The Nervous System (NS) is the primary interface between the physical body and out environment. It has three basic functions: to receive, to interpret, and to respond. We have five basic senses to experience our external environment and countless internal sensory neurons to monitor our internal environment. There are billions of cells that constitute our brain. The Nervous System is the interface where we can dream, create, receive intuitive impressions, and where we can think abstractly. Without the basic physical nervous system there would be no life. When it is impaired, the quality and richness of life are diminished.
With the Nervous System it is important to address health and lack of more than just treatment of the physical symptoms. If we are suffering pain or distress to the Nervous System, it is a warning of imbalance or danger to use. These warnings are the symptoms and not the originating causes. If the smoke detector in your house goes off, the solution isn't to deaden it with a hammer. One would be better off to turn off the alarm and stop the noise while searching for the source of the smoke. With our fast paced society, many people forget to search for the fire when the pain subsides. The healthier our NS is, the better equipped it is to provide sensory input and motor responses that facilitate optimum quality in our lives.
Herbs for the Nervous System
The following categories are helpful in defining the action of herbs on the NS. There is a great overlap among these categories, but grouping them helps give some definition of how and what they are doing in the body.
1. Herbal Nervines - Rather than attempting to deaden pain (like most allopath medicine), herbal nervines strengthen the NS so that it is more capable of responding to pain. Although herbal nervines are not as effective as allopathic medicine in quickly relieving acute pain, they help to ease and soothe the pain through toning and nourishing the affected areas.
2. Nerve Tonics - Herbs that feed, tone, rehabilitate, and strengthen the NS. They feed the nerve tissue directly and are generally high in calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, and protein. Most are mild in action and can be taken over a long period of time and are extremely effective.
3. Nerve Sedatives - These herbs relax the NS and help reduce pain, ease tension, and aid in going to sleep. They do not do this by deadening the nerve endings like allopathic medicine, but by soothing and nourishing the peripheral nerves and muscle tissue. Antispasmodic herbs are included in this category.
4. Nervine Demulcents - These herbs sooth and heal irritated and inflamed nerve endings.
5. Nervine Stimulants - These herbs gently nourish and spark the NS and activate nerve endings by increasing circulation, providing nutrients, and increasing vitality. They do not provoke the system or agitate it the way most stimulating drugs and common "remedies" do (caffeine, chocolate, sugar, etc).
Your Tasks For This Lesson:
(1) Research more about these 5 herbal categories for the NS and find 3-6 herbs that fit into each category. Click here for a list of some suggested reference material.
(2) Research the Nervous System and find 5 Natural Healing ways (other than the use of herbs) to help strengthen and nourish your NS. Example, what foods to avoid, what foods to eat, what activities strengthen the NS, etc.
To view the main page of our Herbal Learning Guide, including the links to other lessons, please click here.
1. Rosemary Gladstar, The Science and Art of Herbalism.
2. Jethro Kloss, Back to Eden.
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