Supplementing your body with nerve tonics is a way to keep stress at bay and induce depths in your meditation practice.
I am always reluctant to suggest single herbs as neuro tonics. Instead, I do prefer to work with formulas that at least have three herbs. Formulas usually select one herb that is the chief herb, a supporting herb and another as conductive. Formulas also give particular energetic geometry that aligns with our biology.
When we talk about nerve tonic, we are considering four effects on the body:
- Mental relaxation
- Mental focus concentration.
- Mental stamina.
- Mental integration
On this occasion, I want to mention single herbs that you may want to take in the form of teas or decoctions to produce a relaxing and toning nerve effect.
Category: Mental relaxation, stress reduction.
This parsley family member is one of the best herbs in Ayurveda and is highly regarded in India. Yogis used this herb before meditation, and many believe it stimulates the crown chakra and balances brain hemispheres. What makes it one of the best herbs for meditation is balancing the nervous system and improving neurotransmitter function while also helping with stress.
Although Gotu kola is referred to as Brahmi” by some, it is a different herb called Centella Asiatica, belonging to plants’ carrot family. Aside from its use in aiding memory loss, Gotu kola is also taken to treat varicose veins and venous insufficiency by decreasing associated swelling and improving venous circulation. Applied topically, Gotu kola cream helps to regenerate collagen and inhibit scar formation. For that reason, it is used to treat wounds, scars, minor burns, psoriasis and scleroderma.
Category: anxiety relief, relaxation, an antidepressant- Mental stamina.
One of the best meditation herbs, Holy Basil, has been used as a medicinal herb for more than 3000 years. Holy basil has been shown to have antidepressant and antianxiety properties similar to antidepressant drugs. Studies have shown that it can help people feel more social and less anxious.
The fact that holy basil can help balance blood sugar levels is directly related to its first benefit of helping the body deal with stress. When your blood sugar levels are steady, your mood tends to be, too. Moreover, when your mood is steady, it is easier to deal with stress.
Another benefit of holy basil’s antioxidant properties is that it could help with brain health. One small study found that adults who took holy basil regularly for 15 days experienced a boost in cognitive function compared to participants given a placebo. However, more research is needed to confirm this benefit.
Another holy basil benefit is that it is antibacterial and antifungal. One scientific article on the herb says this is why the herb traditionally has been used to treat stomach aches and common colds; it works to help kill harmful bacteria.
Category: calmness, concentration
Brahmi, or Bacopa monnieri, is a member of the snapdragon family of plants and is also called water hyssop. Along with its use in treating Alzheimer’s disease, Brahmi possesses calming effects and is also used to ease stress and nervous tension; it induces feelings of peace and curbs restlessness. Brahmi increases mucus production in the digestive tract and treats stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.
Brahmi is a therapeutic herb commonly used as a memory enhancer, aphrodisiac and a health tonic. According to Dr. Akhilesh Sharma, Ayurvedic Expert, “Brahmi is excellent for improving your brain functions and strengthening your memory. It enhances the three aspects of memory: long-term memory, short-term memory, and retaining capacity. Brahmi has a cooling property that keeps the mind calm and free of anxiety. It also promotes sound sleep.”
Category: Mental stamina, mental integration stress reduction.
This herb is one of the best herbs for energy when you feel sluggish and drained. It is incredibly nutritious and offers many physical health benefits (the entire stinging nettle plant is antioxidant and antimicrobial).
Stinging nettle may help suppress inflammation, which in turn could aid inflammatory conditions, including arthritis.
Category: Integration, stamina reduces stress, relieves anxiety.
Ashwagandha, or Withania somnifera, is an herb native to Asia and Africa. Also called “Indian ginseng,” it has been used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to ease pain and inflammation, treat insomnia, and boost nutrition, along with other conditions.
Ashwagandha is also considered an adaptogen.
Other nerve tonics herbs are lavender, rose, rosemary, peppermint, passionflower, and valerian. The herbs’ selections as nerve tonic depend on your dosha, your vatta condition, and the time of the year.
As teas, you can use any of these herbs freely with no concerns of side effects. You can take this nerve tonic before meditation or before going to sleep. Diet your herbs for 10 to 15 days, so you learn the energetic impact on your body.