Ayurvedic Herbs for Dissolving Stress
The modern world is stressful. Ayurveda understands the need to create inner calm in this world without diminishing your alertness. Ayurveda offers herbal support to accomplish this – without brain fog. Scientific research shows that Ayurvedic herbs can reduce stress and anxiety, create calm and heighten alertness.
Reduces Generalized Anxiety
Researchers at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) conducted a randomized, controlled pilot study to measure the effects of an Ayurvedic herbal formulation called Worry Free on ten patients who suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This condition affects 25% of the population.
The study took three months. One group took two tablets of Worry Free twice a day, while the other group took a placebo. 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 than the placebo subjects.
What did the herbs do?
The group of traditional Ayurvedic herbs supports enhanced mental function. They allow a person to recall past experiences, relate them to a present problem, and learn from new experience with less anxiety and less upset. In brief, they support mental processing ability.
In Ayurveda this mental processing ability is divided into three categories.
They are: 1.) Dhi (acquisition), 2.) Dhriti (retention), and 3.) Smriti (recall). The Worry Free herbs helped with stress because they enhance processing power. The formula contains a special group of herbs (Herpestis Monniera, Aloeweed, and Heart-leaved Moonseed) which do this. These are called Medhya (mind) herbs. These special herbs nurture the three mental processing abilities and coordination between them.
Other herbs (Jatamansi and Greater Galangal) cleanse the gap regions between the three areas. In the Vedic understanding, the gap regions are very important, because that is where all intelligence resides. This keeps communication flow and coordination between the three strong and clear. One additional herb plays a key role: Winter Cherry (Ashwagandha). This herb enhances the mind's overall ability to fight stress.
One of the measurements used in the University of California at San Diego study focused on cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone related to stress, and high cortisol levels indicate high stress. In the patients who took Worry Free for three months, cortisol levels dropped significantly.
Looking Deeper: Mental Strain = Imbalanced Subdoshas
The Ayurvedic explanation is this: When people are under stress, the subdoshas governing the mind respond by producing more fluid. It's similar to the extra saliva produced by the taste buds when you're about to eat spicy foods. The extra saliva protects the whole digestive system, and helps prevent the food from irritating your system.
Pitta (the subdosha Sadhaka Pitta) begins to burn hotter, while Vata creates a drying effect. Then Kapha generates extra fluids to counteract this effect and protect the brain. Under strain, the fluid created by Kapha increases, and begins to douse the mind's processing fire (Medhya Agni) supporting Dhi, Dhriti and Smriti. Enough stress, and it can put out or dampen this mental fire (Agni).
And when this happens, Ama – toxins – gets created. The Ama accumulates in the gaps and microchannels of the brain, mixes with the fluids created by Kapha, and creates a harmful type of cortisol, the indicator of stress.
Cortisol in itself is not bad. It's created by the body to protect the brain. But when Kapha is imbalanced and there's Ama in the physiology, cortisol does more harm than good.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, the reason that the subjects' cortisol levels went down after using Worry Free is because key herbs enhanced the brain's digestive fire. When it's burning brightly again, Ama is no longer being produced. Then cortisol stays in balance, and this protects the brain from stress.
Creating inner calm is a time-honored focus of Ayurveda. A variety of modalities help accomplish this, and a few quick and easy choices that support calm are listed below. As with any health goal, a multifaceted approach usually delivers the best results. Diet, lifestyle, spices, routine, stress reduction and herbs can all play a fruitful role in creating inner calm.
Organic Vata Tea — The herbs in certain Ayurvedic teas help create a zone of inner calm. This organic Vata-pacifying tea will help a whirling mind settle down and allow the body to relax.
Organic Vata Calming Spice Mix — Spices are both flavor-enhancers and therapeutic. Organic “Churnas” are precise blends of Ayurvedic spices and seasonings that include all six Ayurvedic tastes.
Veda 2240 — When Vata dosha gets out of balance, the body can react, too. Veda 2240 is one of our most powerful Vata-pacifying products (balancing the subdosha, Vyana Vata).
Joint and muscle soreness or stiffness can be caused by an accumulation of Vata dosha in the joints and muscles. Veda 2240 is a traditional Ayurvedic formula that balances excess Vata in the physiology, especially in the joints and muscles. It detoxifies deep within the tissues, to support healthy joint and muscle flexibility. It also nourishes the various Dhatus (tissues) in the body, promotes a healthy skeletal and neuromuscular system, and supports a healthy inflammatory response. The herbs in Veda 2240 have been traditionally used to:
- Support a healthy inflammatory response
- Aid occasional joint discomfort and muscle ache
- Act as an anti-spasmodic
- Support detoxification
- Support comfortable movement of the joints and muscles
- Support the health of the digestive system and genitourinary tract
- Promote a healthy respiratory system
- Aid healthy weight balance
- Help maintain healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels, already within a normal range
Vata Aroma Oil — The essential oils in this formula help support balance. These floral and plant essences have been used in healing traditions such as Ayurveda for centuries. The sense of smell is a quick-acting, powerful means of creating balance. Our therapeutic aroma oils are precise blends of 100% pure essential oils.
Moisturizing Herbal Massage Oil — This traditional Ayurvedic massage oil includes potent Ayurvedic herbal extracts. This takes the benefits of the traditional Ayurvedic massage a step further. Maharishi Ayurveda herbal massage oils are especially formulated for individual skin and dosha types, and have a sesame oil base.
Ayurvedic Fundamentals of Wellness
Three key principles to long-term balance and wellness in Ayurveda are broadly summed up in three lifestyle tactics: 1) Reducing Ama (toxins), 2) Balancing/strengthening digestion (Agni), and 3) Significantly lowering stress. Each of these plays a powerful role in supporting long-term, life-changing wellness, according to Ayurveda. To accomplish these goals, Ayurveda offers you lots of enjoyable options. Each of these choices has the power, in the Ayurvedic model, to gradually, naturally support and restore Ayurvedic balance in mind and body. These lifestyle choices include changes to diet; stress reduction practices like yoga, exercise and meditation; and traditional Ayurvedic herbals.
Digestion is a central long-term, priority focus of Ayurveda. Great emphasis is placed on keeping digestion (Agni) balanced. In this sense, 'balance' means functioning at its absolute optimum. That's because digestion (Agni) is the engine of transformation and assimilation. This transformation 'engine' isn't found just in the stomach — it is found in every cell in the body. It is an extremely intelligent engine, too. It transforms and metabolizes food nutrients and food intelligence into you, and selects out that which isn't useful to the body and mind. Depending on the strength of Agni, the 'transformation engine,' either toxins (Ama) or Ojas (the beneficial biochemical of balance) will get created. Ojas is the finest and most-valued by-product of digestion in Ayurveda, supporting immunity, happiness, the feeling of connectivity (union or yoga) and emotional stability.
The Ayurvedic herbals listed below are core herbal products supporting important areas of Ayurvedic wellness.
Triphala: Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) from Maharishi Ayurveda — This blend of herbs is a powerful tonic for the digestive system. If you are feeling sluggish, dull or occasionally constipated, chances are that toxins are building up in your body. Toxins accumulate when your digestion — and elimination — are out of balance, which can lead to skin breakouts, menstrual cramps, fatigue, feelings of sadness and many other health issues. Triphala, available in Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus), is the every-night overnight detox and digestion balancer, supporting assimilation, balanced Agni and Ojas. This is Maharishi Ayurveda’s number-1-selling digestion herbal.
Aci-Balance from Maharishi Ayurveda — This is a digestion-supporting (Agni-balancing) herbal formulation. Occasional acid indigestion is a sign of a Pitta imbalance, according to Ayurveda. Too many hot, spicy foods can spark excess digestive fire and too much stomach acid. Over time, this can push digestion out of balance and lead to a variety of health problems.
The Ayurvedic herbs in this formulation help maintain proper balance of 'Agni,' the intelligent digestive fire. The herbs help balance occasional excess acid and digestive fire; support overall digestion; and help the body preserve the purity and vitality of nutrients from foods you eat.
Sleep: Deep Rest from Maharishi Ayurveda — The herbs in this formula support sleeping deeply through the night and waking up feeling refreshed. Specifically, the formula is for those who have difficulty staying asleep and wake up in the middle of the night. It also helps those who have difficulty falling asleep and those who awaken early, after less than six hours of sleep.
Sleep: Blissful Sleep from Maharishi Ayurveda — The inability to fall asleep naturally, according to Maharishi Ayurveda, is largely due to stress, frustration, heavy food and sensory overload. If you're worried or agitated before bed, your mind stays connected to the senses, keeping them active. When that happens you may have trouble falling asleep — or if you do fall asleep, you may notice that your sleep is light and restless. When your mind is relaxed, and disconnects from the senses, that sleep is sound and deep.
The Ayurvedic herbs in the formula produce a calming, balancing effect on the body, mind and emotions. Sleep becomes deeper and more restful. For published research on Blissful Sleep, please see this page.
Stress Free Emotions supports natural resistance to emotional stress and fatigue. Diet, daily habits and ongoing stress are key factors that can contribute to imbalances in mind and body, leading to feelings of sadness and physical fatigue. The herbs promote self-confidence, positive thinking and feelings of fulfillment by balancing the subdosha of Pitta that governs emotional health (Sadhaka Pitta).
Immunity: Bio-Immune from Maharishi Ayurveda — This traditional formulation combines purifying herbs with nourishing minerals, including mica. The herbs and minerals help eliminate digestive impurities and toxins that can affect natural immunity. This aids healthy liver function and helps purify the blood. The herbs also promote a healthy resistance to stress and aid in the assimilation and metabolism of nutrients. Finally, they support communication between cells, an Ayurvedic key to healthy immunity. It takes over six months to prepare these herbs for use. Bio-Immune, in combination with Organic Premium Amla Berry and Organic Digest Tone, is a powerhouse for supporting immunity.
Energy: Organic Premium Amla Berry from Maharishi Ayurveda — Our Amla is prepared according to the ancient Ayurvedic texts — a 21-step process at a temperature below 90 °F to maintain the potency.
Gram for gram, Amla has 20 times the Vitamin C content of an orange. Good nutrition requires a balance of the six Ayurvedic tastes — sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Amla is one of just a handful of herbs that contain five of the six taste categories — all except salty. Such balanced nutrition means that Amla helps balance all three of the basic operating principles (doshas) of mind and body — Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Amla produces total health benefits. It helps strengthen the mind, eyes, heart, skin, and digestion; boosts cellular regeneration; and promotes a positive nitrogen balance for improved growth of muscle tissue.
Mind and Memory: Organic Youthful Mind from Maharishi Ayurveda — The Ayurvedic herbs in this formulation help remove the toxins that can block mental abilities. They also promote a healthy response to mental stress — regardless of age. The herbs in Organic Youthful Mind support innate learning ability, clarity and recall, mental energy and alertness levels, the growth of consciousness and full mental potential.
Heart: Cardio Support from Maharishi Ayurveda — The Ayurvedic herbs in this formula help maintain normal and clear arterial walls. They do this by aiding healthy digestion and supporting balanced fat metabolism. These herbs nourish the blood, muscles and functioning of the heart, to help keep the heart healthy as you age. According to Maharishi Ayurveda, the heart is the seat of Ojas, the substance that maintains life and promotes bliss and longevity.
Prostate Health: Prostate Protection from Maharishi Ayurveda — From the Maharishi Ayurveda perspective, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of proper nutrients and urine retention can impact prostate health. The traditional Ayurvedic herbs in this formula deliver nutritional support over a broad range of targeted areas. They help balance testosterone levels and support vitality, promote healthy prostate size and function, purify the urinary tract, and support the body's natural immune system. This blend of Ayurvedic ingredients helps cleanse genitourinary tract impurities caused by unhealthy dietary habits and exposure to environmental toxins. They also:
- Support natural immunity in the genitourinary tract
- Promote healthy urinary flow rate
- Rejuvenate the reproductive system
- Help maintain healthy prostate size and function
- Enhance the reproductive fluid
- Support tissue health in the prostate gland
- Support healthy reproductive fluid
- Support healthy libido
(Cover Photo By-mikeyskatie, Flickr Creative Commons)
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.