Part of keeping our mental health in check is knowing how our body sends signals to us. Our nervous system plays a big part in how we feel, so it’s important to care for it.
In this blog, we’ll discuss 6 herbs that are good for the nervous system so you can prevent the effects of mental illness, support the potential for a well-functioning nervous system, and perform optimally.
Bacopa monnieri, also called brahmi, herb of grace, thyme-leaved gratiola, and water hyssop, has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat various ailments, from memory improvement to reducing anxiety and treating epilepsy. Bacopa can strengthen the nervous tissue and help to relax muscular and other tension in the body. Its compounds, called bacosides, are likely responsible for its potential to support the brain and nervous system.
Bacopa may also help to promote awareness, emotional stability, and an internal state of calm.
Check out our Bacopa Brain formula to support your mood and memory!
A popular aromatherapy herb, chamomile has the potential to promote calmness and relaxation, relieve stress, and reduce both anxiety and insomnia. A study in 2016 found that long-term use of chamomile extract significantly reduced symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
If you’re already drinking chamomile tea regularly, you’re one step ahead in calming your nerves!
The oats we commonly purchase for breakfast are mature seeds of the Avena sativa plant, while oat tops are the milky tops of the plant. Its stems and leaves provide oat straw extract, harvested earlier. Known as a nervine tonic, oat tops are gentle tonic herbs that help to rejuvenate and nourish an exhausted or over-agitated nervous system without a strong calming action. They can help with irritability and edginess symptoms that are common with drug withdrawal.
Oat seeds are thymoleptic, meaning they have a mild antidepressant and uplifting effect. Containing B vitamins and minerals like calcium, oats are nourishing for the nervous system.
Compared with oat seeds, oat straw is more anxiolytic (decreases anxiety, induces calmness). Both oat tops and oat straw are available in tea form, and you can also find tinctures and capsules.
Also known as purple passionflower and maypop, people used species of passiflora in many countries for traditional therapeutic applications. In South America, leaf extracts were used to treat nervousness, anxiety, migraines, insomnia, and alcoholism. South African traditional healers used it to treat gastrointestinal discomfort (nervous stomach) and nerve pain.
We all know that nervous feeling that results in stomach “butterflies.” While more human studies are needed, past studies suggest various passiflora species may help relieve anxiety, insomnia, and treat stomach problems, as it can boost the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain, which lowers brain activity and helps us relax and sleep better.
You can find passionflower in tea, liquid extract, and capsule form.
Skullcap acts as a nervous system tonic and has nervotrophorestorative properties that promote calmness. Mildly sedative, skullcap is great for treating insomnia and restlessness and has antispasmodic action to calm twitching muscles and relax muscle tension.
Skullcap can aid in calming nervousness, anxiety, and nourish a depleted nervous system in cases of depression or exhaustion. Like oats, skullcap may ease withdrawal symptoms, as it acts on our GABA receptors.
Skullcap is most popular in tea form, as it can increase the effect of sedating drugs.
People have used valerian for hundreds of years for various conditions, but it can help to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. Some believe valerian can enhance our sleep quality. A study in 2004 showed valerian decreased anxiety and improved sleep by increasing GABA levels in the brain.
This herb is available as supplement powder or liquid extract, or in tea form.
Other herbs we’ve talked about in previous blogs that are good for the nervous system include ginkgo, gotu kola, lavender, lemon balm, St. John’s Wort, and the memorable Lion’s Mane mushroom.
We hope that sharing more of our herbal friends will aid in your mental wellness and knock those nerves down!