Taken internally yarrow has a sharp impression on the nerves. It wakes me up, and releases excess heat. I can feel it shift the blood from the center to the periphery. It focuses my attention and makes me feel fearless. Yarrow has a powerful affect on my mind as well.
However, yarrow is very rarely discussed in terms of being a nervine. It effects the nerves through the blood, rather than acting more directly on the nerves.
To keep this class within a manageable scope of focus I will limit our discussion to herbs that more directly effect the structures of the nerves. Many of these will also be heart remedies. Many traditional cultures and healing modalities place the heart at the center of consciousness, and consider what we would consider psychological disturbances as diseases of the heart.
Holistic herbalism is very different than pharmaceutical medicine in many respects. The two cannot be used interchangeably and the perspectives they take are very different. Each of these modalities (to say nothing of many others!) is particularly suited to certain things and very much ineffectual at others. My clinical experience leads me to believe that simple herbs often are exceedingly effective for what is often diagnosed by psychiatrists as “anxiety, depression, etc.” Two friends of mine have been able to use herbs in place of psycho-meds and seem all the better for it. Of course I don’t advocate anyone ever to recklessly stop taking any medication. Also, I believe it’s best to talk with doctor skilled in pharmaceutical medicine for any issues involving a pharmaceutical. Lastly every body is different and has different needs, not all of which are necessarily best addressed through herbs or any other healing modality.
THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
While an extensive discussion of the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system is beyond the scope of this class, a few points are of immense importance to using nerviness competently.
The nervous system is comprised of about 100 billion neurons located throughout the body. These nerve cells are unevenly distributed in the body, having large concentrations in the brain, enteric nervous system, and spinal cord.
An individual nerve looks something like this: