Adaptogens & Nervines – a summary of my presentation

Adaptogens & NervinesA little over a week ago I delivered a presentation on Adaptogens and Nervines at the NHAA Sydney Chapter Meeting. For those who couldn’t attend, here is a quick summary.

Firstly though, a big thanks to the crew who organise the NHAA Sydney Chapter – Joanna Wilson and Jayne Larkins. As with all of the NHAA Chapters, they are regular NHAA Members who volunteer their time and effort to build a local community of herbalists and naturopaths. They get together every month or so and discuss cases, hear presentations from relevant experts, and generally socialise. These meetings are open to all NHAA Members (students or practitioners), and also to non-members, and are well worth attending. As part of my role at the Australasian College of Natural Therapies I have organised for the College to host these meetings free of charge to support the Sydney Chapter, so they are held at the College campus in Pyrmont.

Summary of Presentation

The idea of herbal pairs is an old one, but is often not discussed in Western herbal medicine today. The concept revolves around the power of specific combinations of two or three herbs, in specific scenarios.

Using reliable, targeted herbal pairs to build your formula can result in excellent clinical efficacy. Adaptogens and nervines make for great herbal pairs. Below are 4 of the 12  “perfect pairs” I discussed in the presentation, pairs which I have found particularly effective over almost two decades of clinical experience.

Panax ginseng & Withania somnifera

  • Ratio: 6-9 parts Withania, 1 part Korean Ginseng
  • Properties: builds core vitality without being overstimulating

Withania somnifera & Turnera diffusa

  • Ratio: 2 parts Withania, 1 part Damiana
  • Properties: calming thymoleptic with revitalising qualities

Eleutherococcus senticosus & Withania somnifera

  • Ratio: 3-4 parts Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero), 1 part Withania
  • Properties: promotes the Resistance phase of the General Adaptation Syndrome; helps individuals perform well when under prolonged stress

Hypericum perforatum & Panax ginseng

  • Ratio: 3-4 parts St John’s Wort, 1 part Korean Ginseng
  • Properties: stimulating antidepressant, particularly useful as a component of treatment for severely depressed individuals

Remember that these combinations can form part of your professional prescription, but should be adapted to meet the needs of the individual.



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Copyright Ian Breakspear, 2014