Heal stress and anxiety with herbs

Nature's care

Herbs – that is roots, leaves and flowers of plants – have been used since time immemorial to cure health ailments.

They are known to aid in physical conditions such as injury, blood impurity, heart problems and indigestion as well as mental issues like insomnia, forgetfulness, mood swings and depression. Stress, particularly, has been proved to be curable to a large extent with the help of some easily-available herbs.

With stress becoming an inevitable part of our lives, and almost a life-threatening condition, Metrolife decided to speak to some health experts on how to alleviate anxiety through herbs. Which are the right medicinal plants to take and the appropriate way of using them, experts illuminate the way.

Ritika Dhillion, dietician at Vedika Health Clinic, Gurgaon, says, “Often, people take note of the rising stress level in their lives after a sudden shoot in blood pressure, heart attack or nervous breakdown. There are medicinal plants growing abundantly in the wild, some of foreign origin now easily available in the market and others that you can raise in small pots. Unfortunately, even we in India, the land of Ayurveda, remain unaware of their existence.”

First in the list of such herbs, she says, is brahmi, “This plant with small leaves and white flowers has been extensively used in ancient India to enhance memory and ward off age-enhanced brain-related problems like Alzheimer’s. Modern science has attested to its benefits. It can be had both in the form of tonic and capsules that are available
today.”

Ashwagandha and Shankhpushpi are two other herbs that can immensely help in keeping stress at bay and improve cognitive power. “Ashwagandha exhibits great clinical benefit in reducing anxiety level and fatigue, improving concentration, social functioning, vitality and overall quality of life. Shankhpushpi, for the same reasons, is given to students,” she informs.

In herbs of western origin, Indu Solanki, herbalist at Mitra clinic, advises oatstraw and chamomile. “Oatstraw and chamomile tea do wonders for frayed nerves. Plus you can have them up to thrice a day without any adverse effects at all. Another herb that I recommend to women especially is motherwort that helps in hormonal mood swings and menopause.”

Some herbs are more beneficial in the form of tinctures than tea. Indu says, “Some herbs, when treated with glycerine or alcohol release their anxiety-relieving chemicals better than in the form of tea. Examples are Kava-Kava, Licorice root, Passion flower, California Poppy, Skullcap and Reishi Mushroom.”

Some commonly found flowers can bring about the same benefits in tea. “Go for Rose, Lavender, Patchouli and Lemon Balm,” says Ritika, “The aroma itself will evaporate the stress followed by their chemical healing
qualities.”

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