Covid-19 is difficult on so many levels. It’s creating a shift in consciousness, a shift in perception, a change in our daily routines and in our lives as we know it. It’s creating stress.
I was thinking about this recently, and for me, I realized the last time I felt this shift was on September 11th 2001. That was almost 20 years ago, and I know much has happened in the US and the world since then, but I remember 9-11. It brought such a shift for me, a breaking at the knees to pray type of experience. An awakening to our vulnerabilities as a country, of large-scale instantaneous death. Of rage, Of fear. Of a change of life. It changed how we traveled, how we looked at the world, at one another. What we said. How we questioned Patriotism, how we re-defined freedom. There were questions and debates on so many levels and the stress was up for everyone in the US. But there was also a coming together as a country-maybe because we had an enemy we could see and something we could do.
We could rebuild and fight together.
Covid is causing another type of shift with a lot of change and with that, like 9-11, a whole new level of stress for many of us. What makes it difficult is this enemy is out there but also invisible. All we can do right now…is nothing. Staying Home is a hard rule to follow. Having our lives turned upside down with no end in sight causing more stress and frustration. I believe there will be an end to this situation and a new coming together as a country-I already see it in neighbors helping neighbors. A reaching out to stay in touch. A checking in and I see the continued support of local businesses and people where needed. I am hopeful and as an Herbalist I also want to help where I can.
It just so happened, in 2001 I was accepted into an Herbal internship that I began in 2002, and my love of herbal medicine began. Over the years I have continued to learn about the many uses for Plant Medicine but one thing I can always count on is the benefits of natural medicines in times of crisis.
Herbs can be great supportive allies for the nervous system in heightened times of stress, So today I want to provide some super easy herbal remedies for stress. especially if you find yourself feeling more frustrated, overwhelmed, not sleeping or just plain worried.
In Western Herbalism, the two categories of herbs we traditionally use to support the nervous system are nervines and adaptogens. What are Nervines and Adaptogens?
The short version is:
Nervines provide acute relief to nervous tension and are especially helpful when dealing with stress affecting the sympathetic nervous system, a.k.a “fight-or-flight.”
Adaptogens are a useful set of herbs if you suffer from a overworked nervous system and need full body support. These building herbs can be used daily, aid our response to stress and reduce occasional fatigue from life’s challenges.
We’ll cover Acute symptoms first and to make this simple, if you’re stressed, I want you to ask yourself what is your major complaint?
1. Are you Jittery and Wired? Drinking an herbal tea of Chamomile, Lemon balm, Passionflower and Lavender throughout the day can help.
2. Are you needing to wind down? Drink Lemon balm Tea in the early evening.
3. Are you Grumpy? Try a tea with Skullcap, Licorice and Spearmint and Cinnamon.
4. Are you just Stressed Out? Try a tea with Chamomile, Rose Petals and Lavender-this also helps with upset digestion.
5. Are you Tired-Not sleeping well? Sleeplessness is not normal— and can cause all of the above issues. Some people have trouble falling asleep, while others have trouble staying asleep, often waking up around 3 am. Some people have trouble getting their body to relax, and others suffer from over thinking. Now factor in that 70% of all sleep problems stem from stress, and suddenly, finding a solution doesn’t seem that easy…
For overall stress reduction, It’s important to be practicing good sleep hygiene and making sure you’re not using caffeine or stimulants to keep you going through the day.(and if you are maybe stopping their use by 3 pm and adding adaptogens) A few herbs that may help induce a good night’s sleep include tincture of valerian, skullcap and passionflower taken in doses starting an hour before bedtime. An herbal supplement containing the same herbs called Myo-Calm Plus by Metagenics has worked wonders for many of my clients. Drinking an herbal tea throughout the day or at bedtime with chamomile, passionflower and lemonbalm will start the relaxation process. Melatonin supplements also help some people.
In making this as stress free as possible-All the simple herb suggestions listed above are interchangeable. The key is to use them. The act of taking time to make a cup or two of tea for yourself, or take your tincture, is an act of self-care. It’s about taking a break, a deep breath and to be in the moment.
On the other hand, If you’ve been suffering from acute nervous tension for some time the consequences may have had an affect on your whole body and you may suffer from a rundown nervous system and need full body support, This is where adaptogens, another useful set of herbal allies come into play. Adaptogenic herbs like astragalus, tulsi and ashwagandha, to name a few, are helpful when taken over time to build stamina and bring your body back into balance, which helps better protect your body from the negative effects of stress. Adaptogens were named after the Latin word adaptare—which means to adjust or modify. I think that these powerful botanicals aid our response to stress and reduce occasional fatigue from life’s challenges. These building herbs can be used safely everyday.
Of course in the end-Stress is and will always be a part of life. We cannot avoid it completely but when it gets overwhelming, herbs are one part of a holistic protocol that can help to sooth your nervous system. Other things to remember is that when we get stressed we sometimes forget to do self care actions such as taking a warm bath with essential oils, nourishing ourselves with whole foods, taking time to breathe deep or meditate, moving your body, and spending time out in nature. These are all practices that aid in reducing stress and promoting a higher quality of life. Remember to take time for yourself.
If you would like to try any of the herbs, stop into the shop. I can blend you a tea or a tincture just for you and your type of stress. Remember some of the herbs may or may not work for you. don’t give up-keep trying till you find the herb or herb combination and dose that works for you. If you need more help or have more questions on herbs or your overall health, feel free to book a consultation with me.
I wish you peace and wellness.
“All information contained in this article is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and is neither intended nor suited to be a replacement or substitute for professional medical treatment nor for professional medical advice relative to a specific medical question or condition.”