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stimulating the vagus nerve

 
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Chronic health conditions such as Arthritis can keep the body in stress mode. The body can be stuck in cell danger response this prevents healing as the body sends inflammation, etc that is intended to fight the bad guy, and it just keeps on sending more and more and more.

Another example, if I am understanding this correctly, would be the plaque that is thought to cause alzhiemers. The plaque is actually a protective substance, but it is over produced, causing too much plaque, and interferes with the communication of brain cells, resulting in loss of memory and so on...

I recently heard that stimulation of the vagus nerve, the ventral side can switch on the healing. Stimulation of the dorsal side can trigger the cell danger response.
https://drarielleschwartz.com/natural-vagus-nerve-stimulation-dr-arielle-schwartz/

Dr. Arielle Schwartz says that


The vagus nerve is essential for keeping your immune system in-check. There is a close connection between chronic stress, immune functioning, and inflammation. In brief, short-term activation of your sympathetic nervous system releases of cortisols and helps keep your immune system at healthy levels. Long-term stress suppresses immunity. However, chronic traumatic stress has an inverse reaction, leaving your immune system unchecked which leads to inflammation in the body (you can read more here in my blog on chronic stress and disease).
Activation of the vagus nerve keeps your immune system in check and releases an assortment of hormones and enzymes such as acetylcholine and oxytocin. This results in reductions in inflammation, improvements in memory, and feelings of relaxation. Vagus nerve stimulation has also been shown to reduce allergic reactions and tension headaches.



Any herbals that can help with this as well?
 
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Joylynn,

I am not exactly certain that you would want to deliberately stimulate the vagus nerve.  Doing so would cause you to become violently ill.  The vagus nerve is what connects your brain stem to your stomach & gut, largely for the purposes of finding toxins one ingested before they can be absorbed.  Stimulation tends to cause nausea and vomiting.

Eric
 
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I think what you are trying to do is support the parasympathetic mode that allows rest and repair to take place in the body rather than sympathetic mode.  This is usually done by use of meditation/prayer, methods of relaxation such as gardening, tai chi, Qi Gong, walking in nature, etc. I bet you already know this.

Things shown to mildly enhance vagal activity:
Breathing slow deep breaths has been shown to activate the vagal nerve:  inhale less than exhale which is why a breath of relief works as when you have a breath of relief you inhale less time than exhale.
inhaling to  count of 3 and exhale count of 5. Immediately can activate vagus and lower BP
Singing loudly
Gargling
Gagging yourself - Does not sound like fun

You are concerned about the cell danger response which is initiated by the mitochondria (energy producers in cell that are thought to be ancient bacteria). They are thought when under extreme stress to release ATP and other chemicals outside of themselves due to their outer membrane breaking down. This is what sends out the signal of there being a danger in the body. This can be from pathogens in the body or it can be from chronic stress of toxins etc. The idea is not proven but sure answers a lot of questions people have had about stress and various illnesses. To support the mitochondria, I suggest adaptogens as most of them have been shown in research to support the mitochondrial activity and protect them so that cell danger response does not take place. Do they help after the damage is done? I have not found that research yet. I do use them for people who have damaged the mitochondria due to using fluoroquinolones or from mycotoxins etc. though. They are part of a larger plan to support the mitochondria.

Most of us do spend too much time in sympathetic mode and not enough in parasympathetic mode. This is showing up as chronic disease.
 
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What's about Tarragon ? This was the one I had advised to my mother who had vagal issues and it allowed her to come out of some symptoms spasmophilia type. And she would use lavender in bed, just smelling it. Marjoram seem to also have some influence on the nervous system.

I know the work of Ariel Schwartz and also you can find Veronique Mead's writing about the cell danger response, CDR. The water of the cell seem to act at the cell level as the ANS at body level.

Vagus nerve "stimulation" is becoming better known, but it is a little part of the story, as the goal is to resync both SNS and PNS, and the vagus is considered a PNS nerve, parasympathetic. You can stimulate by singing or even just huming, and find many breathing recipes with longer exhales, but the main information they often forget is to tell you to listen to the reaction of the body and follow what the body feels after doing exercices! The main part is not to direct the exercices but to let your body express itself and follow the yin and yang alternance of SNS and PNS. Also, what we experience in the present is often a mix with past memories and it can complicate things.

Understanding can help manage, having grounding and relaxing activities too, and then it is better to work with a somatic practitionner to go further, because the relationship is important in the work.
 
Sharol Tilgner
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For anyone wanting to know more about cell danger response, I suggest you look up the research and writings of Dr. Robert Naviaux who first discovered it and coined the term.

There are herbs that relax the body and they can do it in different methods. Anything that relaxes us will put us into a parasympathetic mode (rest and digest mode). Lavender and many of the other nervines that induce relaxation are though many mechanisms. For instance reuptake of monoamines, affecting the receptor binding and channel transporter activity, and other methods of modulating nerve cell communication or hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis. Some of the most common methods are agonist activity on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors or on glutamate receptors as an antagonist. One herb can actually act to calm the body on many different levels. We really don't have a great idea of how this is all acting. Just bits and pieces of research showing possible pathways and actions on possible organ systems.

Yes, it use to be that vagus stimulation was only available by inserting probes into the body. Now it can be done externally with machines.  I don't usually recommend this as there are easier ways to support parasympathetic mode. Yes, if someone has bad ideas about singing because they were beat as a kid while singing or some such thing, singing loud will not be a good way to stimulate the vagus nerve as it will probably be more likely to increase a sympathetic fear response due to the old feelings.

For people stuck in bad patterns their are methods to break those too.
 
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A quick way to stimulate the vague nerve is to "hmph!" Basically, it is like a short forceful hum made through your nose with your mouth closed. It is a sound typically made when people spontaneously express frustration. If you have time and privacy, you cam also stimulate it with pressure inside the rectum. That tactic was used to cure a previously intractable case of the hiccups.
 
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Micha Harris wrote:A quick way to stimulate the vague nerve is to "hmph!" Basically, it is like a short forceful hum made through your nose with your mouth closed. It is a sound typically made when people spontaneously express frustration. If you have time and privacy, you cam also stimulate it with pressure inside the rectum. That tactic was used to cure a previously intractable case of the hiccups.



Oh, I know the reaction well.

Doing it intentionally actually sounds exactly like a diaphragm-strengthening exercise used in singing.

I sing. It does all I need in my day-to-day, but I also like walks in nature. There is apparently a reflexive reaction by the body in response to the chemical compounds that make up the smell of forest floor decomposition that lowers the blood pressure, too.

-CK
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:I recently heard that stimulation of the vagus nerve, the ventral side can switch on the healing. Stimulation of the dorsal side can trigger the cell danger response.

Any herbals that can help with this as well?


I had to come back to it... The Autonomic Nervous system or ANS is a little bit my specialty...
What triggers the CDR is not the vagus but an aggressor, an insult on the body. And the first reaction will be from the sympathetic nervous system, SNS.

The ANS does not work the same in danger or in security. So no branch of the ANS is good or bad. We need them to work adequately with the environment and the defense we eventually need to do. But 1st and foremost, the Autonomic Nervous System is the chief of our orchestra and the basis of our pyramid. It allows us to live. So the sympathetic system, SNS, is action, and the vagus is the brake, it is parasympathetic, PNS. We have a special branch called ventral vagal or VV, responsible for social engagement, and this is one of our best potential for healing and co-regulating (never bash sheep any more now!). And the dorsal branch is mainly responsible for digestion and the immune system.

All parts of our ANS work when we are secure or when we are in danger, but differently.

Action is SNS, so it helps to just live and move, then sport, and the most intense is when you need to save your life. So of course it has been associated with the fight and flight response. So we can say that the CDR is actually coming from the stimulation of the SNS. So why the dorsal vagus there? Because if the SNS stays high too long, the electric wiring becomes too hot and the body does not like it, so it sends the hand brake over our accelerator pedal! This is what is called the freeze response. What is frozen? The sympathetic activation. So it is very energy demanding and cannot be maintained too long without being tiring.

Now what can we do? The first is to do whatever we can to remove the insult or insults. They cumulate, so for example if a person is ill and says to be bothered by light or sounds or whatever, believing and doing the necessary will be fundamental. By the way kindness will also also help through the social engagement system, and being alone is not the best to recover. How to give an efficient support is natural for some persons, but mistakes are very frequent because we have not learned. Being calm and grounded and loving and present is just what is needed. Giving support is to lend our ANS to a person whose system is very busy, and it does not go through our mental mind, so the best is to not be in the way and trust the unconscious ANS does its job.

So before adding plants, sometimes we have to remove them!

We should have defenses against plant toxins, but what if we lack them? Veronique Mead from chronic illness studies used the carnivore diet for some time, and Phil Escott who cured his psoriasis / rheumatoid arthritis is still on a zero carb diet because there is almost no plant he does not react to. As long as he stays on a carnivore diet, he feels good and healthy (he used to be vegetarian and vegan for some time). Veronique is trained in Somatic Experiencing and was an MD. Phil used Hannah Somatics. It is all about the ANS!

We absolutely can react to plants, and we have to find out if this is the case, and thus we can remove some burden on the body, digestion etc. Then go for bacterias, virus, parasites, fungi... as they are all micro-agressors that can be forgotten when we think about the importance of past trauma. Yes, but let's not forget present trauma!

Then, stress affects digestion and the immune system, as both depends on the PNS, the dorsal branch of the vagus. It means that stomach acid might be diminished, so bitters will be useful. The vagus will even be stimulated by the taste itself in the mouth! Lemon juice and cider vinegar also help when we need more acidity.

Another plant is active on the vagus, ginger. This is why it is used in case of nausea, be it car sickness or pregnancy.

Then plants are also active by their smell, and the vagus is accessible in the nose, thus the use of aromatic vapors during meditation!

Quite a few plants are active to calm the nervous system, like the famous chamomilla. Also lavender and citrus like bergamote in tea, basically the smell of the leaves, or zest, or the flower like the famous orange flower called Neroli.
Many herbs smelling like lemon are also used, like melissa, lemon balm, or lippia citriodora, cymbopogon, lemon grass that contains geraniol.
So rose and all smell like a rose, like palmarosa or rose geranium are also calming.
Tarragon and tropical basilic are equivalent, and the basilicum is very much used in India. Also ylang ylang...

Without being so exotic, one of the best calming pant is marjoram!

Eric Hanson wrote:I am not exactly certain that you would want to deliberately stimulate the vagus nerve.  Doing so would cause you to become violently ill.  The vagus nerve is what connects your brain stem to your stomach & gut, largely for the purposes of finding toxins one ingested before they can be absorbed.  Stimulation tends to cause nausea and vomiting.


Some people have good results but others don't, or worse as you noted. Yes overstimulation can make vomit or even pass out. I mentionned that ginger is taken in case of nausea or vomiting: ginger slows the activity of the vagus.
But we have to remember that the main point is the feeling of security or danger, which can persist after danger is actually gone (we fear it can come back).
If stimulating the PNS/vagus manage to lower the SNS side, then it is ok. If the SNS stays high, then stimulating the vagus will obviously create a freeze or dissociative response!
... we all know it, when we feel space out and less present, or even we feel we are in a movie or seeing things from the outside. It is also a natural anesthesia that can buy us time right after an accident!

I hope I have managed to do what most article fail to do: there is no good and bad part in the ANS, and the sympathetic is not "on" only when there is stress, and we do not need to "stimulate" the vagus, except if we mean that we want to help happen the cycle of SNS and PNS, which is very well represented by the wheel of yin and yang. Also, even if we can influence it, the best is to not be in the way and to trust that our body is reacting right. We can also help so much by knowing how this all works, because we understand how to give support from our heart!  
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Thank you everyone. I'll be looking into these suggestions.
 
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The nightshade family of plants are very good at it,  you just have to be very careful.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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S Bengi wrote:The nightshade family of plants are very good at it,  you just have to be very careful.



good at stimulating the vagus ?
 
S Bengi
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The vagus nerve also called the parasympathetic nervous system. It has nicotinic nerve receptors and nicotinic=nicotine=tobacco=nightshade family plant. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanaceae#Alkaloids

Receptors
The parasympathetic nervous system uses chiefly acetylcholine (ACh) as its neurotransmitter, although peptides (such as cholecystokinin) can be used. The ACh acts on two types of receptors, the muscarinic and nicotinic cholinergic receptors. Most transmissions occur in two stages: When stimulated, the preganglionic neuron releases ACh at the ganglion, which acts on nicotinic receptors of postganglionic neurons. The postganglionic neuron then releases ACh to stimulate the muscarinic receptors of the target organ.

Types of muscarinic receptors
The five main types of muscarinic receptors:
The M1 muscarinic receptors (CHRM1) are located in the neural system.
The M2 muscarinic receptors (CHRM2) are located in the heart, and act to bring the heart back to normal after the actions of the sympathetic nervous system: slowing down the heart rate, reducing contractile forces of the atrial cardiac muscle, and reducing conduction velocity of the sinoatrial node and atrioventricular node. They have a minimal effect on the contractile forces of the ventricular muscle due to sparse innervation of the ventricles from the parasympathetic nervous system.
The M3 muscarinic receptors (CHRM3) are located at many places in the body, such as the endothelial cells of blood vessels, as well as the lungs causing bronchoconstriction. The net effect of innervated M3 receptors on blood vessels is vasodilation, as acetylcholine causes endothelial cells to produce nitric oxide, which diffuses to smooth muscle and results in vasodilation. They are also in the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, which help in increasing intestinal motility and dilating sphincters. The M3 receptors are also located in many glands that help to stimulate secretion in salivary glands and other glands of the body. They are also located on the detrusor muscle and urothelium of the bladder, causing contraction.
The M4 muscarinic receptors: Postganglionic cholinergic nerves, possible CNS effects
The M5 muscarinic receptors: Possible effects on the CNS

Types of nicotinic receptors
In vertebrates, nicotinic receptors are broadly classified into two subtypes based on their primary sites of expression: muscle-type nicotinic receptors (N1) primarily for somatic motor neurons; and neuronal-type nicotinic receptors (N2) primarily for autonomic nervous system.[20]

Relationship to sympathetic nervous system
Sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions typically function in opposition to each other. The sympathetic division typically functions in actions requiring quick responses. The parasympathetic division functions with actions that do not require immediate reaction. A useful mnemonic to summarize the functions of the parasympathetic nervous system is SSLUDD (sexual arousal, salivation, lacrimation, urination, digestion and defecation).

The parasympathetic nervous system promotes digestion and the synthesis of glycogen.
 
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