How are you helping your customers during the pandemic?

If you have a retail store, you’re probably cleaning like mad, creating special shopping hours for seniors, and helping your employees with personal protective equipment. You might even be delivering product or offering curb-side pick-up. If you’re a wholesaler or manufacturer, you’re probably doing some of the same.

Have you thought about which products to highlight besides immune-enhancers?

Many people are dealing with stress, anxiety, fear and grief. Stress-relieving herbs may be exactly what your customers need right now.

Basically, there are two categories of herbs that help relieve the burden on our nervous and immune systems.

Adaptogens and Nervines

Adaptogens are herbs that increase resistance and resilience to stress, enabling the body to adapt around the problem and avoid reaching collapse.  Adaptogens work by supporting the adrenal glands, a twin set of organs responsible for helping your body respond to stress, cope with it, and survive it.  Yet, how you bounce back from the stress of an illness, a devastating accident, heartbreak or disappointment, all depends on the health and efficiency of your adrenal glands.

The word adaptogen was coined by the Russian scientist Dr. Nicolai Lazarev in 1947 to name a remedy that helps the body cope with all kinds of stresses such as trauma, sleeplessness, injury, depression, psychological stress, environmental stress, radiation, and infection.

According to Lazarev, a medicinal substance must fulfill three criteria in order to be classed as an adaptogen:

  1. It must cause only minimal disorders in the body’s physiological functions.
  2. It must increase the body’s resistance to adverse influences not by a specific action but by a wide range of physical, chemical, and biochemical factors.
  3. It must have an overall normalizing effect, improving all kinds of conditions and aggravating none.

Botanist and fourth-generation herbalist Christopher Hobbs adds to that definition:

In general, adaptogens work by:

  1. Supporting the adrenal function, thus counteracting the adverse effects of stress
  2. Enabling the body’s cells to have access to more energy
  3. Helping cells to eliminate toxic byproducts of the metabolic process
  4. Providing an anabolic (building-up) effect, hence the use of adaptogens by body-builders
  5. Helping the body to utilize oxygen more efficiently
  6. Enhancing and speeding the proper regulation of bio-rhythms


According to David Hoffmann, a leading herbalist and spokesperson for a return to herbal medicines, a nervine is a plant remedy that has a beneficial effect upon the nervous system in some way.  Nervines are especially useful during times of stress because they have a strong relaxing and calming effect without producing a dulling, “hang-over” side effect.  They also tone and restore the nervous system to a more balanced state.  Some nervines are also anti-spasmodic, meaning they relax the peripheral nerves and the muscle tissue, which in turn has a relaxing effect on the whole system.

The main types of nervines are tonics, relaxants, and stimulants.

  • Nervine Tonics – are fundamental to any long-term change in the individual’s ability to cope with their lives and make changes to their health regimen and lifestyle. They are particularly helpful for strengthening the nervous system and restoring balance. In addition to having a relaxing effect, they appear to have a vaso-dilating action on the blood vessels of the brain.  This increases oxygen availability to brain cells and helps with mental agility and mood.
  • Nervine Relaxants – are especially beneficial for short-term use, for example in treating mild depression or acute anxiety. “This group of nervines are most important in times of stress and confusion, alleviating many of the accompanying symptoms. They should always be used in a broad holistic way, not simply to tranquilize.  Too much tranquilizing, even that achieved through herbal medication, can in time deplete and weigh heavily on the whole nervous system,” says Hoffman.
  • Nervine Stimulants– are used as a restorative “pick-me-up” when the individual needs an energetic boost without that revved up feeling produced by caffeine.

For more information about specific herbs that you might want to feature in an end cap, or in your product line, contact me today. I’d be happy to help with copy writing and/or recommendations about how to rejuvenate the adrenal glands and boost the entire immune system with adaptogens, and how to calm the nerves with stress-relieving nervine herbs.

To your health and wellness,

Barbra Cohn




  1. Hobbs, Christopher. Stress and Natural Healing: Herbal Medicine & Natural Therapies. Interweave Press, 1997.
  2. Hoffman, David. New Holistic Herbal. Harper Collins, 1994.
  3. Tierra, Michael. Planetary Herbology. Lotus Press, 1988.



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