Introduction to Adaptogens and Nervines

Introduction to Adaptogens and Nervines
Introduction to Adaptogens and Nervines
Meet April Cockshutt. Clinical herbalist and Certified Nutritional Practitioner. For the next three weeks, April will be guiding you through the power and healing capabilities of herbs for stress and anxiety management. She will do so through a 3-part series. The first installment will introduce you to two types of herbs in particular: Adaptogens and Nervines.

Meet April Cockshutt.

Clinical herbalist and Certified Nutritional Practitioner. Currently April practices at Zen & Tonic- a clinic downtown Toronto which bridges the gap between Eastern and Western Medicine. Zen & Tonic delivers a universal view into holistic healing, providing a space to learn, heal and unwind. April is an avid believer in the power of pure, natural and holistic methods to support optimal health.

For the next three weeks, April will be guiding you through the power and healing capabilities of herbs for stress and anxiety management. She will do so through a 3-part series.

The first installment will introduce you to two types of herbs in particular: Adaptogens and Nervines. Next, she will dive a bit deeper into two of her favourite Adaptogenic herbs, showing you how they support optimal health, how and when to use them, and why they are so good for stress and anxiety management. Finally, April will explore Nervine herbs, explaining the different types, how and when to use them, and a few of her favourites.

So sit back, grab yourself a comfy blanket and a hot cup of herbal tea, and enjoy.

 

Segment #1- Introduction to Herbs: Adaptogens and Nervines

Today, throughout society there are an unlimited number of demands and stressors impacting our everyday lives. These stressors can be increased during adolescents and teen years as there are an increasing number of changes occuring: from school, to body development, social demands and more. Understanding how stress and anxiety affects our body and how to support it during these times is essential to staying healthy and positive, and to embrace everyday joys. Key supportive remedies include Herbal & nutritional supplementation, nutrient dense diets and most importantly stress management.           

Herbs are natures gifts to us as they provide us with an abundance of benefits and healing capabilities. Herbs support the body’s natural ability and innate healing processes – tonifying, strengthening and supporting our greatest biological abilities. During times of chronic stress and anxiety, our body, specifically the adrenal glands, become run down and exhausted.  This is a problem because your adrenal glands are responsible for producing many types of hormones, including your stress hormones (ie. cortisol). If the adrenal glands become fatigued, they cannot keep up with these demands and hormone production suffers. This is why during times of heightened stress, it is imperative to support our body and adrenals with their therapeutic needs.

One way you can do this is through herbs. In particular, herbs known as Adaptogens and Nervines are key during this time.

To start, let’s understand what Adaptogenic herbs are.

Adaptogens, as the name would suggest, help our bodies adapt.  Adapt from factors such as stress, toxicity or fatigue and avoid damage from such factors.

They do so through the following ways:

  1. Supporting our body’s natural ability to deal with stress
  2. Reducing the body’s reaction to stressors
  3. Supporting our immune system and tonify the whole body.

How this relates to anxiety and stress?

Adaptogens can reduce mood swings, calm the mind and provide more positivity in one’s life, making them a clear choice to consume during times of heightened stress.

Want some examples?

Adaptogen herbs include:

  • Ashwaghanda
  • Rhodiola
  • Schisandra
  • Licorice root
  • Holy Basil
  • Ginseng

…and more.

Nervines

Nervines are herbs that act therapeutically on our nervous system. With the ability to provide key nutrients to feed our nervous system, as well as provide sedative properties to calm the mind and reduce worry, they are essential during times of anxiety & stress.

There are three types of Nervine herbs:

  1. Tonics
    1. Ie. Oat Straw
  2. Relaxants
    1. Ie. Chamomile
  3. Stimulants
    1. Ie. Green Tea 

April will explore these more closely in the third segment of the Zen & Tonic series.

Introducing herbal supplementation into your daily lifestyle, in addition to a whole foods diet and stress management techniques, can provide an array of positive benefits. From supporting your body’s ability to manage stress, providing key nutrients, calming the mind and easing tension - herbs are definitely something to be considered when dealing with times of debility, stress and anxiety.

Remember: all adaptogens have their own unique abilities and strengths. Always speak to a clinical herbalist before implementing new herbs into your routine. Contact April to find the perfect blend for you or your child. 

Want to know what April’s favourite Adaptogenic herbs are? Stay tuned next week for the next Zen & Tonic segment!

Curious or have any questions for the Zen & Tonic team? – ask away  [email protected]

 

 

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