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Use herbs, beat stress

Tips to calm the nerves and combat urban stress

brunch Updated: Sep 07, 2013 17:05 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times

In modern times, many people are discovering that constant anxiety is eroding their quality of life.

One of the reasons tension had become people’s constant companion is the number of hours they devote to mental work over physical work.

People in cities, especially in senior positions, spend their days planning and exerting themselves mentally.

Very little is required of them at the physical level. Owing to this imbalance, the mind and nerves take an additional burden. Over a period of time, this takes its toll.

Calm down now

Mental exhaustion can manifest itself in chronic fatigue, headaches, mild depression, dipping enthusiasm, boredom, overeating, bloating and changes in sleep patterns. A few tips can help calm the nerves and combat stress.

A daily intake of vitamin B12 and associated B vitamins goes a long way in replenishing the system. Choose foods rich in essential oils such as oilseeds (walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, almonds, white butter of cow’s milk and sesame seeds). Oats with cow’s milk are also beneficial.

Tough nuts: walnuts deliver Vitamin B12 which can help combat stress

Several herbs act as nervine adaptogens and help the nerves. These include Ashwagandha, eleuthero and tulsi. Tulsi particularly reduces stress hormones such as cortisol.

Among the herbs that relax the nervous system are jasmine and chamomile tea, passionflower and blue vervain. Jatamansi, which has sedative properties, is very effective in treating chronic anxiety, depression, insomnia, migraine and headaches. It is used in the ayurvedic treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s too.

Ancient Wisdom

Brahmi is, perhaps, the most important nervine herb in ayurvedic medicine. It revitalises the brain, removes toxins and blockages in the nervous system and has a nurturing effect on the mind. It improves memory and concentration.

In full bloom: Jasmine tea helps relax the nervous system, and it tastes wonderful

In ayurveda, a very important procedure to treat stress is through oil massages of the head and body, and oil insufflations through the nasal passage. Vacha oil benefits the brain and the nervous system by aggravating pitta and improve vata and kapha doshas. It boosts memory and treats depression and anxiety.

Emotions are said to have an effect on the body. Vata-related emotions such as anxiety and worry tend to affect the intestine. Fear affects the kidneys, and anger and irritability affect the liver. Deep-seated grief and sadness affect the heart and lungs.

Nutrition, herbs, oil massages, nasal oil insufflations, exercise and meditation can go a long way in alleviating urban stress.

From HT Brunch, September 8

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First Published: Sep 07, 2013 15:43 IST