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Most of us have experienced feelings of apprehension or physical unease, when we are faced with a difficult situation. We live in an environment that is dynamic and challenging in multiple ways which often lead to stress.
While we tend to possess effective coping mechanisms to deal with everyday stress, sometimes these mechanisms can become over-activated, maladaptive, and can lead to anxiety. Anxiety is a reaction to stress.
The American Psychological Association describes a person with anxiety disorder as ‘having recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns.’ Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has frequently emphasised on necessity of scientific economical use of traditional medicine and herbal drugs.
Here’s a list of natural herbs that help to provide relief from stress and anxiety.
Ginger is an aromatic herb used as drug, spice, delicious food and used as natural remedy for anxiety. It has antioxidant property which helps to sharpen cognitive function. Ginger can influence serotonin level which is the key hormone that stabilises our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness.
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is an ancient medicinal herb. It can boost brain function, lower blood sugar and cortisol levels, and helps to fight symptoms of anxiety and depression. Researchers have reported that it blocked the stress pathway in the brain by regulating chemical signalling in the nervous system.
Brahmi (Bacopa monnier), a well known memory booster is full of antioxidants that are essential for living a healthy life. It also reduces stress and anxiety as it decreases the levels of cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone.
Lavender oil is one of the most popular aromatherapy oils and in ancient times, it was used as a holy herb. Studies have shown that a massage using lavender oil not only reduces anxiety levels but also enhances positivity among patients.
Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) from the leaves to the seed, holy basil is considered a tonic for the body, mind, and spirit. Tulsi is a powerful ‘adaptogen’, an intelligent herb that adapts to physical, emotional and environmental stress. While the reality of daily chemical exposure cannot be denied, regular consumption of tulsi not only helps protect and detoxify the body’s cells and organs, it can also help reduce toxic and stress by relaxing and calming the mind and offering many psychological benefits including anti-depressant activity and positive effects on memory and cognitive function.
Disorders like stress, tension, depression, nervousness, anxiety, insomnia etc. can be treated with the help of proper medication, counselling and a healthy life style. Researches say these herbs have potential to combat day-to-day stress and enhance man’s natural ability to throw off the effects of stress. These herbs control and reduce the anxiety, while at the same time they help us to accumulate Satwa guna – the divine impulse of nature. They strengthen the nervous system so that the body can handle added levels of tension and stress and restore normal mental condition.
Image credit: Freepik
Manisha Dhami is a PhD student at Punjab Agricultural University. She carries out research in human development.
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