Blog#56: Nerve Relaxing Tea
I first discovered Nerve Relaxing Tea at Dr. Michael’s Herbs, a small shop on Western Avenue in Chicago. The herb shop sold many single herbs and also some formulas. This particular formula is the best I have encountered for alleviating insomnia and stress. Unfortunately, the shop closed over a decade ago. I bought several boxes of Formula No. 20 (Nerve Relaxing Tea) before they closed. When I asked where I could buy the formula in the future, they told me that one of their employees appropriated several of their most popular formulas, including that one, and they had no way to precisely make the teas in the future.
Over the years, I have occasionally used this tea to help alleviate insomnia, and I also, have shared it with several of my patients. Although the ingredients are all generally safe to use, occasionally people who were taking medication for depression became anxious when they used this tea. I have decided to share the formula, as written on the box in this blog today. I will list the ingredients and then briefly explain the action of each one. Regarding quantity, the first listed ingredient is most prominent, and the last listed is the least prominent. Unfortunately, I do not know the exact proportions of these ingredients.
The tea contains the following herbs: Skullcap Herb, Valerian Root, St. Johns Wort, Licorice Root, Star Anise Seed, Fennel Seed, Blue Malva Flowers, Marigold Flowers, Peppermint Leaf, and Parsley Flakes. Actions of these herbs include these:
Skullcap is a mild sedative that helps alleviate insomnia by calming the nervous system.
Valerian Root is a mild muscle relaxant and also is a sedative for the nervous system.
St Johns Wort is a mild anti-depressant that helps calm the mind. It can interact with some anti-depressants, resulting in unpleasant side effects, such as anxiety.
Licorice Root can help support adrenal gland function and also can help alleviate digestive problems such as heartburn. Side effects include elevated blood pressure. This herb should not be taken longer than two weeks without a break of at least a week, unless directed otherwise by an herbalist.
Star Anise Seed helps alleviate gas and other abdominal upsets and also helps soothe sore throat and flu symptoms. The seeds obtained from Chinese star anise, a star-shaped fruit, are safe but a very similar herb from Japan, also called star anise, is toxic. Sometimes the Chinese herb is even contaminated with the Japanese herb, since they look similar and may grow near each other. Unless you grow your own or are sure of the source (there are several reliable sources), you should not use this herb.
Fennel Seed has powerful anti-oxidant properties and helps alleviate indigestion.
Blue Malva Flower helps soothe the digestive tract and has a mild laxative effect. Since not enough is known about the effects on nursing mothers and their infants, it is recommended that it not be used while nursing.
Marigold Flower (Calendula) is renowned for its anti-inflammatory action on skin. It also helps alleviate indigestion. It can interact in unpleasant ways with some medications, both prescription and over the counter, so if you take any medications, you should contact both an herbalist and a knowledgeable physician before using this herb.
Peppermint Leaf is mild and energizing. It can help alleviate indigestion, irritable bowl syndrome, and is also used in many formulas to help soothe symptoms of cold and flu.
Parsley Flakes are mildly diarrhetic and thus help rid the body of toxins. They also soothe the digestive tract and relax the muscles.
I have found that one or two teaspoons of the tea steeped in a quart of water works well.
This blog’s offer: as my “trick or treat” gift to you, feel free to contact me with any questions about “Nerve Relaxing Tea”.