By Rustina, Contributing Writer
Does life feel like it’s getting your knickers in a bundle every other minute? My day is going that way – ever-changing plans, vehicle breaking down, reminders of lost loved ones, and I don’t want to even consider what tomorrow might bring. The phone rings, and I have an internal debate if I even want to reach for it. My nerves are on high alert.
I try to do some simple things to reduce the stress, but there are ways to directly calm the nerves too. When our nervous system is constantly triggered, it can cause a lot of issues ranging from high blood pressure to metabolic issues and renal control (1). Learning to calm the nervous system is a very important job.
What is a Nervine?
Nervines are substances that directly affect the central nervous system so your nerves can calm and relax. You may have heard about adaptogens before. Those are similar to nervines, and they work in tandem together well.
Nervines are also adaptogens, but not all adaptogens are nervines. Adaptogens help the body respond to overall stress. That may be calming nerves or it could also be increasing the body’s ability to handle cortisol, fatigue, depression, or many other factors in the body.
5 Herbs that are Nervines (and How to use them)
Lemon Balm is a gentle herb that’s appropriate for use in children and adults. It boosts moods, relieves nervous fatigue, restlessness in the body, helps cognitive functions, and can even relieve indigestion that often pops up during times of elevated nervous system activity (2).
You can learn more and find idea for using it in our Herbal Profile: Lemon Balm
My favorite way to use lemon balm is in water with other mints, cucumber, and berries. This wonderfully scented herb is easy to add to food, tea, or other drinks like homemade kombucha. When I want a higher amount of lemon balm and a bit quicker, I take Earthley’s Greens Capsules (it is available as a loose powder for smoothies and other recipes also). It is a safe and gentle herb to use for children or adults.
It has been used to support, restore and tone the nervous system (3). In that study, Chinese skullcap has been found to help reduce damage in the neural cells from things like oxidative stress and inflammation making it very helpful against neurodegenerative diseases.
You can learn more and find idea for using it in our Herbal Profile: Skullcap
My favorite ways to use skullcap are teas and tinctures. When I want a higher amount and a bit quicker, I take Earthley’s Sleepy Time is a combination of three powerful yet gentle herbs including catnip (an adaptogen) that promotes restful sleep and peaceful nights. This herbal tincture is the perfect natural solution for the whole family.
This simple and common herb is a well known nervine. Even in cartoons and children’s books like The Tales of Peter Rabbit use chamomile tea after scary events. It can be used in teas, extracts, syrup additions, lotions, anything really – even eye and nasal washes. It is gentle and safe for the whole family. There has been research into using its neuroprotective properties for reducing the oxidative stress when exposed to fluoride and other toxins (4).
You can learn more and find idea for using it in our Herbal Profile: Chamomile
My favorite ways to use chamomile are teas and tinctures. When I want a higher amount and a bit quicker, I take Earthley’s Sleepy Time is a combination of three powerful yet gentle herbs that promote restful sleep and peaceful nights. This herbal tincture is the perfect natural solution for the whole family.
This herb is a powerhouse of calming nerves and muscle tension, as well as restoring the body and muscles from fatigue (5). Many people have found great help to improve their lives with this herb.
However, it shouldn’t be used excessively or long term. It is support when your body really needs the extra help, not an every day event (6).
You can learn more and find idea for using it in our Herbal Profile: Kava kava
Some of the best ways to use kava kava are teas. It is generally recommended to avoid it during pregnancy and nursing.
This amazing herb can help calm the brain and nerves with just a scent (6). Have you ever walked up to the displays of lavender plants in the store, taken a little sniff and just smiled? I have, I can’t not smile when that (real) scent hits me!
This works, we think, because of the linalool in lavender. It causes a reaction with neurotransmitters like GABA to relax the nervous system (7).
You can learn more and find idea for using it in our Herbal Profile: Lavender
My favorite ways to use lavender are teas, cold-infused drinks, garnishments, sachets, and lotions. I love Earthley’s Good Night Lotion with lavender. It is a combination of healthy butters and oils with magnesium and lavender. Gentle for my whole family, and it helps us all get more restful sleep so we can have peaceful nights.
This isn’t an all inclusive list. There are others like hops, passionflower, valerian, and generally considered St John’s Wort. This gives some ideas for herbs to add to your collection though.
May we all find our inner calmness even during trying times!