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erbal Medicine
Herbal Therapy for Nervous System Disorders

© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

Balm -- Chamomile -- Lavender
Linden -- Mugwort -- Oats
Skullcap -- Vervain
A daily supplement of the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C is also indicated. As well as responding to stress in a healthy way, by using herbs and improving the diet, the impact of the various stressors can be ameliorated. This is sometimes impossible, but don't support putting up with something or someone just because they are there. People can change and change their lives. It helps to re-evaluate choices.

  • 'Are you doing what you really want to do?'
  • `If not, what would you rather be doing?'
  • Give `permission' for your patients to ask some searching questions about themselves and their life-style, without censoring any of the answers that may come up!
  • After pinpointing inner motivations the patient can then choose what you want to do about them. If changing is too difficult or painful, they are free not to change. Instead, use herbs and, perhaps, counseling to help ease the strain so they may live a less tense and anxious life. However, if they choose to change, herbal medicine if used wisely can aid in the process of transformation.

Relaxation exercises and an honest re-evaluation of both life-style and life-goals are invaluable.

Long Standing Stress

The line between chronic stress and the daily levels we all seem to put up with is fuzzy. A gentle soul with not too strong a constitution will cross the line sooner than a stronger person who copes well. Neither of these extremes is "better" than the other; they merely reflect the fact that we live in a world of human diversity. That's sometimes a joy and sometimes an actual cause of the stress! The advice given for daily stress relief holds for chronic stress, but in addition adaptogens become pivotal. Adaptogens are discussed above. The following two remedies are most important:

Ginseng (American or Korean) Siberian Ginseng

In addition to adaptogens, every attention must be given to general health. The body will often show its weakening through some somatic symptom. This may be a long-standing complaint that gets worse, an old problem that reappears or just a speeding of the aging process. Apply the model to any symptoms that arise in the context of the persons medical history. Some examples follow.

Short Term Extreme Stress

There are times in most peoples lives when things get to be too much and the pain of existence builds to a crescendo. Immediate herbal relief may be needed in a whole range of traumatic situations-from being involved in a car accident to some personal emotional crisis. In all cases, herbs will take the edge off the trauma but will rarely remove it. At such times herbs can be only an aid - one element of the approach taken to deal with the difficulties being faced. This approach may also include seeking help from the various caring professions, going on vacation or on a retreat, or even checking into a hospital.

The plants that are capable of easing intense stress are considered dangerous in our society and because they are restricted drugs, they will not be discussed here. However, in addition to the herbs previously mentioned, the following remedies might be considered:

Passiflower -- Valerian -- Wild Lettuce
One possible prescription for acute stress:
Skullcap -- 2 parts
Valerian -- 2 parts
Oats -- 1 part 5 ml of tincture taken as needed

Notice the dosage here of `5 ml of tincture taken as needed'. This is a recognition that stress response has a cyclical nature and each person will different times of the day that are more challenging than others. As this is largely symptomatic medication, it may be increased until the desired relief is experienced. The dosage regime may be altered as necessary, varying time of day and quantity of dose to suit individual needs. For example, this may be a large dose first thing in the morning, or smaller amounts at frequent intervals throughout the day. The patients experience is the guiding principle here. Always treat the human being and not the theory about the `disease'!

One possible prescription for acute stress associated with `indigestion' and palpitations:

Skullcap -- 2 parts
Valerian -- 2 parts
Motherwort -- 1 part
Chamomile -- 1 part
Mugwort -- 1 part 5 ml of tincture taken as needed
The Motherwort supports the relaxing of the other nervines but also has specific calming impact upon tachycardia.

One possible prescription for acute stress associated liver problems (such as alcohol related hepato-toxicity):

Skullcap -- 2 parts
Valerian -- 2 parts
Milk Thistle -- 1 part
Vervain -- 1 part
Oats -- 1 part to 5 ml of glycerate extract t.i.d.

A glycerate extract is suggested here because of the alcohol related etiology.

Broader Context of Treatment
Please refer to the earlier sections for the discussion of relaxation and meditation. Adequate levels of the B vitamin complex are essential.

Herbal Treatment for Specific Nervous System Disorders:

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About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it with hope, he as an individual had to be whole within himself....more
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