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Adaptogens and modern life

Stressed out? Take a healing herb or two

brunch Updated: Sep 01, 2018 23:47 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
adaptogens,lifestyle change,modern life
Healing herbs or spices can ease a stressful mind (Shutterstock)

One word will suffice to describe urban life today: stress. The number of demands on our time not only tires our minds, but adds nervous fatigue to our lives. This means there is a pressing need for nature’s wealth of healing and rejuvenating herbs. These herbs are called adaptogens.

What are adaptogens?

They are herbs that help the body rejuvenate and heal by using its own cellular intelligence. Unlike a medicine, an adaptogen does not interfere with the body’s natural mechanism, but assists the body in its natural processes.

Herbal tea with chamomile and fresh mint leaves (Shutterstock)

How do adaptogens work?

When we are stressed, our bodies produce an excess of the stress hormone called cortisol. This makes the body go into protective overdrive: sensory feelings are heightened, you experience restlessness and are always ready to react or sometimes overreact. There is also increased tightness in the muscles. This is fine for a real threat, but when the threat stays constantly as an anxiety factor, there is increased cellular stress. The cell, instead of working for repair and healing, shifts towards increased cell metabolism, thus compromising cell nutrition. The cell begins to fall ill, and functions at a lower level of efficiency.

Cellular hyper metabolism also shifts the body from its healthy alkaline state to the unhealthy acidic state.

Adaptogens help the cell to efficiently remove cellular waste products, and thereby reduce the hyper metabolic state and shift the body towards a more alkaline state.

Popular adaptogens and their infusions
  • Tulsi and ashwagandha infusion: Boil four cups of water. Add three grams of ashwagandha powder, five tulsi leaves and crushed ginger. Simmer till the colour changes.
  • Peppermint and chamomile infusion: Boil four cups of water, chamomile petals or powder and peppermint leaves. Drink with jaggery.

From HT Brunch, September 2, 2018

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First Published: Sep 01, 2018 19:37 IST