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What Is the Pineal Gland?

The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland found attached in the posterior wall of the third ventricle near the center of the brain slightly above the pituitary gland, a little behind the root of the nose. This pea-sized gland is also known as the pineal body, epiphysis or “the third eye”. The main function of the pineal gland is to produce the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is produced only at night and the presence of light somehow inhibits production. This hormone is responsible for sleep and determines body weight and energy balance. The pineal gland along with the hypothalamus is responsible for the body’s biological clock, influencing sexual desire and controlling the aging process. It has been observed that the pineal gland is calcified in adults.

Philosophers and spiritual gurus call the pineal gland the third eye because they believe that this is where the soul is. Ancient Indian philisophy believes that it is connected to the crown chakra and when stimulated and mastered can enable one to separate the soul from the physical body.

Working in shifts, jet lag, lack of sleep and stress can impair melatonin production.

It has been noted that pineal gland disorders result in precocious puberty, insomnia, headaches, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, poor visions, and memory disorders.

In some cases of bipolar disorder, depression, obesity and severe insomnia, melatonin is used for treatment. Some form of relief has been reported but there are no conclusive findings yet established.

Among animals, melatonin governs the hibernation time, mating and reproductive seasons.

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