You’ve probably seen enough articles on anti-viral herbs, immune herbs, and remedies for the lungs for the moment.
So let’s turn to an equally important aspect of health and preventative care in challenging times: herbs to support us when we are experiencing anxiety, stress, uncertainty, and fear.
There is a group of herbs known as nervines that support and nourish the nervous system. Each plant has its own specialties, and there are many to choose from.
Here are a few of my favorites.
Lemon Balm | Melissa officinalis
This delightful, lemon-scented member of the mint family is easy to find, easy to grow, and safe for children and adults. Taken as a strong tea (which is very tasty!) Lemon Balm is calming to the mind and the digestive system.
Taken in stronger doses, like a capsule or tincture, it is also known to have anti-viral properties, making it an excellent preventative during flu (or coronavirus) season.
Lemon Balm can be taken daily and for long periods of time, and mixes well with other nervines as well as anti-flu remedies like Elderberry.
Tulsi, or Holy Basil | Ocimum sanctum
Holy Basil is related to our common culinary Basil, but it has a wilder and sweeter taste. This plant is taken for cold and flu in its native India and has recently become well-known in the West for its sugar-balancing and stress relieving properties. It is specifically effective in reducing Cortisol, a stress hormone that is a factor in stubborn belly fat.
Holy Basil calms and soothes the mind, reduces anxiety, and encourages focus and concentration. It is soothing to the respiratory tract and makes a lovely tea.
Holy Basil can be taken daily as tea, tincture, or capsule, and can be used as Italian Basil would: in soups, salads, sauces, and pesto (yum!).
Scullcap | Scutellaria lateriflora
Scullcap isn’t as popular as it deserves in the herbal world. It is a favorite of mine, and I take it every day. An easy-to-grow cooling nervine, Scullcap is my absolute favorite choice for tension headaches and neck pain. Traditionally this plant is used for muscle pain and spasms, headaches, inflammation, anxiety, and fatigue.
I use Scullcap to treat stress and overwhelm, exhaustion, and computer fatigue as well as headaches and anxiety. Taken regularly as a tea, capsule, or tincture, Skullcap helps us maintain calm, patience, and focus in times of stress.
Larger doses in the short term are perfect for headaches, neck & shoulder pain, and strain from computer or smartphone use. It blends well with Holy Basil for stress and tension, with St. Johns Wort for mood issues or anxiety, and with Valerian for muscle pain. Try it, you’ll love it!
If you’re looking for a delicious tea to sip while adjusting to the ways our world is changing, may I humbly suggest one of my own nervine tea blends? I developed these for my own use originally, because I was looking for something soothing that would also be tasty!
Heart Soother is a cooling and calming blend that has Lemon Balm and Skullcap (among others). If you’re looking to try Holy Basil, my Nerve Soother blend has that, along with Lemon Balm (can you tell how much I love Lemon Balm?)
Both are meant to ease tension, anxiety, stress, and worry. I hope you enjoy them!