Nervines 101

Nervines are medicinal plants that focus in on your nervous system. Got insomnia, brain fog, or stress? Learn how nervines can help.

Nervines 101 from Wile, women's hands arranging herbs on a wooden table

Nourish Your Nervous System with Nervines

We hear a lot about adaptogens for stress, adaptogens for sleep, adaptogens for resilience. And with good reason. 

But have you heard about nervines? As focused nervous system support, these may be the functional ingredient type your wellness regimen needs. They’re particularly great in midlife and if you are experiencing any perimenopausal symptoms like loss of sleep, jitters, brain fog or mood swings. 

Stress and Your Nervous System

Quick review: Your nervous system is responsible for both feelings of stress (the sympathetic nervous system) and releasing hormones to calm (the parasympathetic nervous system). Evolution designed us to notice threats and any sort of arousal first. 

Surrounded by electronics that all operate with alerts, we live in arguably the most arousal-rich time in history! The sympathetic—the alert sector—of your nervous system is in a state of near-perpetual triggering. Ping, ping, ping - the phone, the news, work. Some say blue light from Netflix alone is stimulating. Kids are increasingly in the same house or car—not free ranging or even hanging at the mall. Your system clocks every provocation, with few moments of real rest and recovery.

Pair that always-on life with midlife specifically: the surge in stress, unresolved trauma, gaps in sleep and nutrition, and changing hormones. We need to mind our nervous systems now more than ever. 

This burden on your nervous system can take a serious toll on physical, mental and emotional health. 

Brain fog, insomnia, stress and occasional depressed mood can all be indications that your nervous system is overworked and doesn’t have all the support it needs. In addition to lifestyle changes like meditation and mindfulness, nervines help nourish your nervous system to keep you feeling calm and in control. 

What Are Nervines?

Nervines are plants that interact with or nourish your nervous system. It sounds big, but you’re probably already using nervines already. The zing of morning coffee, calming lavender, or a cup of chamomile tea before bed—all nervines. 

As a classification, nervines are expansive. Nervine plants, or plants that support the nervous system, can also be adaptogens or nootropics, and can have other holistic properties as well. 

Many people associate nervines with adaptogens because both can help your body balance stress.

The difference is that adaptogens generally respond to hormones while nervines interact directly with the nervous system

Many of our products incorporate both adaptogens and nervines for a one-two punch of hormonal and nervous-system support. 

Key Benefits: 

Nervine Relaxants - nervine relaxants are plants that affect the nervous system to promote relaxation. These include lavender, chamomile, passionflower, hops, skullcap, and more.

Nervine Stimulants - nervine stimulants stimulate the nervous system, increase focus, and boost cognition. Coffee and tea are the most popular nervine stimulants, but St. John’s wort, ginkgo, and other powerful plants can draw you into focus and improve your mood.

Why We Love Nervines

Many brands look at the components of medicine as isolated compounds that you plug into a formula to address isolated symptoms. This ignores the holistic powers of plants, and the connectedness of the human body! 

Our approach is informed by a holistic look at the way nature and our bodies really work — with phytoestrogens, adaptogens, nervines and nutritive herbs working together. This means that we formulate products wherein the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 

Traditional Uses:

Nervines are a relatively new classification, but plants that nourish the nervous system have been used for millennia, all over the world. 

Wile Products With Nervines

All Wile products tap into the power of nervines, but if you’re looking for specific nervous-system support you can check out these centering, restorative formulas:

Things to Know about Nervines:

Nervines are generally considered very safe to consume, but it’s always safe to check any contraindications of individual plants when you start using them. 

With all medicinal herbs, it’s important to use high-quality ingredients like the ones in Wile products so that you know they’ll be both potent and safe. After all, if it’s powerful enough to affect your body and your nervous system, it’s worth getting the good stuff!

Clinical Research
  • Sethiya, Neeraj K., Alok Nahata, Pawan Kumar Singh, and S. H. Mishra. “Neuropharmacological Evaluation on Four Traditional Herbs Used as Nervine Tonic and Commonly Available as Shankhpushpi in India.” Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine 10, no. 1 (2019): 25–31.
  • Jana. “Understanding Nervines & Adaptogens: Herbs for Stress & the Nervous System,” n.d.
  • Jones, Laura. “Nervines and Adaptogens: Naturopathic Choices for Anxiety, Stress & the Nervous System.” Whole Health Concord, March 16, 2020.
  • Wilson, Debra Rose. “All About Nervine Tonics.” Healthline, October 27, 2020. Accessed March 1, 2023.

Image Credit: Annie Spratt via Unsplash


This article is intended for informational purposes and is not intended to replace a one-on-one medical consultation with a professional. Wile, Inc researches and shares information and advice from our own research and advisors. We encourage every woman to research, ask questions and speak to a trusted health care professional to make her own best decisions.
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