Nerve tonic is a homeopathic remedy for stress, developed from formulas used for over 200 years. The tissue salts in nerve tonic are among the twelve basic minerals, salts, and chemicals that occur naturally in the body's blood, bones and even saliva-- these component aid in processing, nourishment and rebuilding tissues. The amount of active ingredient in nerve tonic is extremely small, and side effects are subtle. The usual effects are a mild, temporary aggravation of the original symptoms of the illness being treated, followed by relief of symptoms. This type of response is the premise of homeopathic treatments.


The name homeopathy comes from the Greek words homeo (similar) and pathos (disease or suffering)-- the breakdown of the word homeopathy points to theory for the treatment of disease. In the late 1700s, a German doctor named Samuel Hahnemann tested his theory that a disease could be cured using extremely tiny amounts of a substance that causes symptoms similar to the disease itself. He experimented on himself by taking cinchona bark, which was then used to treat malaria. He was healthy, but after taking the bark he developed malaria-like symptoms. From there, Hahnemann developed treatments based on patients' symptoms, using extremely diluted compounds -- and the beginnings of homeopathic medicine was born.


Homeopathic remedies are prepared by painstakingly diluting mineral salts. Water is added in small increments in several steps. The formula is shaken after each addition of more water. When the process is complete, there a minuscule of active tissue salt remains. Homeopathic practitioners maintain that the compound leaves an imprint within the diluted water that will stimulate healing in the body.


The amount of active ingredient contained in each homeopathic pill is so minute that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has struggled to develop methods to test its effectiveness. That being said, the FDA does regulate homeopathic compounds for purity of ingredients and accurate labeling, using the same over-the-counter (OTC) standards that apply to other OTC products.


Nerve tonic is most often used to provide calming, soothing, relaxation (wherever you go!) of nerves and pain relief. Scientific experiments cannot be performed on such minuscule amounts of active ingredients, so there is no objective way to prove or disprove efficacy. The positive and negative effects for homeopathic medicines can only be measured based on each patient's own experience.

Reported Side Effects

Researchers at the Federal University of Uberlandia in Brazil conducted a study of reports in English from 1970 to 1995 detailing any adverse results from homeopathic medicines. They found only minor and transient negative side effects, usually an aggravation of the original symptoms. The researchers concluded that such formulations were "probably safe and unlikely to provoke severe adverse reactions."


Whatever mineral salts remain when the nerve tonic has been diluted are added to a base of milk sugar (also known as lactose) and rolled into small round tablets. The lactose base is inert, causing no known effects on the body. An average nerve tonic dose contains less than 200 milligrams of milk sugar. This amount is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in those who are lactose intolerant because it usually takes 5,000 milligrams of lactose to trigger symptoms. However, those who have been diagnosed as allergic to any lactose should consult a health-care professional before taking lactose-based homeopathic products.

The FDA has had no reports of harmful interactions with conventional drugs. However, those who are taking prescription medications may wish to discuss any possible drug interactions with their doctor. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or considering giving nerve tonic to very young children may also want to consult with their health-care provider before consuming nerve tonic.

About the Author

Lynne Murray

Lynne Murray has over 40 years writing experience, with publications including mystery novels and an interview with Darlene Cates, of "What's Eating Gilbert Grape." Murray received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from San Francisco State University. She's conducted workshops at the Open Education Exchange and Southwestern Writers Conference.