Have you used or heard the phrase: “My nerves are shot!”?
If you had conveyed this to a herbalist, Ayurvedic practitioner, or savvy mother or grandmother, they might have handed you a cup of soothing Chamomile or Tulsi tea.
Why? Because Chamomile and Tulsi are nervine herbs, a classification of plants that support nervous system function and promote a state of calm.
In this article, you’ll learn the history, practical application, and science behind eleven of the East’s and West’s most popular herbal nervines.
What Is A Nervine Herb?
Herbal nervines are a special group of plants that are uniquely classified to nourish the central nervous system and support healthy nervous system function.
When the nervous system functions normally, it helps sustain calmness, normal sleep, focus, clarity, and a healthy stress response.
Unfortunately, stress is tough on the nervous system, which is why nervine herbs have become so popular in the form of teas, supplements, tinctures, and essential oils.
Nervines may also be classified as:
Adaptogens: A type of herb that helps support the body’s normal stress response
Rasayanas: An Ayurvedic designation for herbs that function as tonics or rejuvenators for body and mind
Nootropics: Herbs or other substances that support cognitive function.
You may also find nervines combined with adaptogens, Rasayanas, or other types of herbs in various Ayurvedic or traditional herbal formulas.
Nervines have been used for centuries in Eastern and Western wellness practices, including Ayurveda, and have gained popularity as people seek natural solutions to promote mind-body wellness and a sense of peace.
What Are The Benefits Of Nervine Herbs?
Nervines offer various benefits for mind-body health, with each herb possessing unique properties.
We’ll discuss herb-specific nervine benefits in the following sections.
However, here are some examples of the over-arching benefits all nervine herbs and plants share*:
Nervine herbs support normal nervous system function
Herbal nervines promote a state of calm
Nervines support focus and concentration
Nervine herbs may support the sleep cycle
Herbal nervines support a normal stress response
Nervines support adrenal health
In other words, nervines act as a balm for body, mind, and spirit amidst everyday life’s stresses and ups and downs.
Nervine herbs are also generally very safe for short- or long-term use, non-toxic, and easy to procure as supplements, bulk herbs, or by growing yourself.
If this sounds like something you’d benefit from, let’s get to know eleven of the top nervine herbs for mind-body support.
Top 11 Nervine Herbs For Mind-Body Support
Even if you’re new to herbs, you’ve probably experienced nervines in the form of herbal tea, essential oils, personal care products, or even oats.
In this section, we’ll explore eleven nervine herbs from Western herbalism and Ayurveda.
Chamomile is one of the world’s most ancient nervine herbs, with traditional use dating back to the ancient Egyptians.
Research has shown certain constituents within chamomile tea’s polysaccharides (a type of plant compound) may be responsible for its calming effects.
Bacopa, also known as “Brahmi” or “The Herb of Grace”, is less-known in the West, however it is and has been a revered nervine in Ayurevda for centuries.
Also considered a nootropic, a type of nervine herbs that supports cognitive function, several high-quality studies have shown Bacopa supports various aspects of brain function while promoting a state of focused alertness.
Ashwagandha is one of the most well-known Ayurvedic nervine herbs in the West, and one of the most common used in Ayurvedic formulas.
Also known as “Indian Ginseng”, Ashwagandha is considered the “king of adaptogens” due to its beneficial effects on stress. It’s also a helpful nervine and Rasayana, making it a popular choice for supporting stress response, mood, and sleep.