A nerve tonic, a medicine that acts therapeutically upon the nerves, particularly in the sense of a sedative that serves to calm ruffled nerves.

The word nervine comes from the Latin nervinus, belonging to a sinew. Nervine travelled across the Channel from France to 17th-century England. There it was first applied to the sinews. That is not illogical because the Latin nervinus derives from nervus meaning “a sinew, tendon, thong, string (as a bowstring), or wire.” In ancient anatomy the Romans (and Greeks) did not distinguish between and tendons and nerves. The name “nervus” referred to any white cordlike structure, whether it be a band of connective tissue or a fiber in the nervous system.

(I must admit I did not know the word “nervine” myself. I came upon it in a diabolically difficult Saturday New York Times crossword — they get progressively harder fro Monday to Saturday. The clue was “Soothing medicine.” There were 7 spaces to be filled. The answer proved to be NERVINE. I found it was not in most standard desktop dictionaries nor in many medical dictionaries. — Editor)

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  • Nervous colon syndrome

    A common gastrointestinal disorder involving an abnormal condition of gut contractions (motility) characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, mucous in stools, and irregular bowel habits with alternating diarrhea and constipation, symptoms that tend to be chronic and to wax and wane over the years. Although the disorder can cause chronic recurrent discomfort, it does not lead […]

  • Nervous system, autonomic

    the sympathetic nervous system, which accelerates the heart rate, constricts blood vessels, and raises blood pressure, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles.

  • Nervous system, central (CNS)

    That part of the nervous system that consists of the brain and spinal cord. The central nervous system (CNS) is one of the two major divisions of the nervous system. The other is the peripheral nervous system (PNS), that part of the nervous system that lies outside the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous […]

  • Nervous system, human

    The sum total of the tissues that record and distribute information within a person, and does so by electrical and chemical means. The nervous system has two distinct parts — central and peripheral. The central part is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Together they are the central nervous system (CNS). The peripheral […]

  • Nervous system, parasympathetic

    The part of the involuntary nervous system that serves to slow the heart rate, increase intestinal and glandular activity, and relax the sphincter muscles. The parasympathetic nervous system, together with the sympathetic nervous system, constitutes the autonomic nervous system.

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