!) Jen recommends taking Oregon’s Wild Harvest Biodynamic tincture,  and for children, Herbs for Kids Astragalus.

Stay healthy!