Herbs help our bodies heal and brings us back to optimal balance. They are plants that provide actions to our bodies in many ways. These actions can include supporting us in times of stress by regulating our hormonal balance.
To achieve a state of optimal wellbeing, we always recommend using whole herbs rather than extracts. Whole herbs include all parts of the plant, which can be either dried, dehydrated, preserved, steeped, and even fermented.
The properties of common herbs have been used for centuries to treat various conditions, traditionally studied and passed down throughout history.
Although their effects have not always been formally studied, whole herbs have a track record of safety and efficacy when used properly.
What Are Adaptogens and Why Are People Taking Them?
Adaptogens are ‘smart’ herbs that read the body in times of stress and can help balance the body's natural equilibrium. Adaptogens can help support various physiological and behavioral changes. They help the body maintain a balanced state during and after stress.
It's believed that these herbs can read the body's stress response and help it recover from imbalance through a variety of actions and plant energetics. Some of the qualities that make these herbs special is their ability to reduce specific stress hormones including cortisol, while improving the resilience of the body in trying times.
In addition, adaptogens can help improve a person's ability to maintain a healthy immune system and improve their mental health.
Below are common adaptogens and links with more information to further access:
- Ashwagandha has been known to rejuvenate the body in times of high stress, extreme fatigue, mental congestion, and anxiety.
- Holy Basil is best known to soften reactions to stress, uplift the spirit, and help to cope with the demands of daily life, while promoting overall wellbeing and longevity.
- Rhodiola is known to provide physical and mental endurance. Assisting with mental clarity in times of stress and anxiety, while provide daily energy and stamina.
- Ginseng assists with different conditions but overall, this powerful adaptogen helps the body obtain optimal homeostasis by causing positive physiological changes in response to physical, chemical, or biological stresses. (warrior)
What Are Nervine Herbs and How Do They Support the Nervous System?
Nervine herbs are plants that are used to support the nervous system. There are two categories of nervine herbs, nervine stimulants and nervine relaxants.
Nervine relaxants provide calming support for the nervous system and can help relieve muscle tension, nourish the nervous system and give the body ease.
Nervine stimulants arouse the nervous system and engages the sympathetic nervous system. This is especially beneficial for sluggishness or a tendency toward depressive aspects in the body, mind, or spirit.
Below are common nervines that help in varies types of stress:
- Oat Tops are gentle tonic herb that helps support the nervous system and can help reduce fatigue and support nerve functioning over time.
- Skullcap are Helps that relieve occasional tension and stress, circular thoughts, and nervousness. Can be used throughout the day during stressful situations or at night before bed to calm worried thoughts.
- California Poppy is used for its calming properties, this plant helps promote relaxation in those with agitation, seeking rest or suffering from anxiety disorders.
- Chamomile is a classic, relaxing nighttime herb that is helpful for relieving mild daily mental stress and even works to ease gas and bloating.
- Lavender is a popular calming herb that is often used in aromatherapy applications for its mild relaxing action which can be used day or night.
- Lemon Balm provides aromatic pleasure, helps with nervous exhaustion, gloom, and restlessness while also elevating the mood.
- Passionflower is a stunning plant that is helpful for relieving general tension, twitching, restlessness, and supporting restful sleep.
- Valerian is best used when sleep seems impossible thanks to nervous energy at night, this potent herb can support deep relaxation for many busy-brained folks.
Adaptogens have subtle long-term effects that are not limited to just one action in the body, while nervines act directly upon the nervous system in both long term and acute situations: both tonifying the nervous system for the long haul and calming the body during times of mild to high stress and anxiety. Adaptogens and nervine herbs pair very well together to create balance of the body and mind.
Reach out to our Director of Education, Irene Humpelstetter, if you have any questions about how whole herb combinations, enhanced through fermentation, can bring wellness back to your life.