women laughing outside
Featured Products
Wine Down™
Wine Down™
Red Wine Alternative
Take the Edge Off®
Take the Edge Off®
Stress + Tension Support
Chill the F* Out™
Chill the F* Out™
Stress Support
Mind Over Matter®
Mind Over Matter®
Focus + Cognition Support
Stop chasing a fleeting buzz from booze, and experience lasting bliss with herbs.

“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”

At the end of the day, we all just want to feel good. However, there are many ways to go after those feel-good vibes—some are healthy, and some, are not so much. Although alcohol can make you feel more relaxed or euphoric in the moment, later there’s often a price to pay—in subtle or not-so-subtle ways. There’s a reason why we call the influence of alcohol “intoxication”. You’re drinking a toxin that floods your system with mind-altering effects that force your liver to work overtime to break down toxic compounds and remove them from your body.

Booze Messes with the Nervous System

In addition to the burden alcohol places on your liver, it can also mess with your neurotransmitters, the chemicals that relay messages in the brain and nervous system. GABA is a key neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the brain and helps regulate stress levels. Alcohol consumption temporarily increases GABA release in the brain, which contributes to the sedative effects sometimes associated with drinking. However, the increase in GABA triggered by alcohol is only temporary and tapers off as the liver breaks it down. This can lead to a rebound effect, causing a dip in GABA below normal levels after drinking1. And with long-term alcohol use, the sensitivity of GABA receptors can become blunted as tolerance develops—making them less sensitive over time2. GABA receptors also occur along pain pathways and can play a role in pain perception3. Sleeplessness and feelings of stress and worry are all linked to low GABA levels. It’s kind of a buzzkill.

Nervine Herbs Support a Healthy Nervous System

On the other hand, herbs—especially those that herbalists refer to as “nervines”—can help take the edge off, while supporting overall nervous system health. Instead of disrupting healthy neurochemistry, nervine herbs primarily affect the nervous system and may help to switch from the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode) to the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest mode). Since the nervous system is closely connected to other body systems, nervines can also bring secondary benefits such as soothing digestive discomfort, helping ease pain, and providing nutritional and immune support. Our Wine Down™ formula features nervine herbs for pain and immunity.

Nervines that are considered calming, relaxants, sedatives, or hypnotics like linden, passionflower, or blue vervain can offer relatively quick support to the nervous system and may help to soothe hyperactivity or an overactive mind. These nervines can increase parasympathetic nervous system activity and bring a sense of calm that’s great for soothing irritability and stress throughout the day. Herbs and foods that are rich in L-theanine (found naturally in green tea), or high in magnesium may also enhance the calming effects of GABA. Sedative or hypnotic nervines like California poppy can have a stronger effect and are best enjoyed in the evening when you want to wind down and ease into restful sleep. Wine Down™ contains California poppy lending itself to evening relaxation and pain support benefits.

Nervine herbs can also offer gentle, long-term support for the nervous system in situations where there is deep-rooted stress, anxiety, burnout, or trauma. This type of nervine is sometimes called a tonic or trophorestorative, and includes herbs like oatstraw, ashwagandha, skullcap, and lion’s mane. Nervine tonics like these work slowly, subtly, and deeply to tone, restore, and rejuvenate your nervous system. They nourish the nerves by helping to restore functionality, integrity, and resiliency. Thanks to their gentle and cumulative effects, the longer you take nervine tonics, the stronger the benefits, much like adaptogens. Some herbs can act both as adaptogens and nervines, like ashwagandha or lion’s mane. Although their effects are often more subtle than sedative or hypnotic nervines, trophorestoratives have a long-lasting impact on the nervous system and provide support for fatigue, mood, and stress. Our stress support tonics, Take the Edge Off®, Chill the F* Out™, and Mind Over Matter® feature herbs like oatstraw, ashwagandha, and lion's mane. Making them great formulas for calm focus and relaxation.

Move Away from the Quick Buzz and Towards Deeper Bliss

By choosing more natural and nourishing approaches to finding your bliss, you can reduce the harm that comes with the short-term buzz of alcohol. Balancing GABA levels with nervine herbs can help induce longer-lasting feelings of calm, increased attention, improved sleep quality, and elevated mood. Nervine herbs can be powerful allies to support a balanced nervous system, so you can relax and ditch the booze. Check out our herbal alcohol alternatives and stress support collections for blissful alternatives to alcohol.

  1. https://doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/ags078 (https://doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/ags078

  2. https://doi.org/10.1007%2Fs00213-009-1562-z

  3. https://doi.org/10.1177/1744806919847366

Vanessa Mardones, PhD

Written by Vanessa Mardones, PhD

Herbalist & Ethnobotanist