One of the most amazing aspects of herbalism is that it acknowledges healing as a holistic process, which helps mind, body, and spirit to move toward alignment. Herbalists and traditional healers know that stress and life perspective greatly impact our health and that every fiber of our being is interconnected. While stress is considered an emotional state that many of us struggle with in the 21stcentury, it also affects us physically. For this reason, understanding and supporting our nervous system is a key element to any protocol for healing.
Introducing the Nervous System
Generally speaking, the nervous system consists of two major systems—the Central Nervous System(CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). Our CNS, which includes the brain and the spinal cord, is our main command center. It’s what helps us process information and decide how to respond to inputs, whether your body is responding to a stressful week at work or a frightening car accident.
The Peripheral Nervous System encompasses the nerves that branch out from the brain and spinal cord to help your body communicate, as well as all the sensory and motor neurons. Sensory neurons collect information on what we’re feeling and send it to the brain, while motor neurons signal information to the tissues through the transmission of nerve impulses. These neurons are some of the longest living cells in your body; they are irreplaceable and can conceivably live for an entire lifetime. These durable cells need an abundance of nutrition, as much of the food you eat is used as fuel for the brain.