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 Herbal Actions: Nervine 
 
What is a Nervine?
A nervine is a plant remedy that has a beneficial effect upon the nervous system in some way. This makes the word nervine another catch-all expression, and to study them properly it helps to differentiate them into a number of categories. It may be superfluous to point this out, but any successful treatment of nervous system problems with herbs must involve treating the whole body, heart and mind, not simply the signs of agitation and worry. Of course, the agitation can be reduced greatly, but the whole system must be strengthened in the face of the storm! The main subdivisions include:

Nervine Tonic : Oats, St. John's Wort, Scullcap

Nervine Relaxing : Scullcap, Valerian, Vervain

Nervine Stimulating : Cola, Guarana

Nervine Tonics
Perhaps the most important contribution herbal medicine can make in the whole field of neurology is in strengthening and 'feeding' the nervous system. In cases of shock, stress or nervous debility, the nervine tonics strengthen and restore the tissues directly. On the other hand they can contribute to the healing of damaged nervous tissue, whether this is due to a pathological processor physical trauma. This invaluable group of remedies is best exemplified by Oats. Ginkgo is an important tonic for the nervous system, but appears to work via its vaso-dilating action on the blood vessels of the brain. This will increase oxygen availability to brain cells. Other nervine tonics that have, in addition, a relaxing effect include Scutellarialaterifolia, Verbena officinalis, Hypericum perforatum andStachys betonica. Of these relaxing nervine tonics, Scutellariais often the most effective, particularly for problems related to stress.

Nervine Tonics with No Relaxing or Stimulating Effects

Oats
Avena savita
Ginkgo
Ginkgo biloba

Nervine Tonics with a Relaxing Effect

Chamomile
Matricaria recutita St. John's Wort
Hypericum perforatum
Hyssop
Hyssopus officinalis
Vervain
Verbena officinalis
Lavender
Lavandula officinalis
Wood Betony
Stachys betonica
Skullcap
Scutellaria laterifolia

Nervine Tonics & Their Secondary Actions
Analgesic : St. John's Wort, Wood Betony
Anti-Catarrhal : Chamomile, Wood Betony
Anti-inflammatory: Chamomile
Anti-Microbial: Chamomile
Anti-Spasmodic: Chamomile, Hyssop, Lavender, Scullcap
Astringents : St. John's Wort
Bitter: Chamomile, Wood Betony
Carminative : Chamomile, Hyssop, Lavender
Demulcent: Oat
Diaphoretic: Hyssop, Linden, Vervain
Diuretic : Linden
Emmenagogue :
Expectorant : Hyssop
Hepatic : Vervain
Hypnotic : Chamomile
Hypotensive : Linden, Scullcap
Tonic : St. John's Wort, Scullcap, Vervain
Vulnerary : Chamomile, St. John's Wort

Nervine Relaxants
This group of nervines are most important in our times of stress and confusion, alleviating many of the accompanying symptoms. They should always be used in a broad holistic way, not simply to tranquilize. Too much tranquilizing, even that achieved through herbal medication, can in time deplete and weigh heavily on the whole nervous system.

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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst 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......more
 
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