Living in Stressful Times — Vedic Health Solutions

It's a stressful time, and all this pressure can produce wear and tear on the body and mind. Frequent exposure to stress can result in imbalances and health issues such as sleep disorders, anxiety attacks, depression and weight loss or gain.

To help us meet the mental demands of the day without feeling overwhelmed by stress. The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians prepared a special blend of traditional ayurvedic anxiety-fighting herbs. This Ayurvedic blend is called Worry Free.

"People have told me that if they take tranquilizers it reduces their anxiety, but then they feel so drowsy that they can't work," says one of our Ayurvedic experts.

Research shows that Worry Free provides the best of both worlds: it reduces generalized anxiety, and calms stress, plus it heightens alertness so you can meet the demands of your day and prevent mental overload.

How does this herbal formula accomplish those three objectives?

Researchers at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) conducted a randomized, controlled pilot study to measure the effects of Worry Free on ten patients who suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, a condition that affects 25% of the population.

The treatment period was three months. One group took two tablets of Worry Free twice a day, while the other group took a placebo. At post-testing, after three months of taking Worry Free, 80% of the Worry Free group no longer exhibited Generalized Anxiety Disorder, exhibiting a two-fold greater decrease in the Hamilton Anxiety Scale, a standard psychological test used to measure anxiety, than the placebo subjects.

The Maharishi Ayurveda explanation for this dramatic drop in generalized anxiety requires a look into how Vedic Medicine views mental function.

In Ayurveda, mental abilities are divided into three categories. They are dhi (acquisition) dhriti (retention) and smriti (recall). Worry Free helped patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder because it contains a special group of herbs such as Herpestis Monniera (Brahmi), Aloeweed (Shankapushpi), and Heart-leaved Moonseed (Guduchi), which have an enhancing effect on dhi, dhriti and smriti.

These special herbs are called medhya herbs in the traditional medicine texts, and are known to nurture the three areas of the mind individually as well as to nurture coordination among them.

Muskroot (Jatamansi) and Greater Galangal are additional herbs that clear the channels or shrotas. These keep the gaps between dhi, dhriti and smriti free of toxins and blockages. In the Vedic understanding, the gap is where all intelligence resides. Thus these herbs aid the flow of intelligent energy between acquisition, retention, and recall.

So if people who take Worry Free are confronted with a stressful situation, they have the physiological ability to make it a positive, rather than a negative experience. They can recall related experiences from the past to help them deal with the present problem, and they tend to learn from each new one. They can do this without disturbing their mind or feeling anxious.

One herb in the formula with a key effect is Winter Cherry also known as Ashwagandha, which enhances the mind's ability to fight stress. Because it helps overall mental functioning, not targeting just one area of the mind, people find that they can think more clearly and can solve their problems without incurring stress. They avoid being damaged by stress in the first place.

One of the measurements used in the UCSD study was the salivary cortisol level. Cortisol is a hormone related to stress, and high cortisol levels show high stress. In the patients who took Worry Free for three months, cortisol levels went down substantially.

There are three subdoshas that govern the mind. Think of doshas and subdoshas as Ayurvedic managing systems that govern various functions of the physiology and mind, according to the ancient texts. Prana Vata is the subdosha of Vata that governs the brain, sensory perception and the mind. Tarpaka Kapha is the subdosha of Kapha that governs the cerebral-spinal fluid. And because acquisition, retention and recall originate in the heart, Sadhaka Pitta (the subdosha of Pitta that governs the emotions and their effect on the heart) is also involved.

When people overuse or misuse their minds, the subdoshas governing the mind counteract that overuse by producing more fluid. It's similar to the extra saliva that is produced by the taste buds when you're about to eat chilies or other hot foods. The extra saliva protects the whole digestive system, and prevents the chilies from creating an abrasive effect.

When your mind is strained by engaging in excessive mental work, the subdoshas go out of balance. Sadhaka Pitta begins to create a burning effect and Prana Vata creates a drying effect. Then Tarpaka Kapha generates extra fluid to counteract this effect and protect the brain.

If you overuse your mind repeatedly over time, the lubricating value of Tarpaka Kapha becomes excessive and begins to diminish the metabolizing fire (medhya agni) in the gaps between dhi, dhriti and smriti. It's similar to the effect of too much moisture in the digestion -- it can put out the digestive fire (agni).

When this happens, ama (toxins) start to be created. Ama accumulates in the gaps and channels of the brain, and mixes with the fluids created by Tarpaka Kapha, creating a harmful type of cortisol, the indicator of stress. Cortisol in itself is not bad; in fact it's created by the body to protect the brain. But when Tarpaka Kapha becomes excessive and there is ama in the physiology, anxiety attacks and other stress responses dominate the physiology.

The reason that cortisol levels are reduced with Worry Free is that Muskroot and Greater Galangal enhance the medhya agni. With enough medhya agni, ama is no longer produced to mix with Tarpaka Kapha.

Winter Cherry is such a sharp, cleansing herb that it in itself reduces existing ama, but when combined with Muskroot and Greater Galangal, it becomes an even more effective agent.

The subjects in this study and many thousands of people who have taken Worry Free over the past six years have reported that it makes them feel relaxed, but also more alert.

"My job involves a tremendous amount of mental stress and sometimes I feel torn in several directions," says Molly Blackwell, a graphic designer. "Worry Free takes me to a whole new level of calm. It settles me down so I can focus, accomplish and not feel confused."

The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.