Nervines are a class of herbs that work on the nervous system. There are so many gentle nervines that are fantastic to use with kids. It is so fun to use herbs with kids because they show the effects right away. There are many herbs classified as nervines that are also classified as carminative. This is because they help the stomach and the nervous system (which a lot of times go hand in hand). These are 5 nervines that I love to use with kids and why!
First up, I love chamomile for kids because it tastes really good (especially with honey) and it can help with such a myriad of things. It seems to be the herb that you can find anywhere (I’ve even gotten a cup of chamomile tea at an airport!) From stomach aches to pain to anxiety a simple cup of tea can help it all. My favorite herb for teething as it tastes sweet, is very mild (when in a tea), and it can even help with the stomach discomfort that comes with the extra drool!
Catnip works almost the opposite for humans as it does for cats! It is one of my favorite herbs to help calm a sick kiddo. It is especially helpful for illness because it is a diaphoretic (helps you sweat out a fever) and also helps relieve pain. Catnip is great for headaches and tummy aches. It is used for stomach discomfort. All around an excellent nervine for when you kid (or you) doesn’t feel good.
Passionflower is probably one of my favorite herbs (I know we shouldn’t play favorites but some herbs just carry you through times in your life). Passionflower is one of my go to herbs for anxious postpartum mamas. Also my go to for kids that have very busy brains and trouble closing them down for bed. My favorite way to describe how passionflower works is like the mind is an internet browser with a bunch of tabs open and music playing. Passion flower comes in and closes each tab one by one until the mind can settle.
Skullcap is one of those herbs that tells you how it will help in the name. Skull-cap. I like to describe skullcap as taking all the distractions, overwhelm, and thoughts swimming around above your head and putting the cap on your head so it all stays in. It is used for helping to focus the brain and quiet distraction. Skullcap is a mild sedative and antispasmodic making it helpful for mental and physical tension. It is more calming in a tea and more pain relieving in a tincture.
Oats is restorative. When you use oats as an herb instead of a food you’ll use the milky oat tops or the oatstraw which is the stalk. Oats helps to rebuild your nervous system when used as a tonic (taken every day for a while, think like a vitamin). Oats are used as a mood elevator. Oats are most helpful when taken many days in a row with a cumulative effect on the nervous system. Milky oats is a fantastic tincture to give daily to someone that is anxious, “tired but wired”, and it has even been used with people with nerve damage or post shingles.
All of these nervines can be used with kids! Always check with your health provider before starting a new herbal regimen. They can be taken as tinctures or teas. Which one sounds the best to you and your little?