Ah, back to school days! Here at Moonrise, we are feeling the fresh rush of new energy as Humboldt State students return and we are inspired to share some herbal wellness tips for #herbalwisdomwednesday to keep these young scholars (and really all of us) in top shape!
Looking at our wellbeing as a whole, it’s important to realize that all of our bodily systems are much intertwined. Stress, lack of sleep, poor eating habits or simply being in a new physical environment can all affect immunity and energy and lead to increases in illness. While there is no herbal magic bullet to keep us healthy, there are wonderful varieties of herbs we can incorporate into our daily wellness routine!
Let’s start with stress because we all experience it to some degree. Adaptogenic herbs have been used by various cultures for millennia, but are increasingly becoming an essential part of the western herbal pharmacopoeia. Defined as a nontoxic substance that aids the body’s resistance to the damaging effects of stress and promote/restore balanced physiological function…essentially, they help us achieve homeostasis.
There are quite a few adaptogens to choose from (Ginseng, Eleuthro, Rhodiola,etc.) but currently we are enamored of the Ayurvedic adaptogen Ashwagandha Root.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root is an Ayurvedic herb that is traditionally used similarly to ginseng. Also called Indian Ginseng and Winter Cherry, it is a nervous system restorative and has adaptogenic properties which increase one’s vitality and physical endurance. Dr. Vasant Lad sees it as "the best rejuvenative herb, particularly for the muscles, marrow and semen" hence its long usage as a sexual tonic. However, it has benefits for everyone from children to the elderly in cases of weakness and tissue deficiency, debilitation by chronic disease, overwork, lack of sleep or nervous exhaustion and much more. You can incorporate the root into your daily tea blends or one of our fabulous products that contain it: 7-Herb Energy, Hang in There, Baby!: our own adaptogenic tea blend, and Adrenal Health capsules from Gaia Herbs are all well loved by our customers and staff alike!
We all know good quality sleep is imperative for prime body function, but changing schedules and environments can make it a challenge to find your ideal sleep rhythm. Again, Ashwagandha and other adaptogens can be helpful here but if you’re looking for something more specific we’d like to offer some very effective yet gentle herbs that calm your mind so your body can follow suit:
Hops (Humulus lupus) are a strong sedative most folk are familiar with as an ingredient in beer. In the Cannabacea family, this twining plant makes an excellent sleep aid. Particulary in combination with Passionflower and Skullcap!
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is a super magical, tendril-bearing vine used in traditional medicine by many groups of Native Americans before being adopted by European colonists into their herbal healing repertoire. It has shown great effectiveness for insomnia, anxiety, neuralgia/various neurological disorders, hypertension and for relieving pain (anodyne).
Skullcap (Scutellaria spp.) another herb used extensively by native peoples and is best described as a nerve tonic rather than a true sedative although it has been shown to be profoundly useful for relaxation….particularly for the restless mind! It has also shown great promise in easing the ill effects of withdrawal from drugs and/or alcohol as it has “considerable detoxification properties that will often prevent or lessen the severity of such withdrawal symptoms as delirium tremens (DT’s)”*
You can try each of these herbs on their own but they work beautifully as a combination! You can find them in these great products: Sleep Blend Capsules by Vitanica, Sleepy Nights from Wishgarden Herbs and Gaia Herbs Sound Sleep
We will finish up the Back to School Wellness kit next Wednesday!
You can find all of our vibrant bulk herbs here:
And our excellent tinctures and supplements here: