Dwarf Morning Glory (Shankhpushpi)

Dwarf morning glory (chiefly Convolvulus pluricaulis) is a herb that helps relieve stress and anxiety. It reduces the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, increases the production of signaling molecules called neuropeptides to improve communication in the brain, and fights free radicals generated due to stress. Early-stage research suggests that its flavonoids may also boost memory. It also helps balance thyroid hormone levels by inhibiting a group of enzymes that help convert T4 into T3.

Four herbs are referred to as dwarf morning glory, also known as shankhpushpi – Convolvulus pluricaulis, Evolvulus alsinoides, Clitoria ternatea, and Canscora decussate. Convolvulus pluricaulis is considered the “true” dwarf morning glory, while the other three are considered replacements depending on their availability in a geographical area.

Best known as a brain tonic, dwarf morning glory has its entire aerial part chipping in beneficial compounds. Here’s what they carry:

Convolamine seems to be the champion compound in most research studies, though we’re certain there’s a greater synergy at work.

Why It’s So Great

1. Reduces Anxiety and Stress

Living in a deadline-driven world has its boons and banes. It could help you get a lot done, but it could also weigh you down with stress and anxiety. As your body fights back, hand it the right weapons – foods and herbs rich in antioxidants. Dwarf morning glory is one such herb.

  • It helps calm your nerves by reducing the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.
  • This calm is further consolidated when the herb’s components interact with your fight-or-flight response and your brain’s reward or pleasure center. As you may have guessed, these interactions help you feel a lot less anxious.
  • Dwarf morning glory doesn’t stop there. It also increases the production of small signal molecules (neuropeptides) in your brain cells, giving way to better communication between different brain regions and stabilizing your emotions.
  • Anxiety and stress may also generate damaging molecules called free radicals. This is a huge threat to brain cells and can easily overwhelm your resident defenses. The antioxidants flavonoids in dwarf morning glory can team up with other antioxidants in your body and scavenge these free radicals.

2. Enhances Memory

If you are one of those who forget where they kept the car keys, or why they opened the refrigerator, or what was the one thing they were supposed to buy at the grocery store, don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s quite normal. But if you wanted a little help to jog your memory, have foods like walnuts and fatty fish and herbs like bacopa and dwarf morning glory.

The details of how dwarf morning glory bumps up your memory are yet to be deciphered, but there is proof that it does so nonetheless.

While dwarf morning glory triterpenoids, flavonol glycosides, anthocyanins, and steroids have all been given credit for this effect in one way or another, the alkaloid convolvine seems to be particularly helpful here.

3. Regulates the Thyroid Hormones

Food fuels your body. How quickly your cells burn this fuel for energy is determined by the thyroid hormones T3 (tri-iodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) – more so the active form T3.

T3 needs to be present in the optimum amount; less T3 than optimum slows down your metabolism, while more T3 can cause you to lose weight unhealthily, develop a rapid heartbeat, sweat profusely, and become hyperactive or irritable.

Dwarf morning glory could help your body maintain this balance. It may be able to keep your T3 in check by inhibiting the enzyme (5′-ID) that converts T4 to T3 in your liver, kidney, and muscles. Simply put, it hands your body more control over your metabolism.

Lifestyle Tip

There is no fixed recommendation of how much dwarf morning glory you should have. It will depend on your body constitution and medical history. That said, 3–6 gm (about 1 teaspoon) of the powder with honey and milk early in the morning is what is generally considered safe and effective.

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