Ayurvedic Essential Oils And Mood Blends



Mood differs from season to season, from person to person, from time to time and from odor to aroma. Sounds confusing? Let me put in more specific terms, Christmas brings in joy, New Year brings in newness, Halloween brings in adventure, Valentine’s Day brings in romance and Independence Day brings in patriotism. Each and every occasion is special on its own. Aromatic therapy or Aromatherapy is a part of Ayurveda, where aroma is used in treating illness and improving health conditions. It is based on the principle that natural fragrances, especially from pure essential oils can affect our moods, and consequently change the way we think or feel at any given time. Aroma affects our moods through the action or the start of the limbic system where the therapeutic properties of natural essential oils are slowly passed on to the entire system.

Pure essential oils support wellness and are extracted from various parts of a plant like flower, leaf, stem, resin, stalk, root, fruit, bark and seed. Ayurveda suggests the use of natural and wholesome essential oils instead of the synthetic or artificially fragranced oils because only pure essential oils will have the prana, otherwise known as the vital celestial energy to revivify your senses, enliven the mind and stimulate the key channels of the body for spreading the essential energy for strength and efficacy in an uniform manner. There are innumerable Ayurvedic essential oils, each of which can support some or the other moods of human beings. Let’s now look at the most predominant types of moods and the mood swings along with the essential oils that support such situations with their therapeutic properties.

1. Oils for depression: Depression is a deadly disorder that can literally spoil your days. The National Institute of Mental Health says that “Depression is a common but serious illness”. It causes extreme pain to you and to your near ones also. Ayurveda is the best way of treating depression as it has everything to soothe your senses and calm your mind. It suggests meditation and yoga for replenishing your mind, soul and spirit, while granting you an opportunity to realize your worth and come out of your deep mental worries. The best Ayurvedic essential oils for depression are Lavender essential oil, Rosemary essential oil, Frankincense essential oil, Jasmine essential oil and Ylang Ylang essential oil that can help one come out of depression with their calming, stimulant, antidepressant, nervine, sedative and hypotensive properties.

2. Oils for stress: We never knew that stress is the root cause for many major health disorders. Stress brings with it certain threatening symptoms like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, muscular tension, improper functioning of the digestive system, insomnia, weakened immune system and much more. Practicing an Ayurvedic routine along with the comforting and relaxing essential oils like Lemon oil, Bergamot oil, Lavender oil, Chamomile oil, Ylang Ylang oil, Patchouli oil, Peppermint oil and Orange oil.

3. Oils for loneliness: Nothing else like isolation and the feeling of loneliness can harm us, during the adverse times when we really need someone besides us. The best thing that Ayurveda, the mother of all healing sciences suggests is to speak with God through meditation and by offering a small prayer. This brings in the real difference and you will naturally inculcate the feeling that ‘You are not lonely anymore’. Few drops of Rose oil, Roman Chamomile oil, Frankincense oil, Clary Sage oil or Bergamot oil added either to your bath tub, diffuser or to your hankie will bring in the real energy to fight lonesomeness and support your mind.

4. Oils for anxiety and grief: Anxiety imparts nervousness along with an uneasy feeling, leading you to worry, stay restless, experience difficulty in sleeping, concentrating and few other health problems like nausea, headache and diarrhea. Most of the times work pressure, post-pregnancy blues, difficult terms in relationships, health problems or financial crisis may lead to anxiety disorder and would gradually make you sad. Ayurvedic essential oils like Sandalwood oil, Lavender oil, Cedarwood oil, Frankincense oil, Mandarin oil, Neroli oil, Rose oil, Ylang Ylang oil and Jasmine oil will regain the strength and confidence to face the tougher situations of life.

5. Oils for fatigue and fear: Oh! A single day with 3 important meetings, 2 conference calls, 4 reports to submit and attend to the queries of your subordinates is more than enough to make you tired, twisted and weary. This is called as fatigue. The fear of losing a job, a relationship or failing the examination, insecurity, pregnancy etc will make you panic. The best way to get out of it is to practice Pranayama, the art of breathing. Ayurveda suggests that deep breathing and meditation grants inner peace and strength, helping one to come out of fear and fatigue. A warm bath after your tiresome work with few drops of consoling essential oils like Peppermint oil, Rose oil, Lavender oil, Rosemary oil, Lemon oil, Bergamot oil, Frankincense oil, Sandalwood oil and Basil oil can grant you the warmth and energy that your mind and body demands.

Ayurveda considers that unhealthy or problematic relationships are the fundamental reason behind most of the problems mentioned above. This vitalizing science also grants incredible ways to maintain healthy relationships for your well-being.

Caution: Do not apply essential oils directly to your skin as pure essential oils are highly concentrated and may harm your skin or cause other allergic reactions. Consult your Ayurvedic Practitioner before using the right essential oils for your individual body type.

Thought for the day:

Nothing helps a bad mood like spreading it around.  –Bill Watterson

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Fragrant Mind: Aromatherapy for Personality, Mind, Mood and Emotion by Valerie Ann Worwood
  2. Change Your Mood with Aromatherapy (Teach Yourself) by Denise Whichello Brown
  3. The Interrelationship between the Body, Mind and Spirit in Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Medicine by C. Scott Ryan

Reference Links:

  1. What is Aromatherapy? The Theory Behind Aromatherapy by Medical News Today
  2. Mood Swings-Mental Health and Behavior Overview by Better Medicine
  3. What is depression by National Institute of Mental Health
  4. Pranayama (From Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga) by Yoga Point

Ayurveda For Memory Loss: 3 Ways To Stimulate Your Brain Power



‘Wondering whether you have locked your home?’ after stepping into your office. Thinking whether you turned off the stove while you are half asleep? Made your little one wear his/her sports dress on a ‘strictly uniform’ demanding Monday morning? Trust me, then you are travelling on the not-so-smooth road of memory loss. It’s not only you but many of us suffer from memory loss. Pharmaceutical drugs can help you temporarily but very soon you may be affected by perilous side-effects. The best and the natural way to treat memory loss is by following the paths of our ancestors, who have gifted us with Ayurveda, the mother of all healing sciences.

What is memory loss? The best function of the human brain is the power of recollecting and retaining information and that is known as memory power. This is assisted by neurotransmitters or brain chemicals, the imbalance of which causes memory problems. Memory loss is the loss of ability to remember things or events that may be recent or from memories of the past or both together. It is also known as amnesia, loss of memory, forgetfulness, amnestic syndrome and impaired memory. Loss of memory can be permanent or transient depending upon an individual and his environment.

What causes loss of memory? Thousands of reasons could be attributed to this unusual forgetfulness but the predominant ones being aging, stress, depression and other psychological disorders. Few other causes of memory loss are alcoholism, drug addiction, weakened immunity, brain disorders, exposure to chemical or toxic substances, lack of nutrition or imbalanced diet, genetics, accidents or other traumatic disorders, cancer treatments like chemotherapy and brain radiation and certain other nervous disorders.

Ayurveda and memory loss: The Sanskrit term for memory loss in Ayurveda is Smriti Naasha. It generally occurs due to vitiation of vata dosha or kapha dosha. Increased vata can end up in “in one ear, out the other” syndrome. Balanced vata is imperative for all the functions vested with the nervous system, whereas pitta balance is responsible for sharp mind, focused thinking and clarity of mind. Balance in kapha dosha fosters movement and carries the information to the brain through nerve impulses and helps to save it on the brain tissue. The 3 trusted Ayurvedic remedies for treating loss of memory and enhancing brain power are:

Ayurvedic essential oils: Essential oils are natural extracts from plants. The immemorial essential oil to treat memory loss is Rosemary essential oil as it is said to have a positive effect on the cognitive function and boosts brain power. This is why the celebrated English Herbalist Nicholas Culpeper rightly said that Rosemary Helps a weak memory and quickens the senses. The chymical [essential] oil drawn from the leaves and flowers, is a sovereign help…touch the temples and nostrils with two or three drops.  This essential oil is also proved to sharpen the mental faculties while improving the cognitive performance.

Calamus essential oil contains terpenoids with sedative effect, trusted to empower the nervous system. Famous Botanist M. Daniel from the M.S. University strongly says that Calamus is effective in treating mental disorders, memory loss and augments memory power and intellect. The other effective essential oils for enhancing memory power are Basil essential oil, Thyme essential oil, Clary Sage essential oil, Roman Chamomile essential oil, Ginger essential oil, Lemon essential oil and Grapefruit essential oil.

Ayurvedic herbs: Intake of Ayurvedic herbs like Brahmi, Gotu Kola, Acorus Calamus, Ashwagandha, Celastrus paniculata, Nardostachys, Convolvus Pluricaulis and few other herbs have been proven effective in treating memory loss problems. Brahmi is known as an excellent brain and nerve tonic that is used to perk up the intellect, support learning and treat memory disorders and cognitive impairment. The famous ‘Phytotherapy Research’ of the A&M University, Texas has proved that Brahmi herb protects against Alzheimer’s disease.

Herbalist Penelope Ody says that Gotu Kola is an endurance tonic that reduces stress, anxiety, high blood pressure and enhances the memory power while invigorating the brain and central nervous system. In her popular book ‘The Holistic Herbal Directory’, she suggests the use of Acorus Calamus to augment mental awareness and memory power.

Ayurveda recommends the use of Convolvus Pluricaulis for memory problems as it is an exceptional tonic for revitalizing the functions of the brain and stimulate the nerves. Celastrus paniculata is also known as the intellect tree with its neuro-protective, anti-depressant, sedative and stimulant properties. The oil extracted from the seeds of this plant is used as a brain tonic for treating memory loss by Ayurvedic practitioners.

Yoga and Meditation: Regular meditation improves the power of concentration and aids in self-realization, paving way for mental wellness mainly due to the positive changes created in the brain wave patterns. Practicing Pranayama, the Yogic breathing method helps in attaining inner peace along with enhanced spiritual skills, high concentration and memory power. Other effective Yogasanas for treating memory loss problems are Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand), which revitalizes and invigorates the entire body, Balasana (Child pose) that helps in normalizing the circulation after performing the head stand, treats nervous irritability, anxiety and fatigue.

Along with these Ayurvedic remedies, light and cleansing diet including fresh fruits, organic vegetables, nuts, ghee etc, will boost your insight and aid in strengthening your memory power. No more worries and only sweet and strong memories, undoubtedly with Ayurveda.

Thought for the day:

[Memory is] a man’s real possession…In nothing else is he rich, in nothing else is he poor.                                                   –Alexander Smith

Suggested Reading:

  1. Ayurveda and the Mind: The Healing of Consciousness By Dr. David Frawley
  2. Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization By Dr. David Frawley
  3. Life’s a Smelling Success: Using Scent to Empower Your Memory and Learning By Alan Hirsch

Reference links:

  1. Memory loss by MedlinePlus (A Service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  2. A Clear Mind and Good Memory With Ayurveda by Namaskarhealing
  3. Rosemary boosts brain power! By Robert Tisserand

Pranayama: The Ayurvedic Health Benefits Of Balanced Breathing



Have you ever thought about the way you breathe or the real magic behind your breathing? What will happen if your breath stops for a minute or two? Unimaginable and sounds pathetic, right? Pranayama can be called as the art of breathing for healthy living. This Sanskrit word means ‘extension of the life force’ in which ‘Prana’ means ‘breath or life force’ and ‘ayama’ means ‘expansion or to extend’. Ancient Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita have explained in detail about ‘Prana’ and its role in health and ailments. According to Ayurveda, Pranayama is a respiratory exercise and an exemplary technique to maintain physical health and augment mental health through spiritual values while harmonizing with the universal prana.

What is Pranayama? Pranayama is a vital part of the Yogic science, which is the sister science of Ayurveda. With the clear definition derived from the above para, all I have to explain about this spiritual healing technique is that it is the ‘control of breathing in a learned style’. This ideal breathing practice helps the body to meet its necessary oxygen requirements and release carbon-di-oxide and other toxins from the body. Pranayama should be done only after getting a proper training from an expert in Yoga. If done incorrectly, this exercise might increase the imbalances in the doshas, consequently ending up with diseases.

The three simple steps of Pranayama include Puraka (Inhalation), Kumbhaka (Retention) and Recaka (Exhalation). Slow and deep inhalation helps in the intake of enough oxygen for the body followed by total retention of the inhaled oxygen, which enables the system to acquire it. At the time of retaining the breath within, attention is focused on any particular part of the body like the forehead or the heart for gaining inner light. The final step is exhalation that is done through lungs or abdomen, where the impurities from your body are exhaled out.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Pranayama: Ayurveda is a holistic healing methodology that considers an individual as a universe in the universe based upon the solid principle that universe is also made up of the 5 vital elements and human body is also made up of the same 5 elements. Ayurveda considers ‘Pranayama’ as a juncture at which an individual’s own consciousness attains oneness with the universal consciousness. This paves way for realizing the immortal spirit vested within our body. The most significant health benefits of Pranayama according to Ayurveda are:

1. Enhances the quality of life: Pranayama or Yogic breathing helps you learn the art of deep and slow breathing, which aids in reduced rate of breathing. The normal respiratory rate in adults is about 12 breaths per minute at the time of rest. Increased respiratory rate like 20 or 30 breaths per minute are seen only in sick people, especially who are diagnosed with cancer, cystic fibrosis, HIV/AIDS and few other chronic conditions. Dr AC Guyton has said in The Textbook of Medical Physiology that “All chronic pain, suffering and diseases are caused from a lack of oxygen at the cell level”. Ayurveda recommends the practice of Pranayama to acquire enough oxygen to all the cells of the body and for reduced rate of breathing say about 5 to 6 breaths per minute. This helps in relaxation of nerves and muscles while lessening the wear and tear of internal organs.

2. Longevity or Increased life span: Increased life span or longevity is based upon an individual’s rate of breathing, according to Yoga, the sister science of Ayurveda. Pranayama teaches one to lower the rate of breathing and directly contributes to increased life span. As most of us know, one of the predominant living organisms on earth that has the highest life span is Tortoise and the major reason being its reduced rate of breathing that is only 4 to 5 breaths per minute.

3. Contributes to a healthy heart: A healthy heart is an incredible treasure supporting your welfare. This is an active organ of the body that works 24/7 in all the 365 days in a year. Practicing Pranayama regularly helps in the circulation of more oxygen to the blood and consequently supplies more oxygen to the heart and its muscles. This supports better functioning of your heart and effectively removes the toxins from the body.

4. Improves mental health: Inculcating regular practice of Pranayama strengthens your mind and grants you ultimate solace. A disturbed mind and a stressful life demands most of our time and steals our joy and serenity. Pranayama can also be called as positive breathing as it sows positive thoughts in our mind and emancipates the negative feelings like materialism, anger, depression, jealousy, stinginess, sluggishness, egotism and many other. This healing exercise improves the concentration power and paves way for better memory, enhanced spiritual skills and the eternal feeling of inner peace and harmony.

5. Healthy aging: Pranayama is the perfect way of treating the imbalances of all the three doshas namely vata, pitta and kapha. Vata aggravation leads to ill-health especially when a person turns older. Practicing Pranayama on a regular basis helps in keeping the mind and body in control. The sufficient amount of oxygen taken in by the body assists in treating Vata imbalances where Air is the predominant energy. This helps in protecting the health of the heart and lungs while preventing the negative symptoms of aging like rheumatism, backache, loss of vitality, solidifying arteries, improper blood circulation, dry and wrinkled skin, listless diaphragm and much more.

Start practicing Pranayama in a clean, bug-free environment especially in the early hours of the day when the energy levels of your body and the nature are at its best. Using aromatic Ayurvedic essential oils with therapeutic values while doing Pranayama can help you serve your health conditions better as it instills a positive sensation while fostering your body to accept the inner power granted by the natural fragrance of these oils. I can sense a ray of hope everyday when I practice Pranayama with the everlasting company of my favorite spiritual oils for fragrance, yes Frankincense essential oil along with Bergamot essential oil. It’s your turn now.

Thought for the day:

Inhale and God approaches you.  Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you.  Exhale, and you approach God.  Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.                                -Krishnamacharya

Suggested Reading:

  1. Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing By B. K. S. Iyengar
  2. Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha/2008 Fourth Revised Edition by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
  3. Moola Bandha: The Master Key by Swami Buddhananda
  4. Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization by Dr. David Frawley

Reference Links:

  1. Pranayama by Wikipedia
  2. Pranayama, Yoga, and Ayurveda by California College of Ayurveda
  3. Normal Respiratory Rate and Ideal Breathing by NormalBreathing.com