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Stress Relief

Ayurveda advises undergoing pancha karma for maintaining a strong and healthy metabolic rate and also to keep harmful toxins from accumulating in the body and mind. The pancha karma process involves identifying the root cause of a stress problem and correcting the essential balance of mind, body, and emotions. It is considered extremely effective to go through the process of pancha karma before any rejuvenation treatment (rasayana/herbal medicines). This helps to cleanse the body, improve digestion, strengthen the metabolic rate and also cleanse one's thought process.

Since stress reduces the body's immunity, nutritious diet is very beneficial in counteracting this depletion. Following the right diet for dealing with stress is also very important. In Ayurvedic terms reduce 'rajasic' and 'tamasic' foods and add 'sattvic' diet.

Avoid coffee and all other caffeinated beverages, because in high doses caffeinated substances produce jitteriness, restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia. As far as possible, try to avoid carbonated and alcoholic drinks as well. High-protein animal foods should also be minimized as these increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which are associated with higher levels of anxiety and stress. Eat lots of fresh green vegetables, fruits and fruit juices. Avoid white flour and sugar products, and all frozen, preserved and leftover food. Include whole grain cereals - they promote the production of the brain neurotransmitter serotonin, which induces a greater sense of well-being.

Herbs known as adaptogens are beneficial in alleviating stress. These herbs that promote adaptability to stress, include Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), ginseng (Panax ginseng), wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), borage (Borago officinalis), licorice (yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), and nettle (Urtica dioica). Traditionally, Ayurveda recommends the root of winter cherry or ashwagandha, shakpushadi, brahmi (gotu kola), jatamansi (muskweed), shakhpushpi, dhatri rasayan, praval pishti and the fruit of emblic myrobalan, among other herbs, to reduce stress and fix the imbalance in the vata dosha.

Research shows that certain Ayurvedic formulas made from herbs such as brahmi (gotu kola), shankapushpi (aloeweed), and guduchi (heart-leaved moonseed) reduces generalized anxiety, calms stress, while heightening alertness and preventing mental stress from mounting.

These special Ayurvedic herbs are called medhya herbs in traditional Ayurvedic texts, and are known to not only individually nurture certain areas of the brain (mind) sensitive to stress effects, but also to nurture coordination among them.

Ashwagandha or winter cherry enhances the mind's overall ability to fight stress, because it helps overall mental functioning. Jatamansi (muskroot) and greater galangal are additional herbs that clear the channels. These keep our mind and body free of toxins and blockages. Ashwagandha or winter cherry is a sharp, naturally cleansing herb, but in combination with jatamansi (muskroot) and greater galangal, it becomes an extremely effective agent for clearing the channels, enhancing agni or digestive fire and reducing ama (toxins).