Stress, Anxiety and Depression: Part 3
Over the long term, the best thing you can do for your nervous system is to strengthen and nourish it. One of the best remedies for the nervous system is oats (Avena sativa). Other nervine tonics include Damiana, Skullcap, Vervain, and Wood Betony.
In cases of stress and tension, nervine relaxants are indicated. Some of these include Black Cohosh, Haw, California Poppy, Chamomile, Cramp Bark, Hops, Hyssop, Jamaican Dogwood, Lady’s Slipper, Lavender, Lime Blossom, Motherwort, Passion Flower, St. John’s Wort, Skullcap and Valerian. In addition to herbs that work directly on the nervous system, the anti-spasmodic herbs - which affect the peripheral nerves and muscle tissue - can have an indirect relaxing effect on the whole system. When the physical body is at ease, the mind is more at ease.
It is important to remember that not all nervous system herbs have a relaxing effect on the body. Herbs such as coffee, black tea and Mate tea all have a stimulating effect on the nervous system. However, most people are better off staying away from nervine stimulants, as the body is normally overly stimulated rather than under-stimulated and if it vitality you are looking for, there are better herbs for longterm vitality.
Adaptogens include several plants or herbs and are defined as biologically active, medicinal plant substances that help your body adapt or adjust to stress. Adaptogens have the ability to improve the body’s nonspecific resistance to internal and external stressors, normalizing body functions. Adaptogens may reduce both the severity and negative effects of stress from any source, such as emotional stress, physical trauma or injury, fatigue, poor lifestyle choices, illness, and pollution. Some adaptogens include Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Tulsi, and Eleuthro.
Without addressing the underlying causes of stress or anxiety, we cannot overcome it completely. It takes a willingness to uncover what the root of the problem is and then unleash the tools to deal with the issue. Herbs can be a big help when used alongside other lifestyle factors such as nutrition and exercise. Left untreated, anxiety and stress will often lead to depression as the body and mind become more and more inundated and internal organs go on overdrive to deal with the physiological effects.