Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Herbal Nervines Part 1

So I started getting really  anxious lately.  In ways I never have before.  I think between the move to a new place after 13 years, and a bunch of other new and interesting problems I had too much on my emotional plate. 
  I was in a really bad way when I talked to a good friend of mine.  "Why haven't you tried some herbal nervines like motherswort?"
  Of course!
 I was so busy being anxious I had forgotten to turn to herbs as a solution--something my normal self would have explored long ago.
  I have tried kava kava in the past just for a slow-down to my day in the evening.  I used to steep it in hot water like a tea, or perhaps I even boiled it a bit, figuring since it was a root that was what I needed to do (often a safe assumption with roots...).  Even though I was screwing it up, it still had quite a nice, relaxing effect.
 I decided it was my front-line defense this time around.  *note to self and readers...when ordering herbs online for something like this, go ahead and splurge for 1-2 day shipping!!* I still don't have what I ordered yet, unfortunately! But I did have some kava left around from the last time, thank the Goddess!
  The traditional method of extraction uses tepid water, not hot or boiling.  People often masticate the root first, (and there seems to be some evidence that the enzymes in saliva help to break down some of the chemicals and make them more available for use) then spit it into a cup and set to soak for 25-30 minutes.  For me, I soak it first, then chew the pieces up (they're softer if you soak first) and can resoak, but I've found that during chewing, I've absorbed pretty much all there is. I just chew up the root, drink the water it soaked in, and I'm pretty good to go.  It seems to last around 8 hours. I take once in the morning and once in the evening.  About a tablespoon of chopped, dried root to 8 ounces of water.  I am tired but relaxed and can power through it, sometimes I add a little green tea a couple times a day to help counteract it.  Pretty much any prescription drug will also causes drowsiness, plus, they can have some really bad side effects.
  Kava kava's side effects are usually things like vivid dreams, being sleepy and relaxed but still capable of more complex thinking.
There have been reports of liver toxicity in people who took extracts and were also drinking (don't drink while taking nervines!! They are typically a little taxing to your system just like prescription anti-anxiety drugs), and it appears that the extracts were tampered with by people trying to make more money by using toxic parts of the kava plant.  I think one website said it best by saying that this is like saying we shouldn't eat rhubarb because the leaves are poisonous.  Of course, we do, we just eat the stems and not the leaves.  Kava is the same, only the root is safe.  Another reason I think buying dried root is preferable so I can better see what it is I'm getting.  Using a good, reputable company is helpful as well.
Is supper-time here, I'll be back later for part 2, and I'll let you know how the other nervines work for me.

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