Herbal Support for Stress and Trauma, Part 1: Nervines

Herbal nervines are herbs that support, strengthen and nourish the nervous system.  They can help with stress, shock, tension, pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia and other nervous systems disorders.  Nervines are great herbal allies to support our bodies during acute or chronic stress.  They also help the body, mind and heart to heal from stress and trauma.

Oatstaw (Avena sativa): Great for nervous exhaustion and burnout; helps with headaches from stress; good for skin rashes caused by stress; good tonic for adrenals, helps with insomnia, helps with detox from drugs and alcohol, high in minerals, very nutritious, works best long term.

  • Dosage: 1-4 cups herbal infusion per day; 10-30 drops of tincture 3 X/ day.


Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora): Excellent to calm stress, agitation, tics, tremors or road rage. Useful for insomnia, quiets mind chatter, revitalizing to nerves, helps with insomnia and nervous agitation from grief, gives the emotional and psychological ability to cope with stress; used in detox (with oats); good for PMS, anxiety, depression, nervous exhaustion and nerve pain.

  • Dosage: 1-4 cups herbal infusion per day; 10-30 drops of tincture 3 X/ day.

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata):  Great to relieve stress and tension held in the body (tight muscles, muscle spasms); helpful with insomnia (combines well with skullcap); lowers blood pressure; can be useful to relax bronchial spams in asthma; good for nerve pain; helps to quiet mind chatter.

  • Dosage: 1-4 cups herbal infusion per day; 10-30 drops of tincture 3 X/ day. 

Passionflower.  Photo by Oliver P. Quillia via Wikipedia commons

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita):   Gentle yet powerful herb.  Good to relieve anxiety and stress; especially for stress held in the stomach.  Good for indigestion, gas, & cramping.  Calming and helpful for sleep and nightmares.  Excellent herbal ally for children.

  • Dosage: 1-4 cups herbal infusion per day; 5-30 drops of tincture 3 X/ day. 

Lemon Balm (Melissa officionalis):  A very helpful ally for trauma, depression, anxiety and stress.  This sweet yet powerful medicine helps to lift our spirits when we’re feeling down but she can also calm us when we’re anxious or wound up.

Lemon balm helps to heal trauma of all kinds, but has a special affinity for healing sexual trauma.  Lemon balm can help with anxiety, depression, insomnia, nervous tension, grief, heartbreak, and can calm digestive problems brought on by stress.  Lemon balm also has anti-viral properties and can be helpful against influenza and the herpes virus.

  • Dosage: 1-4 cups herbal infusion per day; 5-30 drops of tincture 3 X/ day. 

Other nervines:     St. john/joan’s wort (great for nerve pain and inflammation); motherwort (good for anxiety with heart palpatations; very grounding, helps connect to the earth mother; one student said motherwort was like receiving a hug from Ama)

Stronger herbal sedatives:   To calm down from shock; to help with sleep; also good for pain.  These herbs can knock you out, so be careful not to take before driving until you know how they affect you.  Valerian, CA Poppy, Kava Kava

Ready to learn more?  Our best introductary class on herbal medicine, Herbal Allies, starts next week!

Author AtavaAtava Garcia Swiecicki, MA, RH (AHG) is the founder of Ancestral Apothecary and loves to connect people to plants for their healing and empowerment.  She sees clients in Oakland as clincal herablist and flower essence practitioner and teachers many classes here at Ancestral Apothecary .  Her website is www.ancestralapothecary.com


3 Comments on “Herbal Support for Stress and Trauma, Part 1: Nervines

  1. Pingback: RELEASING STRESS AND TRAUMA: Restorative Yoga, Aromatherapy, and Herbs

  2. Pingback: Northern CA Fire Support Resources | Ancestral Apothecary

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