Ashwagandha can cure insomnia and anxiety

February 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Food News

Ashwagandha Cures Insomnia” hspace=(NaturalHealth365) Given the relentless pace and pressures of modern life, it’s not surprising that conditions such as anxiety and insomnia are at near epidemic levels. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control notes that between 50 and 70 million American adults currently suffer from sleep disorders.

In addition to causing impaired concentration and daytime fatigue, sleep disorders exact a grim toll in increased automobile and industrial accidents, as well as raising your risk for dangerous conditions such high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression and cancer.

Sleep better and de-stress with ashwagandha

Naturopathic practitioners and Ayurvedic healers have long known of the calming effects of the root of the ashwagandha shrub – a member of the nightshade family also referred to as winter cherry and Indian ginseng. Ashwagandha is revered in Ayurveda as a “rasayana,” or a “royal herb” – that can boost the immune system, help the body adapt to stress, and prolong life.

For centuries, ashwagandha has been prescribed not only to treat infectious diseases, fevers and inflammatory conditions, but also to elevate mood, fight panic attacks, reduce anxiety and depression and alleviate insomnia. In fact, a clue to the calming effect of ashwagandha can be found in the second part of its scientific name, Withania somnifera; the word arises from the Latin word “somnus,” or sleep.

Of course, western medicine has been slow to acknowledge the therapeutic potential of ashwagandha – with, quite frankly, many doctors unaware of the herb’s effects. But recent scientific studies have caused medical researchers to join natural healers in recognizing the healing power of ashwagandha.

Animal and human studies have demonstrated that ashwaganda has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, adaptogenic, antipyretic and antimicrobial (germ-fighting) benefits as well as its anti-anxiety and mood-elevating capabilities.

How does ashwagandha relax the body and mind?

According to medical researchers, ashwagandha owes its relaxant properties to a group of alkaloids called, withanolides. Other constituents – including other alkaloids called sitoindosides, along with saponins and assorted minerals – may also play a role in producing a state of relaxation. Ashwagandha works as a depressant on the central nervous system, causing sensations of tranquility and relaxation – making sleep easier to achieve.

What does the scientific research tell us?

In one well-designed clinical study published in 2009 in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS One, 300 milligrams of ashwagandha root were given – twice daily – to subjects who had been diagnosed with moderate to severe anxiety; a control group received standard psychotherapy aimed at reducing anxiety. Evidence about the properties of ashwagandha came when results were compared – using the Beck Anxiety Inventory as a diagnostic tool – researchers found that the group treated with ashwagandha received a much greater clinical benefit with anxiety reduction of up to 50 percent more than the group that had received psychotherapy.

In a recent study published in Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 64 subjects with a history of chronic stress took either placebo or 300 milligrams of ashwagandha extract – once a day. After 60 days, the ashwagandha subjects reported up to 44 percent lower scores on the ‘Perceived Stress Scale’, as compared to the placebo group. They also had substantial reductions in serum levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. The team concluded that ashwagandha is a safe and well-tolerated treatment for reducing stress and improving quality of life.

Ashwagandha proven to be just as good as anti-anxiety drugs

In a 2000 study published in Phytomedicine, the calming effect of ashwagandha on rats was equal to that produced by the prescription anti-anxiety medicine lorazepam – sold under the trade name Ativan. The team concluded that the use of ashwagandha was supported for treatment of clinical anxiety and depression.

In contrast to Ativan — which can cause side effects such as nightmares, headaches and depression, plus it can be physically addictive – ashwagandha features no reported adverse effects in studies.

What is the best way to take ashwagandha?

Powdered ashwagandha root is available at health food stores and online – the dosage for most studies has been 300 milligrams per day. Many natural health experts suggest making a tea by boiling about 1 teaspoon of the powdered root for 15 minutes; drink up to 3 cups a day. You can also take ½ – ¾ of a teaspoon of ashwagandha tincture daily, some people may do well with more.

Naturally, you should consult a trusted medical health professional before using ashwagandha to treat anxiety or insomnia. There are no serious adverse effects reported with ashwagandha, but – as with any substance – allergic reactions are possible. So, don’t use ashwagandha if you are allergic to potatoes, tomatoes, peppers or other members of the nightshade family.

For sleeplessness stemming from anxiety and depression, ashwagandha may well be the remedy of the future, bringing gentle, natural, drug-free relaxation without side effects.

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References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19718255
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11194174
http://www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep/

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Psychiatry less talk more drugs

(NaturalHealth365) It turns out talk is expensive and psychiatrists can’t afford to listen to their patients problems. Many of the nation’s psychiatrists, because of insurance will no longer provide talk therapy. The form of psychiatry popularized by Sigmund Freud and was the corner stone of therapy has just been marginalized. Instead a prescription pad is used to alleviate all that ails the patients. After a brief consultation with each patient, medication is prescribed and the patient is sent on their way.

More Drugs

Medicine is rapidly changing from a caring personal experience to one dominated by large hospital groups, and pharmaceutical interests. The doctor patient interaction is a key component to psychiatry, with that loss it has become a drug mill.

When Dr. Levin, 68, was trained as a traditional psychiatrist at Michael Reese Hospital a Chicago medical center that is now closed, talk therapy was the standard of treatment. He treated 50 to 60 patients in once-or–twice weekly talk therapy sessions that lasted 45 minutes each. Now, like most of the profession he treats 1,200 people in mostly 15-minute visits for prescription adjustments. At one time he knew his patients’ inner lives, now he usually can’t remember their names.

At one time his goal was to help his patients become happy and fulfilled, at this time it is to keep them functional. Dr. Levin has found the transition difficult. Now he resists helping patients manage their lives. A direct quote: “I had to train myself not to get too interested in their problems.” Also, he said: “and not to get sidetracked trying to be a semi-therapist.”

Brief consultations are now common, said Dr .Steven S. Sharfstein, a former president of the American Psychiatric Association and the president and chief executive of Sheppard Pratt Health System, Maryland’s largest behavior health system. Dr. Steven S. Sharfstein telling words: “They check up on people; they pull out the prescription pad; they order tests.

There are no more couches in psychiatrist offices, there is no time or space for patients to lie down or talk.

The switch from talk therapy to medications has changed psychiatry forever. A 2005 government survey found that just 11 percent of psychiatrists provided talk therapy to all patients, and the rate is falling. Psychiatric hospitals, which once offered patients’ months of talk therapy now, discharge them within days with bottles of pills.

Recent studies point to the fact that talk therapy may be as good as or better than drugs in the treatment of depression. Insurance company reimbursement rates and policies are part of the reason. A psychiatrist can earn $150 for three 15-minute visits compared with $90 for a 45-minute talk session.

In 2009, the median annual income for psychiatrists was $191,000 according to surveys by a medical trade group. Dr. Levin’s wife said: “This is about volume” and if we spend two minutes extra or five minutes with every one of 40 patients a day, that means we’re here two hours longer every day. And we just can’t do it.”

Today, psychiatry is about volume, as we become a nation of factory medicine, we will short change the patient, and fill the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry executives. The most profitable area of drug sales is psychotropic drugs. Mood altering drugs aimed at brain chemistry such as anti-depressants, stimulants, anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic drugs exceeded $82 billion a year in 2003. The new generations of anti-psychotic drugs are drugs that have been either settled recently for causing harm or are under investigation for health care fraudulent claims.

The truth is the profession of psychiatry has been co-opted by the legal drug cartels.

About the author Blanche has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She had the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in Natural Healing including Naturopaths, Scientist, and Energy Healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.

Lemon Balm for anxiety relief

December 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Emotional Wellness, Natural Cures, Natural Healing

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(NaturalHealth365) Lemon balm is a common garden herb, with some uncommon abilities. Lemon balm contributes to significantly reduced stress levels. It counteracts negative moods, promotes calmness, and reduces oxidative related brain cell degeneration. Lemon balm is effective at reducing accumulation of the harmful amyloid-beta, a protein, which is considered a leading contributor to Alzheimer’s disease.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a perennial herb in the mint family. It is a plant native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean and to northern Africa. It has been cultivated for over 2000 years. Lemon balm has been in use throughout history as a healing herb. The Arabs introduced it as a medicinal herb, using it in a tea for anxiety and depression. In early Greece it was used for scorpion stings, insect and dog bites. Today, it is used in France as a remedy for fatigue.

The leaves have a soft lemon sent and in the summer it blooms small white flowers full of nectar. It is an easy plant to cultivate, growing well in sunny areas while being quite shade-tolerant. Lemon balm is grown indoors as a potted herb.

Lemon balm is used in ice cream and herbal teas as a flavoring. You also can find it in fruit dishes, candies, pesto, poultry, lamb and fish dishes. It is also used as a preservative in meat dishes. Many dishes are garnished with chopped fresh leaves. It has a subtle lemon flavor, which works well in many recipes.

Medicinal uses

Lemon balm leaves have many uses. The leaves are used as a mosquito repellent. It is used as a herbal tea or extract for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. It has demonstrated to be effective against herpes simplex.

Lemon balm chief components rosmarinic acid, quercetin, gallic acid, and rutin are potent antioxidants. These protect brain cells and other tissues from reactive, oxygen species (ROS). Lemon balm tea is used to protect radiology technicians from the oxidizing effects of chronic exposure to low levels of radiation.

Anxiety Relief

What it is most known for its ability to induce sleep and is considered a mild sedative. Lemon balm tea is used to calm colds and flu symptom. It is considered a carminative herb and is used to relieve spasm in the digestive tract. It is reduces dyspepsia associated with anxiety or depression, because of its sedative properties.

The volatile oils appear to help the nervous system. Anxiety is associated with tension, and as such lemon balm is used for migraines that are associated with tension. Lemon balm and its chief component rosmarinic acid boost levels of GABA in the brain. This elevated GABA levels reduce the level of anxiety. Increasing brain GABA activity is the way which prescription anti-anxiety drugs work.

GABA

GABA is an important inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Excitement in the brain needs to be balance with inhibition. Excitement can lead to restlessness, irritability, insomnia and anxiety. GABA is responsible for providing a soothing stress-relieving effect. This neurotransmitter is made in the brain from the amino acid glutamate with the help of vitamin B6. Many people are GABA deficient and look for products to help them relax.

Research

Animal studies have revealed the powerful anxiety and stress reducing effects of lemon balm. Mice demonstrated significantly reduced anxiety in maze experiments when they were given lemon balm extract. Mice conditioned to experience chronic fear showed significantly reduced stress response and more appropriate behavior when given lemon balm.

Human studies of lemon balm in treatment of agitation in Alzheimer’s patients have been encouraging. Research studies of lemon balm are compelling. There were a series of trials conducted in the Human Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at the University of North Umbria in the United Kingdom, which showed lemon balm produced an increase in self-rated calmness in a group of healthy adults.

The researchers also evaluated lemon balm in a different setting, where the subjects were deliberately stressed in the laboratory. They gave one group of healthy volunteers’ low doses of lemon balm and another group a placebo then subjected them to the Defined Intensity stressors Simulation, a battery of challenges designed to impose stress. Calmness was produced in the lemon balm group.

Lemon balm may add flavor to your food, while adding zest to your life.

About the author Blanche has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She had the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in Natural Healing including Naturopaths, Scientist, and Energy Healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.

Turning Anixety and Fear into Happiness

February 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Emotional Wellness, Spiritual Wellness

(NaturalHealth365) Did you know that anxiety is a form of fear? It’s apprehension of anticipated events or situations that lead to this unwarranted stress in our life. The emphasis is important to understand…anticipation! The solution is to live life in the present moment – yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t arrived.

Anxiety is a product of the mind. In order to reduce anxiety you must change your mind. Your thoughts help create your future. Give thought to the fact that we all come from the same source of life. Whatever you feel comfortable in calling it, the Universe; Divine Intelligence or G-D. Know that you are a special, unique individual with incredible potential for goodness, prosperity and happiness.

Give and You Will Receive! Give up trying to control people or events in your life. Your day is filled with endless possibilities to help yourself, family, friends and even strangers. Of course, seemingly stressful events will occur but your power lies in the ability to characterize these events negatively or positively. Every event in life is an opportunity to grow. How will you respond?

Develop a strong, positive belief system. Take action to strengthen your higher level of consciousness. Listen to that small voice inside of you. It’s telling you everything you need to know. You must believe 100% in your possibilities for success.

Action Step #1: Good nutrition is essential to maintaining a healthy state of mind. Review these suggestions with a trusted health care provider to reduce your anxiety and improve the quality of your life.

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking. They deplete your B vitamins, which are invaluable for maintaining calm.
  • Eliminate trigger foods, such as, simple sugar; artificially-sweetened foods; nitrate-preserved meats; MSG; fast foods, fried foods and soda.
  • Eat simple, calming foods, such as, organic whole grains, potatoes; oatmeal plus lightly-steamed vegetables.
  • Increase your consumption of foods rich in calcium to help you with stress, such as, organic almonds; soy foods and dark leafy greens (i.e. kale)
  • Try foods rich in magnesium to protect your nervous system, such as, kelp; wheat germ; bran; most nuts, tofu and miso
  • Get foods rich in B vitamins to support your adrenals and nerves, such as, whole grains; beans and nuts.
  • Enjoy foods rich in vitamin C to improve your stress response, such as, peppers; greens; broccoli, kiwi, blueberries and strawberries.

Finally, I offer you a morning meditation designed to set the tone for your day. Say it slowly and repeat it as often as you like. Remember, you are not alone; you are a part of a magnificent universe. There is real order and purpose to your life. Turning anxiety into happiness may be a meditation away – try it today…

I Accept, I Thank, I Surrender. In Front of You; You, the Universe; You, the Cosmos; You, the Guiding Hand, G-D. A Living G-D, the G-D of All Existence. You have returned and restored my living essence, my consciousness of this coming day within me, as a consequence of your beneficence, mercy and goodness. Great is your faith in me and I will not let you down. And I will not let my family down. And I will not let my friends down. And I will not let the stranger down. And in that way, I will not let you down.

Jonathan Landsman, Managing Director of NaturalHealth365.com, host of the NaturalNews Talk Hour, wellness coach, writer and public speaker is helping millions of people worldwide create health and physical fitness through a variety of educational and entertaining articles, teleconference calls, live shows and special events.
NaturalHealth365.com is an exciting platform for the greatest minds in natural health and science. Help spread the word – tell your family and friends about the health benefits you’ve experienced living a natural and non-conventional way of life. Together, we can make a difference!


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