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Dr. Vikram Chauhan - MD (Ayurveda)

Friday, April 26, 2019

Watch Out For These Long-Term Effects of Chronic Stress

Mental Stress or tension is a state that arises due to adverse circumstances. Although, we know that these stress and strains are the part and parcel of our life, we suffer from this in day to day life. In limit, these stress and strains won't affect our body, but those who are not able to deal with it, they deteriorate their health and also experience a downfall in their works.

Watch Out For These Long-Term Effects of Chronic Stress

This strain impacts a great effect on our lives and on our health too. According to Ayurveda, this is concerned with Manovaha Srotas. Manovaha srotas is one which controls all the psychological and physiological functions of our body like – hormonal balance, all sensory and motor functions, etc. along with that it also affects the physical health and gives rise to many diseases like hormonal disorders – hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, PCOD, etc. Similarly, these strains affect our manovaha srotas and impair the functioning of various systems. The reason behind vitiation of Manovaha Srotas is - Vitiation of Sharirik doshas and Mansik doshas. The sharirik doshas are vata, pitta, kapha, and mansik doshas are rajas and tamas. If equilibrium is maintained in between all these doshas then the person is healthy, if there is any de-arrangement in these doshas that will lead to disease.

Stress is not contrived to decline health but when you are contingent on it for days, chronic stress causes various health ailments.


In this competitive world, mostly everybody is leading stressful life, facing family problems, financial problems, suffering from various health issues, etc. that lead to stress. Basically, all the personal and social problems are the reasons for stress.


In human beings, stress is maintained or overcome by the hormone Cortisol (produced by adrenal glands) and another hormone which can be helpful in this condition is – Serotonin (known as happy hormone that leads to happiness or mood –boosting neurotransmitter). Anything that leads to the reduction of these hormones is also considered as the causative factor. Hence, these hormones are classified among risk factors.


  • Headache
  • Frequent sickness
  • Decreased energy level
  • Decreased memory and cognitive skills
  • Insomnia
  • Appetite changes
  • Increased body movements
  • Irritable mood


As discussed earlier, stress affects various systems that include -

  1. Nervous system – The most important system that gets affected by stress is our nervous system and the person may experience various problems like – reduced memory power, reduced cognitive skills, insomnia, headache and body pains and person may end up with depression.
  2. Endocrine system – Hormones are neurotransmitters that are responsible for various actions. Any imbalance in them impairs the physiology of our body and stress is the main factor which is responsible for hormonal variation thus, it affects our endocrine system.
  3. Cardiovascular system – Our brain and mind both works and get affected synchronously. The variations in the circulatory system include - palpitation, anxiety, high blood pressure, excessive sweating. In extreme conditions, it may lead to heart attack and stroke.
  4. Lymphatic system or we can call it as an Immune system that helps us to fight against various diseases. Stress hampers the production of white blood cells antibodies in our body thus, flares up the antigen level. This is the reason behind frequent sickness.
  5. Digestive system – The first and foremost system that gets affected is our digestive system. Individual may suffer from problems like – anorexia, irregular bowel habits i.e. sometimes constipation and loose stools, gastritis, etc. These stress hormones slow down the release of digestive juices hence delay the digestion and emptiness of colon.
  6. Musculoskeletal system – Person may experience fatigue, tiredness, muscular pains, etc. 
  7. Respiratory system – Many people experience breathlessness when they are stressed. This symptom will occur during extreme stress.
  8. Reproductive system – Menstrual irregularities, a sexual abnormality such as premature ejaculation or impotence, low libido, etc. Basically, these irregularities occur due to hormonal imbalance.
  9. Other problems – Stress may worsen skin problems like – acne, psoriasis, eczema, etc. Stress may also contribute to hair fall. Stress is the main provoking factor in case of cancer. Moreover, a person may become addicted to alcohol, smoking, etc. and other bad habits to overcome stress.


There are various Ayurvedic herbs that help to manage stress and improve the higher mental functions. They are:-

  • Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) – Stabilizes the mental conditions and acts as a brain tonic. It helps to relieve cranial pressure hence, beneficial to relieve stress.
  • Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) – It is a Medhya drug, explained in our classics. So, it helps in boosting memory power. Brahmi counteracts the effects of stress by regulating hormones.
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)– Ashwagandha reduces cortisol level in our body, as cortisol is a stress hormone. Basically, it is a rejuvenating herb.
  • Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis)– It helps in boosting memory, increases intellectual power and it also improves cognitive skills.
  • Sunthi (Zingiber officinale) – It shows very good results with the combination of other brain tonics. As sunthi has tikshana property, which will help other medicines to cross blood brain barrier.
  • Tagar (Valeriana wallichii) – Tagar is the most useful medicine for treating insomnia because it calms the mind. It is also act as nervine tonic.
  • Vacha (Acorus calamus) – It is used to enhance memory and also causes a reduction in anxiety and causes a prolonged calming effect.
  • Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra)– As per our classics, licorice roots are effective in managing nervous disorders because they act as catalysts.
  • Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)– Shatavari promotes energy level and also supports the immune system.


  • For stress head massage is a good option to adopt. For this, oils that can be useful are - Brahmi taila, Himanshu taila, Ksheerbala oil, Bhringaraj oil, etc.
  • Nasya (Nasal drops) and Shirodhara are the panchakarma procedures that help to relieve stress. Balataila, Anu taila, Ksheerbala taila can be useful.

Reference - Ashtang hrudyam / Sutrasthana / Ayushkamiya adhyaye / Chapter no. 1 / Shloka no. 26

In Ayurveda, it is clearly mentioned that we can treat mano roga by balancing rajas and tamas doshas. And the best medicine is to balance them by means of -

  • Dhee – Improving intellectual power
  • Dhairya – Improving courage
  • Atmavigyanam – Self-realization


  • Modifications in diet and lifestyle are helpful. Prefer green vegetables and fresh fruits.
  • Add Yoga, Pranayam and Meditation in your daily routine as a part and parcel of your life.
  • Do head massage daily as it relaxes the mind and body.


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