Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Herbs for the Nervous System

I went to a great presentation by the Gulf Coast Herb Society today.  It was a presentation by Sharon Murphy on Herbs for the Nervous System.  Sharon, from New Orleans,  has used whole herbs, tinctures and teas for her own healing and is sharing it with others.  She is such sweet lady, and gets very animated when she talks about the power of these simple plants.  Sharon brought in some of her own herbs which she grows in pots on her back porch and told us about the ones she grows in her garden.  When asked why she brought a Ginger plant, she said, "It's not a plant for the nervous system, she just wanted to come along!"  I love how she personalizes her herbs by calling them "she". :)

Here is a quick summary of what I learned.
- Most herbs heal more than one part of the body which is why you don't get a straight answer as to what herb to use for what ailment.
- There is a consensus as to what herb to use for a given situation.
- Herbs for the nervous system are catorgorized in 3 ways:
  1.  Nervine tonics - Good for balancing and healing nerve issues.  If you are anxious it calms you, if depressed and foggy it give you energy and focus.  Damiana, Skullcap, Vervain, Wood Betony, Motherwort and Oat grass.  These herbs are described as giving you a warm hug when you drink the whole plant as a tea. 
  2. Relaxants - These are herbs that primarily provide calm and relaxation.  Black Cohash, Chamomile, Hops, St Johnswort, Skullcap, Valarian, Yanglang
  3. Stimulants - These herbs stimulate and bring you clarity and focus.  Kola nut, Coffee, Mate tea, Black tea, Guarana, clary sage and rosemary. 

Stress and inflammation turns on disease in the body! 
Herbs to consume in food or tea on a daily basis are: siberian ginseng, skullcap, oats and ashwaghanda.  I know that ashwaghanda helps your body slow the production of cortisol in your body which tenses your muscles in preparation for "fight or flight" stress situations.
Other ways to reduce stress and cortisol levels in your body: vitamins C+B complex and relaxation exercises.

Anxiety is a type of stress. 
- A good formula for anxiety is equal parts valerian and skullcap.

- Bach's Rescue Remedy is a great fast acting anti-anxiety remedy. 
One to two drops under the tongue can stop a panic attack.
Rock Rose - for terror and panic
Impatiens - for irritation and impatience
Clematis - for inattentiveness and to counteract faintness
Star of Bethlehem - for shock
Cherry Plum - for irrational thoughts and lack of self control

Let me know if you want to know more about what I learned.  Also the Gulf Coast Herb Society meets monthly on the second Wednesday of each month.  If you are interested in attending please let me know!

Valerian

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