A Herb a Day

A Herb a Day

It is not for nothing that herbs find mention in scriptures and plays from across the world. Remember Shakespeare's Hamlet, in which Ophelia says: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembering. Please remember, love. And there are pansies, they are for thoughts…”In India and other Asian countries, herbs are a part of everyday life. In fact, herbs are the remedy for the most common problem we face these days: sleep disorders.

With increasing cases of sleeplessness, people are turning to medication. Alterations in the quantity, quality as well as the patterns of the sleep, may contribute to various disorders of sleep, besides negatively affecting performance, learning ability and quality of social life.

As regards to sleep disorders prescription, medicines come under the category of psychotropic drugs, which are habit forming and associated with mild to severe harmful side effects. In a majority of cases safe Ayurvedic medicinal herbs can be an ideal alternative, simultaneously extending additional health benefits, especially herbs like brahmi help us sleep.

Brahmi/Mandookparni/Gotu kola (Centella Asiatica)

It promotes sleep, is anti-stress nervine tonic, improves memory and mental focus and blood circulation. It also heals diabetic neuropathy, varicose veins, hemorrhoids/piles, and is effective in certain digestive system infections. 

Ashwagandha (Withaniasomnifera)

This unique herb, helps you relax mentally and physically. It energises you and is a powerful anti-stress/adaptogen, an immunomodulator. Ashwagandha improves vigour and vitality especially male libido, sperm count, sperm mobility and is anti-inflammatory too. However, women should avoid taking it without the advice of a health care provider.

Shankhpuspi(Convolvulus pluricaulis)

This herb contains flavonoids, glycosides, and alkaloids that help soothe your nervous system. It brings relief to mental fatigue. It acts as a natural tranquilliser for anxiety neurosis and facilitates sleep.

Valerian/Tagar (Valeriana officinalis/wallichi)

It is used for treating brain-related disorders such as insomnia and nervous unrest. It has a sedative effect on the brain and can be used as a tranquiliser. It brings relief to mild anxiety and nervousness. It cleanses undigested toxins from blood joints, nerves, and the colon. It is used in the treatment of epilepsy, schizophrenia and many other health problems. However, its long term use is not recommended, as it may cause a drop in the blood pressure.

Vacha (Acorus Calamus)

It has a calming effect on the brain and is effective in curing tension and insomnia. It acts as a coolant that relaxes the nerves, thereby inducing sleep. This herb is a nervous system tonic that will ward off stress. However, it is not a preferred herb for routine use in management of sleep disorders, as it may bring about a drop in blood pressure and heart rate.

Sarpgandha /Indian snakeroot ( Rauwolfia Serpentina)

It contains more than 50 alkaloids. These alkaloids help in reducing high blood pressure that can cause sleeping issues. It is also used in the treatment of schizophrenia. Sarpgandha is not recommended for long term or routine use in the management of sleep disorders in general.

It is a natural brain tonic and a memory enhancer. It allows calmness and relaxation to a hyperactive mind. It helps in inducing sound sleep while rejuvenating and nourishing the nervous system. In Ayurveda, it is prescribed against stress, spasm, epilepsy, convulsion, and hysteria. In fact, it is one of the excellent herbs to treat epilepsy. Also, it is considered a tonic for the heart.

Courtesy: This article was given by UK Tiwari, Product Development Manager, Organic India.