by Dr. Reetu Verma

If you feel low in energy, overwhelmed or stressed, try incorporating some powerful herbs into your diet.

Below are the proven benefits of three healing herbs to help in healing your inner system, reduce stress and increase energy, keeping in mind that balance is the key!

I truly believe that Mother Nature is the original healer and she has provided us with everything we need for healing. Plants have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Indigenous cultures used herbs in their healing rituals, Indians have been using herbs in Ayurveda for over 5000 years, and traditional Chinese medicine use herbal therapies also.

The more I read on nutrition, the more I realize that Mother Nature has provided us with many remedies for us to heal ourselves. Around the globe, billions of people use herbs for their healing and restorative powers every day. United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that there are as many as 50,000 medicinal plants in use around the world.

Here I share some powerful herbs that are known to help deal with everyday stress and anxiety, helping to heal our body and mind.

  1. Turmeric:

    is an anti-inflammatory herb that belongs to the rhizome family which means that its stem grows horizontally grows underground forming roots downwards and stems and leaves above ground. It is a warming spice. It has been used for thousands of years in traditional Ayurvedic, Indian, and Chinese medicine, and now as an anti-inflammatory supplement around the world. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant herb with a potent active compound called Curcumin.

Curcumin: a polyphenol derived from the turmeric spice plant is said to ‘reverse harmful brain changes induced by chronic stress’. New studies show that it can help protect mental health by combating stress-induced anxiety and depression.

A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 56 individuals with a major depressive disorder was published in June 2014 by Adrian Lopresti, PhD, et al., of Murdoch University, Australia, in the peer-reviewed Journal of Affective Disorders 167 368–375 (2014). Lopresti stated “Curcumin’s positive antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects are likely due to its ability to normalize specific physiological pathways… It appears to elevate neurotransmitters such as serotonin while lowering stress hormones, such as cortisol, and is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory”.

  1. Tulsi:

    also known as Holy Basil, is a herb known for its ability to support a healthy response to stress. Scientific research shows that holy basil has pharmacological properties to help your mind cope with stress.

Tulsi has been worshipped since ancient times as a healing herb for a healthy body, mind and spirit. This herb can be found planted around many Hindu Temples in India. In Western medicine, tulsi is known more for its use as an adaptogen (a substance that helps the body adapt to stress).

Studies have shown the plant has been used to combat the negative effects of stress in the body, maintain stable blood sugar levels, and promote longevity. In a 2017 review of 24 independent clinical studies on tulsi, a total of 1111 participants with ages ranging from 10 to 80 years old were observed after taking holy basil in various forms and dosages. “Favorable clinical effects”  were found for tulsi in aiding with:

  • Metabolic disorders (15 studies on conditions such as diabetes)
  • Neurocognitive disorders (4 studies on conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or mood disorders, like depression)
  • Immunity and infections (5 studies)
  1. Ashwagandha:

    is another commonly used adaptogenic herb. (Adaptogens support the body’s natural ability to deal with stress.) “They are called adaptogens because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to the specific needs of the body, either physical, chemical or biological. Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means “the smell of a horse”, referring to the benefits of the herb to aid with strength, stamina, adaptability and energy.

Ashwagandha has been found effective in reducing stress, anxiety and depression, Acting as a mood enhancer it has the ability to protect the body from the toxic effects of physical and emotional stress.

Studies have shown that other benefits include boosting brain function, lowering cortisol levels, cholesterol and inflammation and increasing strength

The root and leaves of the Ashwagandha plant are most commonly used for their medicinal properties.

 

REMEMBER:

Balance is the key. By eating well and nutritionally, we create a healthy gut ‘The healthier the gut is, the healthier the overall body will be’.

References:

Christiansen, S. (2020). The Health Benefits of Holy Basil. Retrieved July 19, 2020, from

https://www.verywellhealth.com/holy-basil-4766587

Nutraceutical Business Review (2015). Study shows that turmeric can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Retrieved July 19, 2020, from

https://www.nutraceuticalbusinessreview.com/news/article_page/Study_shows_that_turmeric_can_reduce_the_symptoms_of_depression_and_anxiety/113603

Spritzler, F (2019). 12 Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha. Retrieved July 17, 2020, from

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-proven-ashwagandha-benefits#6

TNN (2019). Health benefits of Ashwagandha. Retrieved July 18, 2020, from

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/diet/health-benefits-of-ashwagandha/articleshow/59174163.cms

Jamshidi, N and Cohen, M. (2017). The Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Tulsi in Humans: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Retrieved July 22, 2020, from

 

Lopresti, A, Maes, M, Maker, G, Hood, S and Drummond, P. (2014). Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Retrieved July 22, 2020, from

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25046624/

Auddy, B, Hazra, J, Mitra, A, Abedon, B and Ghosal, S (2008). A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Retrieved July 22, 2020, from

https://blog.priceplow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/withania_review.pdf

Chandrasekhar, K, Kapoor, J and Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Retrieved July 22, 2020, from

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23439798/

Wankhede, S, Langade, D, Joshi, K, Sinha, S and Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Retrieved July 22, 2020, from

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26609282/