Herbs for Body, Mind and Spirit in Challenging Times
In light of our new shared reality, it felt appropriate to shift the Herb of the Month blog to feature many useful herbs, rather than just one. Many suppliers are low on herbs so it can be helpful to have a list of herbs on hand to use as alternatives. We can all use some support in dealing with this immense change, isolation and uncertainty. This can bring up a plethora of emotions for many of us.
Aside from taking advantage of the outdoors to stay grounded, and the many ways to connect virtually with loved ones, we can also turn to a few of our plant friends to help get us through this intense time.
There is so much information to read, absorb, and process right now. So it felt best to offer a quick reference guide of a few categories of herbs that are helpful to know about. Included in the list are many herbs that serve multiple functions, making them important herbs to have on hand.
Six categories of herbs — Nervines, Nutritives, Adaptogens, Microbial balancing, Immuno-supportives and Respiratory herbs — support healthy immune function by promoting proper nutrition, adequate sleep, a resilient nervous system and protection against unwanted bugs.
Many supplement and herb companies are inundated with orders, as many people are turning to the plants for support! You may not be able to find some of the herbs on the list, but hopefully in the weeks ahead some or all of them will become available again. Stay on the lookout for these plant allies — things are changing every day!
Nutritive herbs are those that contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals that help nourish the body on all levels.
Nervines, or nerve tonics, are a category of herbs that help to support our nervous system, by cultivating feelings of calm, peace, and relaxation. Nervines help to promote sleep and the release of physical and emotional tension.
Adaptogens help the body's natural ability to deal with stress, whether it be of an emotional or physical nature. These herbs adapt their effect on the body based on an individual's specific needs, creating balance in body and mind.
This group of herbs supports a healthy microbial balance in the body and supports the body's natural ability to fight off unwanted bugs.
Immune Support Herbs
Herbs that support the immune system are also important to take to keep your immune system at optimal function and to help the body recover if you happen to catch something. These herbs encourage a healthy inflammatory response, assist the body's natural detoxification process and support healthy cellular response to invaders.
Respiratory Support Herbs
This group of herbs helps to encourage microbial balance, and healthy mucosal and inflammatory response in the lungs.
Here's a quick reference list of 30 herbs to look for, to use individually or as part of a formula. Several of these herbs are great to cook with, making it easy to consume them on a daily basis.
- Blue vervain — Nervine, Immuno-supportive, Respiratory Support
- Milky Oats — Nervine, Nutritive
- Scullcap — Nervine
- Tulsi/Holy Basil — Nervine, Microbial-balancing, Adaptogen
- Red Clover — Nutritive, Immuno-supportive, Respiratory Support
- Hawthorne — Nervine (supportive of emotional and physical heart
- Chamomile — Nervine, Microbial-balancing
- Lavender — Nervine, Microbial-balancing
- Motherwort — Nervine (supportive of emotional and physical heart)
- Dandelion — Nutritive, Microbial-balancing
- Turmeric — Microbial-balancing, Immuno-supportive
- Lemon Balm — Nervine, Nutritive, Microbial-balancing
- Reishi — Nervine, Microbial-balancing, Adaptogen, Immuno-supportive
- Ashwaghanda — Nervine, Adaptogen
- Astragalus — Adaptogen, Immuno-supportive, Respiratory Support
- Passionflower — Nervine
- Angelica — Nervine, Microbial-balancing, Respiratory Support
- Oregano — Nutritive, Microbial-balancing
- Thyme — Nutritive, Microbial-balancing, Respiratory Support
- Parsley — Nutritive, Microbial-balancing
- Linden — Nervine, Immuno-supportive, Respiratory Support (supportive of emotional and physical heart)
- Garlic — Microbial-balancing
- Ginger — Microbial-balancing
- Peppermint — Nutritive, Nervine, Microbial-balancing, Respiratory Support
- Rosemary — Nutritive, Microbial-balancing
- Elderberry — Nutritive, Microbial-balancing, Immuno-supportive
- Kava kava — Nervine
- Rose — Nutritive, Nervine, Respiratory Support
- Cacao — Nutritive, Nervine
- Hops — Nervine, Microbial-balancing
You can find many of these herbs in these WishGarden formulas:
- Natural Ways to Deal with Stress
- The Many Wonders of Astragalus
- Adaptogens and Exercise
- Schisandra: An Adaptogen Across Time
- Herbs For An Active Lifestyle
- Herbal Vade Mecum by Gazmend Skenderi
Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier
- 15 Impressive Herbs with Antiviral Activity - Sambucus
- Medicinal Benefits of Hops + Hop Tea
Writer Amy Malek, CCN, CCH, INHC is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Certified Clinical Herbalist, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Flower Essence Practitioner. She discovered her love for plants in the Sonoran Desert while living in Tucson, AZ. She has been studying plants of the Mountain West and Southwest for 10 years. Her many teachers include Paul Bergner, Rosemary Gladstar, Dr. Aviva Romm, Lisa Ganora, Kat MacKinnon, Erin Smith, John Slattery and Charles Kane. Her career is divided between Holistic Health, Graphic/Web Design and Marketing/Social Media Consulting. She is currently WishGarden's Social Media Coordinator. She lives in Boulder County, CO. She enjoys wildcrafting and growing her own medicinal plants and making a variety of herbal remedies. You can learn more about her practice on her website, www.wholeheart-wellness.com.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.