Herbs for Stress Symptoms: Learn How to Use Herbal Medicines Safely & Effectively (5 CE Contact Hour Course for Nurses)
Are you a nurse or nurse practitioner who regularly sees patients? What do you say to patients who share with you that they are using herbal medicine for symptoms of stress, anxiety, tension or insomnia? Western herbalism is not typically taught to nurses and yet it is widely used in the general public and has become a massive industry with little regulation.
This course prepares nurses to meet a growing demand from the public for information about the safe use of 13 herbs to support the management of chronic stress. Nurses can integrate this herbal information into their practice and recommend the safest and most effective herbal medications for their patients suffering from stress and it’s symptoms.
Nurses facing exhaustion and burnout can also use this information for their own self-care and share it with their colleagues.
Safety and evidence-based use are emphasized to help nurses become a trusted source of information in a field with many streams of misinformation. In this way, it will help prepare advanced practice nurses for the herbal portion of the AHNCC holistic nursing certification exam.
The 13 herbs presented in this course are:
Passionflower, Lemon balm, Valerian root, Skullcap, Kava kava, Hops, Chamomile, Tulasi, Ashwagandha, Gotu kola, Rhodiola, St. John's wort and Panax ginseng.
Who Is this CE Course for?
This course is designed for nurses who want to build a toolkit of useful, easy-to-find herbs to offer patients who are suffering from symptoms of chronic stress. Many patients will be grateful they found a nurse who's well-informed and willing to talk to them about their options. Nurses facing exhaustion and burnout can also use this information for their own self-care or share it with their colleagues.
Why Is this CE Course Important for Nurses?
As Western medicine becomes more integrated with complementary and alternative modalities, it is the nurse's responsibility to offer holistic treatment plans. Herbal medicine is an elegant modality that gives nurses and patients a safe, gentle alternative to using pharmaceuticals. Nurses can integrate this herbal information into their practice and recommend the safest and most effective herbal medications for their patients suffering from stress and it’s symptoms.
Learn How to Incorporate Herbs into Your Self-care
Nursing is one of the most stressful occupations in our country. Of course, it is also one of the most rewarding, but that meaningful perk does not come without a toll. Nurses were feeling the effects of stress, burnout, and even PTSD before the onset of the COVID crisis. Now the stress has expanded exponentially. Everywhere we are seeing social media posts about self-care, meditation, and stress reduction because the art of calming the nervous system and mindfully releasing tension has never been more relevant.
Holistic nurses have been promoting stress-reducing modalities for decades and are now being seen as experts in this area. The instructor of this course, Nicole Griffis, APRN-BC, HNP, is a holistic nurse practitioner, integrative health coach, and student of Western herbalism who would like to share her approach to self-care that brings in herbal allies that enrich our experience of well-being and reduce the effects of stress.
Nicole writes: "My experiences giving care, receiving care, and learning from my body and healers have helped me to focus on the many ways that healing is available to anyone who is ready to quiet their mind, listen to their body, and trust their spirit. After suffering with severe neck pain for many years, I feel so fortunate to be able to return to my career and use my experience to help others transform their suffering into clarity and peace. One way I do this is by educating others on how herbal medicine can help ease the symptoms of chronic stress, anxiety, tension, and insomnia. I do not suggest using herbs alone, but making them a part of a holistic plan that encompasses relaxation and stress reduction techniques, gentle movement, healthy diet, and adequate rest. I was the toughest patient I have ever had, what I learned from my journey is invaluable to me.
One of my favorite ways is using strong herbal tea. I like to use dried herbs in a tea infuser, I pour the boiling water over and let it steep for about 15 minutes. This is part of my self-care ritual, so I don’t check my texts and multitask while the tea is steeping. I sit with my cup and use my senses, feeling the warmth in my hands, smelling the earthy aroma of the herb as it infuses its vibrancy into the water. I may use this time to do some reflective reading or writing or listen to meditative music. After the tea is cool enough to drink, I sip it slowly, with my eyes closed. I let the smell and taste flood my senses and feel the warmth flooding my belly. With every sip, I envision the calming, healing effects the tea is bringing to the areas of my body that need it most. I ready myself for sleep or meditation or a bath. This tea is meant to mark the beginning of my time to wind down and let go. By this time I can feel that my heart rate has slowed, my breathing is cleansing and even, and my mind, while always chattering, is not so quick to pull me into stressful stories."
There are so many ways herbs can enhance self-care ritual. Herbal baths are divine! Throw a handful of calming dried herbs into an old sock with some Epsom salts, tie it up and put it in your bath. Set the stage to your liking: candles, lights out, music, or silence. Calming aromatic herbs can be sewn into an eye pillow to use during your restful meditations. Herbal salves can be mindfully rubbed into tired and stressed muscles. Herbal tea bags placed on areas of inflammation. Aromatics engage the senses and keep you in the present. Calming herbs release your ever-vigilant nervous system. Visualize the herbs growing in a dewy forest, soaking up the glowing sunlight and nourishment from the earth. Feel the wisdom of the earth perfusing your body physically and energetically. Herbs cannot get rid of your stress or solve your problems, no more than deep breathing or antidepressants can, but they can ease your load, help you take a break, and give you a way to keep going.
Learn How to Incorporate Herbs into Your Nursing Practice
One of the herbs featured in this course is chamomile. Contemporary scientific data supports what traditional herbalists have known about chamomile for centuries. In one systematic review published in 2016, the phytochemical constituents of chamomile were analyzed and affirmed to show antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidepressive, angiogenic, anticarcinogenic, analgesic, hepatoprotective, antidiabetic, and antidiarrheal activities. There have been multiple small clinical trials published that support the use of chamomile in treating generalized anxiety disorder in healthy adults for up to 12 weeks. One such study reported improvement in symptoms of depression as secondary measures. No adverse events were reported.
Chamomile also makes a lovely tincture and can be combined with herbs such as fennel and catnip for GI distress. Another approach would be to combine chamomile in a tincture for stress headaches with skullcap. Chamomile would pair nicely with passionflower for a tincture to be taken for anxiety. There are a whole host of possibilities available to the casual and professional herbalist alike. This humble plant with a proud history and impressive biology is a robust ally in treating many common and perturbing ailments for children and adults alike.
Upon completion of the CE course, nurses will be able to:
- Identify 13 herbs that are effective in supporting people suffering from symptoms of chronic stress:
- Lemon balm
- Valerian root
- Kava kava
- Gotu kola
- St. John's wort
- Panax ginseng
- Identify how to use each herb and several combinations of herbs
- Describe safety considerations and contraindications (if any) for each herb
- Describe where to find the safest supplies using established resources
- How long is the course? This is a 5 Contact Hour course.
- What is the schedule for the course? The entire course will be available to you instantly when you enroll. You can enjoy it now and again anytime you choose.
- Is the course live or recorded? This course is recorded and available to you online, on this website, 24/7.
- Why is the course important? Herbal medicine is an elegant modality that gives nurses and patients a safe, gentle alternative to using pharmaceuticals. Nurses can integrate this herbal information into their practice and recommend the safest and most effective herbal medications for their patients suffering from stress and it’s symptoms. Nurses facing exhaustion and burnout can also use this information for their own self-care and share it with their colleagues.
Nicole Griffis, APRN-BC, HNP owns a holistic health and integrative coaching private practice in Austin, TX. Nicole has been a nurse since 1999 and has experience in pediatric intensive care, women’s health, forensic nursing, and primary care. She received masters’ degrees in holistic nursing and adult health from New York University College of Nursing in 2007. She has expanded her education with studies at the Center for Mind Body Medicine, yoga teacher training, and MBSR training with Jon Kabat-Zinn. She is a member of the American Holistic Nurse Association and the American Herbalist Guild. She completed her nurse coach training with Wisdom of the Whole Coaching Academy and is currently in the clinical track at the Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine in Austin, TX. The goal of her practice is to empower clients to overcome obstacles to healing through the tools offered by holistic nursing, integrative health coaching, and Western herbalism.