Health and Wellness: Coffee and Your Nervous System.

There’s a habit that keeps many of us trapped in our modern world. It’s a big money maker and so programmed in our culture that many of us don’t give it a second thought every day. The reality is that a lot of folks can’t do without their morning cup of joe; that perk of caffeine for the “pick-me-up” that gets one going.

Most people don’t realize coffee is a potent herb. You may not realize that coffee is a medicinal plant that belongs to the family of herbs known as ‘nervines’. Coffee is listed as a nervine because it interacts with your nervous system. This can either help, or hurt you depending on what kind of coffee, (like unfiltered and boiled) you drink and how much you consume. There are benefits and risks to drinking coffee. Coffee can even be used as a colonic to aid health. However, when it comes to your central nervous system, most herbalists agree and view coffee as a strong nervine medicine that can be beneficial when used sparingly – meaning once a week or less. I know that some of you reading this right now are literally cringing! WHAT?? Live without coffee? HOW will I ever be able to get through the morning or the day? Leading herbalists believe coffee throws our mental and emotional balance out of whack, causing a number of related health problems from overuse.

Ready for Some Good News? There are a number of other caffeinated nervines that can be brewed together with calming herbs that gives you a boost of energy, but also nourishing and won’t cause stress, anxiety or jitters.

New Recipes
Here are recipes that do contain some caffeine, however, the herbs that are also good for your nervous system and mind. It’s a win-win!

Yerba Mate + Oatstraw + Nettle
In the morning try a cup of Yerba Mate. This is a common Central American tea that is popular in the U.S. It is packed with antioxidants boosting your immune system, boosts your memory, and gets your digestive system set up for the day. The Nettle and Oatstraw strengthen your blood and calm your body while nourishing and repairing your nervous system, with an all day boost.

Teeccino tastes like coffee. It’s loaded with a prebiotic known as Inulin. A component of chicory root, this fiber supports a good population of gut flora. Inulin passes through your large intestine and is eaten by your “good” bacteria (like bifidus and lactobacillus).

Afternoons with Lemon Balm + Green Tea (Matcha)
Drinking Green Tea has numerous beneficial properties. Did you know that the National Cancer Institute published information that Green Tea actually prevents tumor growth? It’s also a powerful remedy for your heart; balancing cholesterol levels and promoting better circulation. It can also aid in weight loss! One of the BEST things about this green tea blend is that it boosts your memory and protects against neurodegenerative disease. The Lemon Balm is a fabulous accompaniment to Green Tea with the lovely lemon bouquet, and also is an effective remedy for stress and anxiety, yet boosts your concentration.

The Perfect Evening Tea: Adaptogen Night Time Brew
Adaptogens are herbs that work with your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal systems to normalize your body’s stress response. If you have read any of my previous articles on the Neural Pathways about the Stress/Flight or Flight hormones, this is what this is referring to.
Herbs like Alma, Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, Rhodiloa and many others help your body-mind differentiate between a hard day’s work, and a mountain lion chasing you. Our bodies have become addicted to stress and survival. Continuous stress sends hormones/ neurotransmitters of cortisol and adrenaline, and norepinephrine (used as a drug to raise blood pressure) to our bodies, creating addictions. Our minds and bodies create patterns where survival mode feels normal. Our bodies respond as a flight or flight condition, continually releasing the hormones, which turn on the aspects of our genes that create disease. We are only meant to be in high stress for less than 15 minutes, the return to homeostasis.

These patterns are so well engraved, taking an adaptogen every night will assist in turn off your thinking brain so one can begin the process of healing; coming back into homeostasis and balance.
A night-time adaptogen you can try is Tulsi (aka Holy Basil.) It promotes proper flow of oxygen and chi (energy). Also a pain killer and immune-modulator (works to balance out your immune function). Try it with Holy Basil and delicious lavender or chamomile. Your body will feel refreshed when you wake up the next day.

Why not give these a try? Find better balance. Change your hormones and turn on genes that create health and wellness! INJOY!