Nervous System Herbal Protocol

General Stress & Anxiety

Illness/ Disease Definition

David Hoffman defines stress simply as:

“Stress is the response of the body to any demand.”

As defined by Taber’s Medical Dictionary,

Stress is:

1. Any physical, physiological, or psychological force that disturbs equilibrium.
2. The consequences of forces that disturb equilibrium.
3. Force applied per unit area. In the physical sciences, stresses include forces that deform or damage materials, such as impact, shear, torsion, compression, and tension. These physical stresses are particularly important in certain branches of health care, e.g., dentistry or orthopedic surgery, and in biotechnology industries, e.g., in the design and use of prostheses, grafts, and perfusion pumps.
Physiological stresses include agents that upset homeostasis, such as infection, injury, disease, internal organ pressures, or psychic strain.

In psychology, stresses include perceptions, emotions, anxieties, and interpersonal, social, or economic events that are considered threatening to one’s physical health, personal safety, or well-being. Marital discord; conflicts with others; battle, torture, or abuse; bankruptcy; incarceration; health care crises; and self-doubt are all examples of conditions that increase psychic stresses. The response of an organism or material to stress is known as adaptation.


  • As many as 75-90% of visits to physicians are due to stress-related complaints
  • Americans identify stress as their #1 health concern in many surveys
  • More than 50% of adults in US report high stress on a daily basis
  • According to some estimates, prolonged stress is the initial reason for approximately 80% of common diseases

Allopathic Treatments

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Meditation/yoga/exercise
  • Medications to manage symptoms of stress such as antidepressants, sleeping pills/tranquilizers for sleep issues, medications for physical symptoms such as IBS or high blood pressure

Signs & Symptoms/ Body Systems Affected

Body Systems AffectedSigns and Symptoms
Nervous systemAnxious mood/anxiety/depression
Dry mouth
Dreams/nightmares or insomnia
Inability to relax
Feelings of restlessness or tension
Respiratory systemTightness of breath
Pressure in chest
Choking feeling
Cardiovascular systemIncreased heart rate
Increased blood pressure
Angina (chest pain)
Tachycardia, palpitations
Feeling faint
Skipped heart beats
Musculoskeletal systemMuscular tension/aches/pain
Muscular twitching
Muscular stiffness
Digestive SystemLack of appetite
Weight loss
Difficulty swallowing
Diarrhea or constipation
Feeling bloated
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Urinary systemFrequent urination & urinary urgency
Reproductive systemSuppressed menstrual periods
Excessive menstrual bleeding
Premature ejaculation
Impotence or loss of erection
Immune systemTriggers a wide variety of autoimmune diseases & psychosomatic disorders
The skinHives  or eczema

*Need nervine relaxants, hypnotics, analgesics, antispasmodics, antidepressants & adaptogens   

Scutellaria laterifolia
Analgesic, Anti-epileptic, Antispasmodic, Antiviral, Bitter, Diuretic, Hypnotic (Moderate), Hypotensive, Nervine Relaxant, Sedative, Tonic (Nervine)
Passiflora incarnata    
Analgesic, Antispasmodic, Anxiolytic, Diaphoretic, Emmenagogue, Hepatic, Hypnotic (Strong), Hypotensive, Nervine Relaxant, Sedative, Tonic (Cardiac)
Melissa officinalis              
Antidepressant, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, Antiviral, Calmative, Carminative, Diaphoretic, Emmenagogue, Hepatic, Hypnotic (Mild), Nervine Relaxant, Neuroprotective, Stomachic
Verbena officinalis  
Alterative, Analgesic, Anthelmintic, Anticatarrhal, Antidepressant, Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic, Anxiolytic, Aphrodisiac, Diaphoretic, Emetic, Galactagogue, Hepatic, Hypnotic (Moderate), Hypotensive, Nervine Relaxant, Sedative, Tonic
Leonurus cardiaca    
Antispasmodic, Anxiolytic, Astringent, Emmenagogue, Hepatic, Hypnotic (Moderate), Hypotensive, Nervine Relaxant, Stomachic, Tonic (Cardiac)
Withania somnifera
Adaptogen (Calming), Alterative, Amphoteric (Immune), Anthelmintic, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Antitumor, Anxiolytic, Aphrodisiac, Bitter, Diuretic, Immunomodulator, Nervine, Thermogenic, Tonic (Reproductive)
Valeriana officinalis          
Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic (Digestive), Calmative, Carminative, Emmenagogue, Hypnotic (Strong Musculoskeletal), Hypotensive, Nervine, Relaxant, Sedative, Stomachic
Stachys officinalis
Analgesic, Anthelmintic, Anticatarrhal, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-tumor, Aphrodisiac, Astringent, Bitter, Carminative, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Expectorant, Hypotensive, Nervine Relaxant, Sedative, Tonic (Vascular), Vulnerary
Avena sativa    
Antidepressant, Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic, Anxiolytic, Demulcent, Emollient, Nervine Relaxant, Nutritive Restorative for Nervous & Endocrine systems, Sedative, Stimulant, Tonic (Nervine), Vulnerary
Lavendula officinalis
Analgesic, Anthelmintic, Antibacterial, Antidepressant, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Anxiolytic, Carminative, Cholagogue, Diuretic, Nervine Relaxant (Circulatory), Sedative, Stimulant, Stomachic, Tonic



  • Passionflower, Lemon Balm, Ashwagandha, Wood Betony, Lavender, Valerian Root


  • Equal parts Skullcap & Valerian Root
  • 2 parts Motherwort & 1 part vervain
  • Skullcap & Passionflower
  • Motherwort & Skullcap
  • Skullcap, Passionflower, Motherwort, Milky Oats, Ashwagandha , Vervain


  • Lavender- Do not use when drinking alcohol or when taking sedative drugs such as benzodiazepines or narcotic pain relievers.  Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Lemon Balm- Avoid using in large amounts in people with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and other hypothyroid conditions (small amounts as part of a larger formula should be ok)
  • Motherwort- Avoid use in pregnancy or if you have a low platelet count.  Do not use if taking Coumadin, drugs to treat liver disease, beta blockers, Lanoxin, or other heart drugs.
  • Oats- do not use if you have celiac disease
  • Passionflower- may increase the effects of prescription sedatives, antispasmodics and anxiolytics – use with caution. Do not use if taking MAOIs
  • Skullcap- do not use while taking Antabuse or immunosuppressant drugs; don’t use if pregnant or breastfeeding; large doses can be toxic
  • Valerian root- large doses may cause liver damage- do not use if you have liver disease.  Do not use if taking Antabuse or CNS Depressants or alcohol.  Avoid use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Vervain- do not use if you have asthma, seizure disorder, or are taking blood thinners
  • Wood betony- Do not use if pregnant (may stimulate uterus).  Use with caution- may cause liver damage or upset stomach

References & Resources:

Adaptogens Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, David Winston, RH (AHG).

Foundations of Medicinal Herbalism, Teresa Boardwine RH.

Medical Herbalism, David Hoffman, FNIMH

Taber’s Online. .

The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines, Charles W. Fetrow, Pharm.D. & Juan R. Avila, Pharm.D.

The Merck Manual of Medical Information: Home Edition, Robert Berkow, M.D. & Mark H. Beers, M.D. & Andrew J. Fletcher, M.B., B.Chir. , 1997.

The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine, Daniel B, Mowrey, Ph.D.

Wolfe, Tom. “Herbs for Anxiety.” Pathways, Winter 19-20, p. 11.