Don’t be Nervous about these HerbsSean Russell
Stress is a serious issue, bad enough that there are specific classes, degrees, and therapists for stress. Large corporations are even concerned about employees and occupational stress so much that they offer free counseling and hold seminars. I mention stress first here because it is a nervous disorder and that is something new to most people. Other than regular nervousness other nerve disorders would be insomnia, nervous tension, crying, and restlessness. Most of these conditions will be handled a little different and I will explain. Herbs on your body that would be classified as a ‘nervine’ can either: ‘calm the spirit’, ‘anchor the soul’, or relaxes the nervous system. Calming the spirit refers mild settling down, such as a relaxing herbal tea. Honestly most herbs fall into this category although some are stronger than others. I would technically break this up a little bit, but I didn’t make the system. Mild forms of calming the spirit are usually ones that taste and smell great like Chamomile, and more powerful forms would be Valerian. When we refer to ‘anchoring’ the soul these are real powerful herbs that act heavily on your body to put you out. These are considered ‘heavy’ herbs, the anchor is pulling you down, much like you feel when you are in-fact tired. Most of these are actually minerals and should be used with caution and would include Amber and Oyster Shell. Lastly we have herbs that considered mild to medium ‘calming the spirit’ but more importantly calms the nerves and helps relieve stress, Skullcap would be a great pick here. Now, non of these issues should be taken lightly. Stress, insomnia, and tension can affect your performance, focus, and cause tightness and headaches.
Now to hit you with some knowledge. Lets talk about some real winners in the herb department here.
I can’t sleep. I hear this one all the time, but I want to break this down a little bit.
I can’t really get to sleep. Tea is gonna work best here. It is proven that regulating your body temperature you have a better sleep schedule. You don’t even need to buy herbs here, try taking a warm bath 2 hours before bed time and see how that works for you. Back to the tea. We want to employ calmatives here and ones that taste good in a tea. Chamomile, Lavender, and citrus/mint(lemon balm, peppermint) are all good here. Find what taste good for you and go with that just an hour before you want to go to bed.
I have insomnia or can’t stay asleep. Lets move to ‘sedatives’ here. Getting a diagnosis would be best as it would help pick the right herbs, but lets throw something general at you and see if it sticks. Valerian, Skullcap, Suan Zao Ren, Mu Li, and California Poppy would make a great combo here. Valerian and Skullcap are really great sedatives and work as the main herbs. They both are important because depending on the condition one of these may not work for you, but the other will. Suan Zao Ren is a great herb that is becoming popular even to Western Herbalists because Lady’s Slipper heavy use has brought it to near endangerment. Mu Li is oyster shell, and basically what is happening here is you are getting a large dose of Calcium and Magnesium as well as other minerals. Mu Li should be in half the dose as the rest of the herbs. California Poppy brings up the rear with a great ability to repair nerves and sedate pain as well. California poppy also contains no toxins like other poppies may. I would highly suggest this combo be pilled or made into a tincture as it will not taste so great as a drink!
Stress! Most nervines are tonics and this is exactly what we want to do, tonify the nervous system. This means our next formula needs to have Valerian, Lobelia, and Skullcap in it. We have already discussed 2 of these, so whats the deal with Lobelia? Well Lobelia contains lobeline and is known as a smoking replacement as it has similar properties of cigarrettes but without the nicotine. Lobelia is a herbal muscle relaxer and the reason it is important in many formulas. When your body is relaxed it will open up to treatments and allow a greater effect to be made. So we have some tonification and a muscle relaxer, what else? Honestly its up to you, there are lots of great herbs to throw in here, Hops would make a great addition and it seems the world loves hops :)… Pilling this or a tincture would be best and I would recommend the tincture as it would be an easy dosage and the alcohol would act as a stimulant. With some wide variety of herbs in this one I would also recommend Ginger for stimulation and harmonizing this combo.
If in doubt ask, but if nothing else it should help you out when walking down the aisles looking for something.