Here at Humboldt Apothecary, we believe in the healing powers of herbs. Around the world, people have been using plants successfully to treat their illnesses and injuries for thousands of years. As people experimented with and discovered the particular healing qualities of individual plants, they recorded their findings and/or passed their knowledge on orally to others in their community. At the turn of the 20th century, a shift in the approach to medicine began to gain momentum in the United States. The American Medical Association turned to what they considered a more scientific approach to healing modalities and largely dismissed plants as effective medicine. This really gained momentum in the second half of the century as more and more people had access to doctors and hospitals and the powerful pharmaceutical companies began to tighten their grip on health care. Although pharmaceutical drugs and western approaches to medicine can be lifesaving when nothing else works, many times herbal medicine can be very effective without the harmful side effects that can result from pharmaceutical use. In current times, herbal medicine has been gaining in popularity because herbs are readily available, inexpensive, and pose very little risk of unintended and harmful side effects.
In our modern culture, many people are on the go all day every day. It seems that there are endless responsibilities, finding time to eat healthy foods can be a real challenge, and we’re often under-slept due to stress and time constraints. All of this creates stress and takes a toll on our nervous systems. One of the ways we can help support our overworked nervous systems is by adding herbs that nourish and settle the nervous system, otherwise known as nervines, into our daily routine. A few of my favorites are skullcap, passionflower, and lemon balm.
When I first learned about skullcap, I thought, where have you been all my life? Skullcap, whose Latin name is Scutellaria lateriflora, is in the mint family. I was fascinated to learn that not only are there a lot of plants in the mint family but they all have one very identifiable feature in common: a square stem. Plants that you are likely very familiar with reside in the mint family: basil, oregano, lavender, catnip, and many more. Take a look the next time you encounter one of these and see if you notice their square stems. Skullcap is premier at restoring and nourishing an exhausted nervous system. If you’re the kind of person who operates from a constant state of stress, you will likely find skullcap to be incredibly nourishing and soothing. Since so many people’s inability to sleep is derived from being on the go all the time and the inability to “turn it off” at night, skullcap can be extremely effective at helping people get a good night’s sleep. Having been a chronic stressor who suffered from insomnia off and on throughout my life, when I discovered skullcap, I started including it in the teas and tinctures that I took on a daily basis. Most herbs are multi-faceted in their healing capacities and skullcap is no exception. It happens to also be very effective at supporting relief from muscle spasms and twitches.
Not only is Passionflower very therapeutic to the nervous system, but it produces a breathtakingly beautiful flower. Passionflower’s Latin name is Passiflora, and it is a great choice for people who feel stressed out. It can be calming to the nervous system and especially helpful for people who manifest their stress in anxiety. It may help reduce heart palpitations and mitigate the feelings associated with a panic attack. Passionflower can also help support a reduction of mild depression that can often accompany stress and anxiety. In addition to calming the nervous system, it’s also mildly sedating, which makes it a great choice for people whose insomnia is caused by stress and anxiety. And like skullcap, it helps support the relief of muscle spasms.
Lemon Balm is also in the mint family and has a Latin name of Melissa officinalis. As the name suggests, the leaves have a lemony smell and a mild lemony flavor. Lemon Balm subtly nourishes the nervous system and calms the heart. It’s great for people who experience anxious feelings and has been known to help support relief from panic attacks. Many people find it helpful to calm hyperactivity. Lemon Balm can also have a subtle uplifting effect and be a gentle mood elevator. One of the great things about lemon balm is that it’s gentle and really great for kids yet also powerful enough to be helpful for adults.
We wanted to share the therapeutic effects of these gentle, safe plants with the cannabis community in a way that is functional and helps support wellness in a variety of ways. And that’s exactly what we’ve done in our botanical line by combining cannabis with other medicinal plants. Cannabis has been combined with other plants for centuries all over the world. The synergy of all the plants working together makes them more deeply therapeutic than if taken on their own. You’ll find skullcap and passionflower along with hops and lavender in our Deep Sleep which can help achieve a better night’s sleep. As you can imagine, Deep Sleep is most effective for people whose sleep disturbances are caused by stress, anxiety, or an overworked nervous system in general. Our Calm CBD, which can be incredibly effective at reducing anxious feelings, contains skullcap, passionflower, and lemon balm. We hope you enjoy exploring the healing possibilities of plant medicine as much as we do. If you’re taking other medications, please consult a physician.