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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ancient Secret for Stress Relief

“Can I help you?” The man asking the question was wearing a beige robe, and sunlight played over it through Venetian blinds in the shop window. I had stumbled into the shop on a recent trip to Calcutta. My flight had frazzled my nerves and made my head pound with anxiety. I thought roaming about this ancient Indian city would relieve the stress, but it was just making things worse. “I am Jayachand,” said the man. “I am known as a spiritual healer.” I tried to focus on his face. It was sunburned, heavily lined, but his dark brown eyes were flecked with light where the sun and shadow played over them as he moved to a long glass display case.

I knew from having read numerous books that when a person is under stress the hormone cortisol increases. But I didn’t know, until I met Jayachand, that there was an herb, an ancient Indian herb, that had the amazing ability to reduce cortisol – and thereby reduce stress – without any side effects. This herb, which Jayachand showed me, is called Ashwagandha, and it is one of the most inexpensive herbs you can buy. I bought a bottle from him that afternoon, and took my first sample of Ashwagandha in the crowded Calcutta street outside his shop. Within twenty minutes I felt calmer, and now I sleep better and my nerves are more relaxed. It’s not easy for an American to admit that he can learn something from the ancient cultures that have no large pharmaceutical companies backing them up. But when I got back to New York I did some research. It turns out that Ashwagandha has been shown in clinical studies to reduce cortisol in rats1 and in humans2. Next time I need to travel through seven time zones, you can be sure I’m taking along my little bottle of Ashwagandha.

References
1. Sharma S, Dahanukar S, Karandikar SM.Effects of long-term administration of the roots of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) in rats. Indian Drugs 1986;23:133-139.
2. Dale Kiefer. Ashwagandha: Stress Reduction, Neural Protection, and a Lot More from an Ancient Herb. Life Extension Magazine, June 2006. http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2006/jun2006_report_ashwa_01.htm (Accessed April 17, 2008).

2 comments:

louie said...

Hi that's a great post.Enjoyed reading it. Here's a website which can help you to relief stress the hassle-free way.Thought that i might share it here with you. It's at http://www.howtorelievestress.org

Sangeeta Sinha said...

Hi, so you have recently visited my birth place Kolkata (Calcutta)? How was the city? Listen, I want to subscribe to your blog. How does 'SUBSCRIBE AT : POST (ATOM)' work? When I am clicking on it, a box is opening asking me to save or cancel the file. How to go about it....?