Almost everyone has to work long hours these days, sacrificing rest and sleep. This may cause temporary or even chronic fatigue. Fatigue refers to a feeling of tiredness, weariness or lack of energy. This condition can be remedied by adequate rest.
Ayurveda and Fatigue
The Ayurvedic term for fatigue is referred to as klama. According to Ayurveda, the Kapha dosha (biohumor associated with Earth and Water) is the primary dosha that is imbalanced in case of fatigue. Those with Kaphic constitution are more prone to develop it. The usual reason for feeling worn down is a poor diet apart from dissatisfaction at work and stress. Exhaustion from too much work (called shrama) may also be the cause of body pain, fever, headaches, etc. which may feel like fatigue and one can feel better after a period of relaxation.
If one consumes only certain types of food or inordinate amounts of processed or junk foods may lead to stasis to develop in the intestines, stomach and other chambers of the body. In time, this stasis produces toxins (called ama) that cause obstruction in the subtle channels of the body which can lead to fatigue.
Symptoms of Fatigue
Fatigue can be responsible for a wide range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms, including:
Continued tiredness or sleepiness
Sore or aching muscles
Slow reflexes and responses
Impaired decision-making and judgment
Mood swings, such as irritability and apathy
Impaired hand-to-eye coordination
Loss of appetite
Short-term memory issues
Lack of concentration
Frequent episodes of sore throat
Tender and swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
Not feeling refreshed in the morning
Feeling breathless after minor tasks
Sluggishness and loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
Anxiety and depression
Root Causes of Fatigue
A specific character trait, compulsiveness, can lead to chronic fatigue. Many persons constantly feel that they cannot take rest until they finish everything that needs to be done at one time. These persons are usually tense and cannot relax unless they complete the whole job, no matter hotwired they may be.
On the other hand, while the lack of sleep may cause fatigue too much sleep (on the plus side of 11 hours) can also cause a sleepy feeling in the daytime.
The main cause of fatigue is lowered vitality or lack of energy due to wrong eating habits. The habitual use of refined foods such as white sugar, refined cereals, white flour products and processed foods cause inflammation and have very bad effects on the body in general.
Nutritional deficiencies are also commonly found in those suffering from fatigue, particularly iron and Vitamins B12 and D. An allergy to foods and drugs causes your body to react to histamine-containing foods resulting in feeling tired.
Menstruation can be draining on the psyche and physique, especially in women whose nutritional reserves are low.
Certain physical and mental conditions also create fatigue. These include anemia, low adrenal function, intestinal worms, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, any kind of infection in the body, liver damage, Hashimoto’s, insomnia, mental tension, depression and unresolved emotional problems.
Chronic fatigue can also be traced back to having a high toxic burden. Usually, we are exposed to low-level toxin exposure on a daily basis from the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and personal care products we use.
Some of us may have a certain variation of the methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene that regulates the conversion of folic acid (Vitamin B9). Lack of this B-vitamin can leave us feeling fatigued.
Coffee and other caffeine drinks are major villains in the fatigue syndrome. Caffeine stimulates practically every organ in the body to respond. The “high” created is temporary and requires more of the drug to deal with frequent ups-and-downs.
Routine work like housework, factory work, operating computers and practically all other endeavors that deal with a constant flow of sameness provide the possibilities of fatigue syndrome. Rest periods and scheduled diversions are necessary.
Obesity causes low energy levels and decrease in motility. The condition is associated with physiological changes at the muscular level, like lowered blood flow, so the supply of oxygen and energy sources is limited. This leads to higher incidence of muscle fatigue.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Fatigue
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera): Ashwagandha is one of the top herbs for fatigue that improves the body’s ability to maintain physical effort and helps the body adapt to various types of stress. Investigation both clinical and experimental have observed that Ashwagandha acts as an anti-stress and adaptogenic herb. The root finds its use in treating general debility. Ashwagandha is also beneficial in the treatment of chest diseases such as cold and cough which can cause a general weakness in human body. Ashwagandha is a tonic-strengthening herb that is high in iron content and increases hemoglobin. Ashwagandha berries are a blood purifier that improve circulation and absorption of nutrients by cells. Take a teaspoon with warm milk every night at bedtime.
Saffron (Crocus Sativus): Medicinally, keshar or saffron is used in small doses as natural supplements for tiredness. Useful in weakness & fatigue, fever, melancholia, enlargement of the liver, spasmodic cough and asthma, and in catarrhal affections of children. It is given in anemia, chlorosis and seminal debility; as a stimulant and aphrodisiac.
Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosus): The roots of Shatavari has been used for ages in Ayurvedic medicine and other traditional medicines in the treatment of general debility, weakness, male infertility (due to low sperm count), loss of libido, epilepsy (fits), mental debility, fatigue and in many male diseases.
In case of female-oriented ailments such as menopausal syndrome, anemia (which cause weakness), lower quantity of breast milk secretion, and for both mental and physical ailments, shatavari is one the natural herbs for energy that has proved its medicinal efficacy.
Safed Musli (Chlorophytum Borivilianum): It acts as a good healing agent and acts as an excellent anti-ageing constituent. It is in fact a good boost up for a person’s health while maintaining optimum hemoglobin levels. This is one of the best natural supplements for tiredness as it prevents fatigue in human beings and augments their resistance to pressure if taken in proper dosage. Safed Musli is an important herb for diabetic patient and helps in maintaining sugar levels in the blood.
Amla (Emblica Officinalis): Amalaki or Indian gooseberry is one of the best herbs for chronic fatigue as it helps in improving body weight. It aids in raising the total protein levels due to positive nitrogen balance. Thus, it is recognized to give an anabolic effect to the body. Amalaki is considered as a highly nutritious fruit. Apart from Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, Amalaki also provides many other essential minerals to the body. These minerals help in maintaining proper functioning of the metabolic activities of the body. It increases the RBC count and helps to encourage good health. The dried Amalaki fruit is useful in the treatment of hemorrhage, diarrhea, and dysentery. Amalaki is also known to have anti-aging properties. Drink amla juice daily in the mornings as an Ayurvedic tonic for fatigue.
Shilajeet (Asphaltum): Found high in the Himalayas, Shilajeet has been Ayurveda’s top natural supplements for fatigue. It is known as the “Destroyer of Weakness” as it contains rare constituents called fulvic and humic acids that can be used for energy production by the mitochondria.
Brahmi (Centella Asiatica): Brahmi is well-known as the brain tonic that is also considered one of the greatest herbal remedies for tiredness with benefits like memory, clarity, mood and sleep. This herb is also an adaptogen, very much like Ashwagandha, which balances the brain’s chemicals and supports nervine health. Recent research has shown that brahmi also supports the skin of the intestinal tract.
Ayurvedic Supplements (to be taken under physician’s guidance – Consult Now)
Kesari Kalp Royale
Swarna Vasant Malti
Musli X capsule
Nutritional measures are most vital in the treatment of fatigue. Studies reveal that people who eat snacks in between meals suffer less from fatigue and nervousness, think more clearly, and are more efficient than those who eat only three meals daily. These snacks should consist of fresh or dried fruits (especially dates), fresh fruit or vegetable juices, raw vegetables, or small sandwiches of whole grain bread. The snacks should be light and less food should be consumed at regular mealtime. Snacks should also be taken at specific timings in between large meals such as 11 a.m., 4 p.m., etc.
Cereal seeds in their natural state relieve fatigue and provide energy. These cereal seeds are corn seeds, wheat seeds, rye seeds and maize seeds.
Chronic fatigue caused by poor circulation can be remedied by daily physical exercise. It will help relieve tension, bring a degree of freshness, renew energy levels and induce sleep.
Massage, cold applications increasing in degree gradually or alternate hot and cold baths stimulate the muscles to renewed activity, thereby relieving fatigue.
Too much work on your plate and conflicts at work can lead to burnout and fatigue. Address problems at work by seeking the counsel of your human resources officer.
Try to carve out some quality “me-time” every week to simply relax and meditate or do something you enjoy.