In this age of day-by-day increasing mental stress, strain and cut-throat competition, we are finding it more and more difficult to cope with the pressures of day to day life. Ayurveda claims at not only increasing the powers of the brain but also at keeping the mental diseases away, along with helping to cure them desirably.
It is believed that a number of the diseases have their root in the brain of an individual. That is one of the reasons why the number of psychological and neurological cases is on the increase.
Ayurveda Dosha Healing and Mental Balance
According to Ayurveda text, the balance of the three body humors viz. air, fire and phlegm or the Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas when gets disturbed, tends to manifest itself both in somatic as well as psychic spheres.
Vitiation of the Vata dosha destroys mental sense and gives rise to grief and infatuation.
When the Pitta dosha or the fire humor of the body gets aggravated beyond its normal limits, may lead to mental states of fear, lust and grief.
Similarly, imbalance in Kapha causes lethargy and in-discrimination.
These dosha imbalances disturb both the body as well as the mind. Although the predominant factor in case of mental disturbances is believed to be an increase and imbalance in the two mental states of the brain viz. Rajas and Tamas. These two states are ascribed to Iccha (Desire) and Dwesha (Repulsion). It is believed that when these states of mind tend to cross the limits set by social norms and values; they tend to excite the basic humors of the body resulting into degeneration of the brain powers and birth of mental diseases.
Ayurveda Herbs as Brain Tonics
1. Shankhpushpi: There is a herb named as Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) which is one of the nature’s precise answers to the brain weakness. It has been used since ages in Ayurveda therapy to sharpen intellect and increase the mental powers, as it has a cooling, calming and subsiding action on the brain. Shankhpushpi is believed to be a Medhya Rasyana (Brain tonic) in Ayurveda and it is a rejuvenator par excellence. One teaspoonful of the powder of this herb is to be taken twice daily along with a cup of milk. It could prove beneficial in maladies like insomnia, anxiety, everyday stress, and loss of memory, anorexia nervosa and lethargy.
Brahmi (Centella asiatica) is another useful brain tonic. It can be taken in powder or paste form along with milk. You could also extract juice by pounding the fresh herb and take it once or twice in a dose of 20-ml approx. Though useful for all ages, it is a boon for students as it increases the intellect and helps undo stress and strain. Powder of this herb taken along with powdered herbs of Shatavari (Asparagus) and Ashwagandha (Winter Cherry) aids in reducing the aggravated Pitta or fire in the system and thus gives a calming effect to the brain. It is also a good cure for bilious headaches.
Roots of the herb of Jatamansi (Nordostachys jatamansi) helps to tone up the brain and stabilizes mental abilities. It is another excellent restorative as it helps to subside all the three body humors. It thus has a specific action on the nervous system and aids in curing a number of mental diseases like hysteria, depression, insomnia, epilepsy and loss of memory. It has also shown results in hypertension.
Another herb by the name of Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is a body and brain rejuvenator and good for intellect. All the more, it helps undo the everyday strain and induces sound sleep. This can be taken in powder form in a dose of 3 to 5 grams along with milk or mixed into equal amount of honey. Also, some medicinal preparations of the herb are available like Shatavari Gritha, which can be taken a teaspoonful at bedtime along with warm milk. Regular use of the same for sometime helps fight mental stress, exhaustion and fatigue. It aids in increasing the eyesight and mental faculties as well.
Ayurveda Recommends Lifestyle Modifications
The daily diet intake should be regularized in means of proper timing as well as nutritional balance. Try avoiding oily, heavy and spicy meals in your routine. Fresh juices, fibrous foods, raw green vegetables and garden herbs provide with ample supply of anti oxidants and resistance boosters. A good amount of water intake is also a must.
A sound mind dwells in a sound body. It is therefore essential to keep the body fit and healthy in order to develop better intellect. A regular exercise schedule or walks in fresh air especially in the early sunrise could do wonders.
Sound sleep for eight hours is your daily rest requirement for the proper functioning and recharging of your brain powers.
Make a daily work list and try to handle problems one by one, as it would be rather difficult to cope up with the accumulation.
It is equally important to stay involved and seek for counseling whenever required.
Massage of the scalp and soles of the feet with sesame seed oil is also suggested.
Cow’s ghee is quite beneficial for the brain. It should be included in daily diet and can also be inhaled through the nostrils.
Dr. Kamini Kaushal
Prof. Department of Dravyaguna,
MMM Govt. Ayurvedic College,