Ayurveda And The Limbic System: The Ready Reckoner


The Limbic system???……. Feel like you’ve heard this term somewhere…. Stop wondering and you’ll be amazed to know that it is an incredible part of our brain, which is one of the first part to develop as a fetus. The sense of smell or an odor, the most significant among the five sense organs according to Ayurveda is often vested with the limbic system. We can call it as a ready reckoner as it helps in recollecting the older thoughts or persons in our life when we come across a smell or fragrance associated with a person or a place or a special incident in your life.

Vital constituents of the limbic system: The three major parts or the constituents of the limbic system otherwise known as Paleomammalian brain are hypothalamus, hippocampus and amygdalae, which is mainly linked in mental conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Other vital components are thalamus, olfactory bulb, pituitary, nucleus accumbens, orbitofrontal cortex, fornix, mammilary body, cingulate gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus and dentate gyrus, all the three gyrus are collectively known as the limbic lobe.

Essence and importance of the limbic system: The ancient science of brilliance known as Ayurveda has an intense knowledge about the mechanism of the human body even before 5000 years when the modern machineries and lab apparatus in this contemporary world of medicine is by far a dream or not thought of. Ayurveda considers human brain as a vital organ in determining the health physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. It says that human beings act according to the commands given by their brain. The start or the activation of the limbic system triggers the function of the central nervous system, enabling various other functions like blood sugar levels, respiration process, determining the body temperature, controlling heart rate, awake and sleep response, sexual feelings and much more.

Ayurvedic ways of healing through the limbic system: Each and every part of the limbic system is responsible for several functions. Few noteworthy functions among them are thirst, hunger, pain, pleasure, emotional reactions, memory, fear, defensiveness, anger and other facial expressions. The ancient Ayurvedic texts prescribe the use of aroma therapy or aromatics as a vital means for holistic healing and prevention of diseases.

Aroma can affect our senses and can have an upper hand in stimulating and balancing our motions. This is mainly done by the odor-bearing molecules that set off the receptors in the nose at the time of breathing. These molecules are then transformed into nerve impulses and attain the olfactory bulb that is considered to be a part of the limbic system in the brain. This reaction then slowly passes on to the entire limbic system constituting the hippocampus, in charge of memory, hypothalamus, directing emotions, amygdalae, known as the archaic arousal center and few other essential parts.

When you inhale the aroma of Ayurvedic essential oils with therapeutic properties like sedative, aphrodisiac, stimulating, calmative, balancing and energizing, the molecule of the essential oil passes through the nasal passage and reaches the limbic system as nerve impulses through the olfactory epithelium. After which the hypothalamus and other parts of the limbic system receives the information and passes the respective message or commands to the entire system to relax, rejoice, stay calm, foster thirst, control hunger, boost immunity, control hormonal imbalances and much more.

The thoughtful relationship between aroma and the limbic system through the age old method of healing, known as Ayurveda, the ‘Science of life’ leaves me speechless!!! Feel like reviving my senses through the enlivening Ayurvedic essential oils…and….. I’ve started now…

Reference Links:

  1. Limbic System by Wikipedia
  2. The Limbic System by Suzanne Bovenizer CMT, CST
  3. Ayurveda and Aromatherapy by AllHealthyFamily News
  4. Ayurvedic Perspectives on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula