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Herbs for the Nervous System. Are You Tense, Stressed-Out? An Herbal Tea May be the Answer
Stress: A Part of American Life
Stress is an integral part of American life. There are more things to do, than there are hours in the day. Once home, it is sometimes almost impossible to get rid of that tension headache or that knot of muscles between the shoulder blades. This constant tension often leads to the inability to get a restful night's sleep
Sleeping Pills Work but...
Not being able to get a good night"s sleep keeps people from working at their peak efficiency. When seeing the family doctor they are often prescribed sleeping pills like Ambien and Lunesta. They work, but not without side effects. The patient is warned that they can be habit forming and cause things like sleep driving (whewthat is a scary thought). They are also not meant for long term use.
Nature Provides Gentler Alternatives
Herbs have been used for centuries for all manner of health issues, including stress and insomnia. They do not work as fast as prescription medications but gentler with fewer side effects.
The many herbs that target the nervous system are called nervines. The aim of these herbs is to calm and sooth frayed nerves. They are also rich in nutrients that are needed to keep nerves in top working order like calcium, magnesium and the B vitamins. Unlike prescription medications which work quickly, the nervines gently restore the nervous system to health over an extended time span. Herbs do their work slowly over time to restore balance to an unsettled inner self.
Herbal Medicine vs Prescription Medicine
Prescription medicine has it's place. When relief is needed quickly, prescription or over the counter medicines is the way to go. They work quickly and effectively to relief pain and inflammation. Herbs work must more slowly. The aim of herbs is to calm the nervous system while restoring it to health. A healthy nervous system can handle more stress than a worn out and over worked one. Prescription medications cover the problem, while herbs tone and nourish to help our bodies deal with stress.
Herbs That Work on the Nervous System
Herbs that work on the nervous system are known as nervins. They are divided into three catagories.
- Herbs that act as a tonic to restore the nervous system to health
- Herbs that act as sedatives to relax and help promote sleep
- Herbs that help invigorate the nervous system without the harsh ups and downs caused by the likes of caffeine and sugar
Tonic herbs for the nervous system are used to strengthen and tone the nerves. These herbs are usually high in nutrients, especially calcium and magnesium. Both of these minerals are essential for nerve function. They are also high in some of the B vitamins, also important for nerve health and memory.
Some of the Tonic Herbs
This is a list of herbs that are usually found in an nerve tonic. They include:
- Chamomile-Anthemis nobilis
- oat straw-Aena sativa
- Skullcap-Scutellaria lateriflori
- Valerian-Valarian officinalis
- Wood Betony-Betonica officinalis
Herbs That work as Sedatives
Nerves that act as sedatives do so by relaxing the entire nervous system, easing tension, reducing pain and inflammation and helping the body to relax and go to sleep. Prescription and OTC medications work by deadening the nerve endings. Herbs on the other hand, although pharmacoldynamically extremely potent, work by soothing the and relaxing the peripheral nerves and muscle tissues. Many of these herbs are also considered to be anti-spasmodic. That is they help in the relief of muscle spasms and cramping. Muscle pain can be a result of excess tension.
The Sedative Herbs
Many of these herbs are found in teas that are targeted to relieve insomnia. They include:
- California Poppy-Eschscholzia-california
- Catnip- Nepeta cataria
- Cramp Bark-Viburnum opulus
- Hops-Humulu lupulus
- Lemon Balm-Melissa officinalis
- Lobelia-Lobelia inflate
- Passion Flower-Passiflora incarnate
- Scullcap-Scutellaria lateriflora
- St. John’s Wort-Hypericum perforatum
- Valerian-Valerian officinalis
Herbs that Work as Stimulants
Although there are many herbs that are considered nerve stimulants. Rather than the zoltsof energy that come from coffee, caffeine, chocolate and sugar, herbs gently add the spark often needed to finish the race. These stimulating herbs work by activating the nerve endings by increasing circulation, providing nutrition and by increasing vitality and the zip needed in a hectic life. These herbs gently awaken and revitalize a worn outnnervous system.
Herbs That Add Pep to Your Step
Stimulating herbs include:
Cayenne pepper-Capsicum annuum
Chinese ginseng-Panax ginseng
Gotu Kola-Centella asiaticaGotu kola Centella asiatica -
Peppermint Mentha × piperita,-
Siberian Eleutherococcus sinticosus
Spirulina Arthrospira platensis, and Arthrospira maxima-