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Mercury is the messenger of the gods, the planet that links and makes connections. In medical astrology, Mercury is the natural ruler of the nervous system. Its position in an individualís horoscope is a significant indicator of the health and resilience of their nervous system and how they will cope with stress.

The nervous system carries information regarding the condition of the body to the brain. It then processes it and carries back instructions from the brain to the rest of the body regarding function. Mercury oversees the sifting and synthesis of information, and is the common linking factor between the systems of the body. The mechanism of breathing is also ruled by Mercury.

Mercurial Disorders

Mercury disorders are the nervous disorders, both physical and mental, from neurological disorders where disease affects the brain and nervous system disturbing its normal function, to situations where the ill health is more of a mental nature, disrupting the nervous state of the individual.

Neurological disorders range from vertigo, convulsions, paralysis, sciatica, Parkinsonís and respiratory complaints. Nervous disorders tend toward communication and learning problems as well as to anxiety and nervousness. Obviously, Mercury being the planet of connections, there is frequently an overlap between nervous and neurological disturbances.

Mercuryís Health Impact Through the Signs

The sign that Mercury occupies in the natal chart is indicative of specific nervous system weaknesses to be alert for. Its position can also indicate what remedial measures will be most effective in prevention or treatment. To find out what sign Mercury occupies in your birth chart, go to the StarIQ members page. (If you are not already a member you will need to register and enter your birth data.) To see what health issues and therapies can be associated with your Mercury placement, click here.

Mercury Aspects in the Horoscope

Mercury has a chameleon-like quality and easily takes on the color of any planet it aspects. The messages Mercury conveys can easily be distorted by its contacts, leading the brain to process inaccurate information and transmit inappropriate commands. Click here to see a table of Mercury aspects and their associated nervous functions.

Nervines for Mercury/Nervous System Problems

Now that you know a little more about how Mercury and the nerves interact, and what Mercury influences exist in your own birth chart, Iíd like to look at nervines to help support the nervous system. Remember to consult with a doctor, naturopath or herbal practitioner to ensure that you are taking the appropriate doses of nervines and herbs.

Even without a medical background, an astrologer can confidently improve a clientís well-being with the suggestion they consider the use of a gentle nervine tea. Nervines are herbs that support the nervous system. Nervines not only strengthen the nerves, but also support a process of discrimination and prioritizing of information. In this age of information explosion, most of us suffer from an overload of media assault, from TV to the Internet. Nervines support memory and encourage healthy sleep patterns, reduce reactivity to external stressors and strengthen the immune system.

Some common and safe nervines to recommend in tea form are the sedative nervines such as balm, chamomile, hops, lime blossom and lavender. These exert a calming effect on the central nervous system, and are frequently used in formulas for nervousness, sleeplessness and mild anxiety.

More Potent Nervines

A medically-oriented astrologer will be particularly alert for stresses to the nervous system indicated by astrological configurations involving Sun, Moon and/or Ascendant in Gemini or Virgo, or with challenging aspects (squares, oppositions, semi-squares and quincunxes) from Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto or Chiron to Gemini/Virgo placements or to Mercury.

Beyond the use of simple herbal teas, more concentrated forms of herbs such as tinctures, tablets and extracts may be needed during periods of extreme stress to the nervous system. This is another place where the skills of the astrologer come to the fore. An astrologer can predict when to expect periods of heightened stress, and most usefully, when they will let up. A properly chosen and applied program of nervous system support can mitigate stress to the system during times of aggravation by tonifying the nervous system ahead of time.


Tinctures are concentrated forms of herbs that enter the system quickly and efficiently, either taken directly in the mouth by drops, or mixed with water for taste. Although they frequently have an alcohol base (used not only to preserve the medicine but also as a significant part of the extraction process), the alcohol can be easily dispersed by placing the drops in hot water and letting them sit for five minutes. Alternatively, glycerine-based tinctures are becoming more and more popular, though they may be slightly weaker. They are used in many childrenís formulas, and can be helpful for elderly or debilitated clients, as well as for recovering alcoholic patients.

Analgesic or Pain-Relieving Treatments

Analgesic nervines such as Roman chamomile help reduce nerve or muscle pain. These might be particularly relevant with Mercury-Mars or Mercury-Pluto configurations. Valerian is a stronger analgesic, though it should not be used for long periods due to a cumulative depressant effect upon the central nervous system over time.

Sedative or Ralaxant Nervines

Sedative or relaxant nervines are those that reduce anxiety and have a calming effect on the central nervous system. Hops, valerian, lavender, kava kava and California poppy are particularly good relaxants. These are frequently used in formulas for nervousness, sleeplessness and mild anxiety. They are particularly indicated with Mercury-Uranus, Mercury-Mars and Mercury-Jupiter configurations.

Care with the Stimulants

Stimulating nervines such as kola nut, coffee bean and black and green tea are frequently used and misused to keep someone going. They enhance mental and physical performance and reduce fatigue, but have a number of side effects when overused and can be involved in causing anxiety and tension. It is usually better to use treatments that stimulate the bodyís innate vitality. To create a deeper and more lasting effect, they are best used in combination with adrenal supports such as gotu kola or gingko. See also the comment on oat below.

Anxiety-Relieving Nervines

All the nervine relaxants will ease anxiety and tension, though their effectiveness varies with each individual constitution. Kava kava is currently quite popular for anxiety, though ladyís slipper and skullcap are also quite effective. Consider these when observing a Mercury-Uranus or Mercury-Saturn placement.

Excellent Overall Nervous System Tonics

The best overall tonic nervines are oat and passion flower, which can be used for extended periods of time to help nourish and support the function of the entire nervous system. Either of these can be used in combination with relaxants, stimulants or any other indicated remedy to feed nervous tissue. Oats nourish the nervous system in any form, including old-fashioned oatmeal. A person with a prominent Mercury or significant planets in Gemini, Virgo, Libra or Aquarius will be particularly responsive to long-term tonic use of oat or passion flower.

In the concluding part of this series on Mercury and its impact on health, I will discuss the use of energetic medicines, including homeopathy, flower essences and aromatherapy in treatment of Mercurial/nervous system disorders.

Editorís note: The health information given in this article is not meant as a substitute for care from a qualified physician. This information is given for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe. is not responsible for any mishaps that occur as a result of using this information.


Gretchen Lawlor, N.D. is an astrologer and naturopath.

Send an email to the author.

For more information about Gretchen Lawlor, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Gretchen Lawlor:

  • Astrology and Diet Part Two   6/22/2013
  • Astrology and Diet Part 1   6/15/2013
  • Your Health and Moon Sign   11/24/2004
  • Mercury, the Nervous System and Energy Medicine   10/2/2000
  • What Can Medical Astrology Do for You?   2/21/2000

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