Herbal Support For Stress and Immunity
Passionflower, oatstraw, skullcap, chamomile, holy basil, lavender, California poppy, hops, St. Johns wort, catnip, lemonbalm, motherwort, valerian, linden, gotu kola, and kava are all herbs that have a calming quality to the nervous system. They can help calm frazzled nerves, promote more restful sleep and ease tension. Use in teas or tinctures.
Most accessible will be herb teas such as chamomile, lemon balm and holy basil. I like holy basil for people with “cooler” constitutions. It can also help dispel grief so it’s one I like to use where people have lost a loved one. I drank it after I lost my dad a few years ago.
Rescue Remedy is excellent to have on hand. It calms, eases and helps us adjust to sudden acute shocks. It is described in detail in the eBook Healer at Home – Natural First Aid for Trauma and Injuries.
This class of herbs helps us “adapt” to stress. They help modulate a healthier stress response by supporting the adrenal glands and from a Chinese Medicine view—the “chi” of the body. Our energy reserves become depleted with on-going stress and these herbs help hold us up when the going gets tough or when we have been flattened by long term stress.
Some of my favorites in this group are rhodiola, schisandra, ashwaghanda, Siberian ginseng, panax ginseng, American ginseng, rehmannia, reishi and let’s not forget licorice. Rhodiola is calming but also energizing. It opens the “heart” as indicated by its name rhodiola rosea. Ashwaghanda is another herb that is calming yet energy building.
Reishi in capsule form would be excellent for many people right now as it not only “calms the spirit” in Chinese Medicine terms but tonifies chi. It also builds immunity partly due to it containing beta glucans which have been shown to enhance natural killer cells (part of the immune system). Beta glucans are also in oats, barley, brewer’s yeast, seaweed and in beta glucan supplements.
Don’t take his class of herbs if you have a fever.
People are going into an adrenaline dominant state on a wide scale right now. Calming herbs and adaptogens can help—as can the other measures I wrote about here.
Immune Building Herbs
The two main ones here are reishi mushroom as described above, and the herb astragalus. Astragalus is a potent immune system builder and has some adaptogenic properties. You take it when building immunity but stop it if you get sick with any acute illness. I like the Chinese formula yu ping feng san as it builds immunity and “protects from invasion” in TCM terms.
Some of these are described in the eBook Healer at Home—Natural First Aid for Colds and Flus – look for elderberry and olive leaf.