Among the dreadful psychological disorders, stress and anxiety can be given humongous credit. The incidences of stress and anxiety are quite higher in the developed countries. Dissatisfaction and over-expectations in personal and professional lives are the main causes of stress and anxiety. In the outer world, stress, anger, jealousy occur but individuals but they usually end up getting severely affected by it rather than finding a solution to get rid of these negativities.
In today’s world, almost everyone has got the “born to conquer” attitude. There are hardly people who are willing to accept their failures or learn from them. That is why, it is very common to find dissatisfied individuals around. People take their failures and get doomed thinking of the fact they could not achieve their goals, monitory satisfaction, political powers or higher recognition in the society.
Stress and anxiety are explained as causative factors for various ailments. A positive approach in life helps a person to reach pristine heights but a depressed mind brings many diseases apart from the feeling of negativity.
What are the symptoms of stress?
- The primary symptom of stress is the lack of concentration that makes all tasks hugely difficult. There is always a negative feeling which makes things appear much tougher than they really are. Memory power is also weakened due to stress.
- The emotional symptoms include short temper, constant irritability, excessive depression, confining self to loneliness, grimness.
- Physical symptoms include—diarrhoea, nausea, pains, racing heart-beat, sleeplessness, breathing trouble, hypertension, and decreased immunity.
If you ever feel overwhelmed by stress, focus on your awareness on how the body works. Do not try to meddle with anything. Simply observe these things:
- Have you lost your interest in work?
- Do you have butterflies in the stomach?
- Is your mind racing fast?
- Does your heart beat fast?
All of these are the natural responses of the body to stress.
Anxiety- Anxiety is a simple term used for the combination of worry and nervousness. Though anxiety appears to be a temporary state of nervousness of mind, its effect can lead to severe complications like—depression, psycho-somatic disorders etc. In the present lifestyle, busy life, competition, eager to beat the challenges, micro-family, staying away from home, weekend parties etc. contribute to anxiety. Ayurveda emphasises that food habits play a significant role in the origin of anxiety. According to Ayurveda, both Vayu and Pitta are aggravated which lead to the instability of the Doshas in their sites which further causes altered or extravagant functions of the sense organs.
Ayurvedic treatment for anxiety includes proper assurance in any kind of psychological illness. Proper assurance helps to get rid of the false believes and also modifies the way of thinking. It builds the confidence of the individual, hence, anxiety is reduced. Medicines which calm the mind and pacify Vata-Pitta are highly beneficial.
Top 7 Herbs to combat stress and anxiety
As per Ayurveda, when the functions of Vyan Vayu, Sadhak Pitta, Tarpak Pitta, Prana Vayu get disturbed, it affects the mental abilities. In such conditions, herbs under “Medhya Category” are helpful to relieve stress and anxiety related problems without any side effects.
1. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) — The herb Ashwagandha acts as an adaptogen. An adaptogenic herb means an agent that improves the body’s natural ability to fight emotional and physical stress. The active constituents found in Ashwagandha are known for stress attenuating activity. Cortisol is a hormone that induces stress. Ashwagandha delays the release of cortisol by the adrenals, which prevents the negative effect of long term cortisol production and prevents exhaustion of adrenals. This has direct anti-stress effect, recognized by the scientists.
2. Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) — This herb promotes awareness and relaxation thus calms the mind. Jatamansi is the best herb for nervous disorders. It calms the muscles and reduces spasms and is also effective in relieving stress and strain during menopause.
3. Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) -– Shankhpushpi is a common Ayurvedic herb used for various mental disorders, depression etc. It aids in improving memory and strength. Hence, also useful in Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, students seeking memory improvement. It enhances mood and relieves anxiety. As per Charak Samhita 1.3, regular intake of 2-3 grams of Shankhpushpi works as an excellent brain tonic. It is helpful in treating shivering, confusion, memory problems, anxiety and stress.
4. Brahmi (Bacopa monneiri) -– Brahmi is used in Ayurvedic system of medicine since 3000 years. It is classified as “Medhya Rasayana” in Ayurveda. The herb has been mentioned in Charak Samhita since 6th century which has been recommended in formulations for curing mental conditions including anxiety, poor cognition, and it acts as an energiser for the brain as well as the heart.
5. Vacha (Acorus calamus) -– Vacha is mainly used for speech related disorders. This herb alleviates Vata and Kapha doshas but aggravates the Pitta dosha. It enhances the memory of the person. Regular intake of this herb improves the memory. It has a mild sedative action and can be used in epilepsy also.
6. Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) -– It is classified under the Brahmi family for its brain enhancing and anti-aging properties. It is also known as the elixir of life. The leaves of this herb look like the cerebellum and are used for promoting intellectual abilities and the roots resemble the torso of human body are used for curing various psycho-somatic ailments. In addition to its uses in psycho-somatic disorders, gotu kola is also used for treating chronic and degenerative diseases.
7. Pushkarmool (Inula racemosa) -– This plant is useful in conditions like—anxiety, breathing difficulties etc.
In addition, herbs like – jyotishmati (Celastrus paniculatus), Hing (asafoetida), cumin seeds are useful in stress associated with gastric symptoms, bloating, anorexia etc. as these herbs improve digestive strength and increase the rate of metabolism.
Apart from herbs, Meditation and Pranayama are also very helpful in coping stress and anxiety. Meditation is a process of becoming witness to the inner phenomenon where thoughts gradually stop overpowering you. Meditation helps in developing immunity against stress, restoring the body to its normal operating conditions. For quick reduction in stress and to get a calm mind, increase the time period of Meditation.
Author Bio -– This article is written by DR. Vikram Chauhan (MD – AYURVEDA). He is an expert Ayurvedic practitioner based in Chandigarh, India and doing his practice in Mohali, India. He is spreading the knowledge of Ayurveda (Ancient healing treatment), not only in India but also abroad. He is the CEO and Founder of Planet Ayurveda Products, Planet Ayurveda Clinic and Krishna Herbal Company.