Ayurvedic Management of Depression

Depression is a very common health issue, which has affected a huge population. It is a mental health concerned issue, but it affects physical health as well it is represented with fluctuating moods, insomnia, anorexia etc. The incidence ratio is more in females than males.

Ayurvedic Management of Depression

According to Ayurveda, it is a Mansik vikara and a Manovaha Srotas Vyadhi. Manovaha srotas is one which controls all the psychological and physiological functions of our body like – hormonal balance, all sensory and motor functions etc. It also affects physical health and gives rise to many diseases like hormonal disorders – hyperthyroidism, hyporthyroidism, PCOD etc.

The reason behind vitiation of Manovaha Srotas is – vitiation of Sharirik doshas and Mansik doshas. Sharirik doshas are Vata, Pitta, Kapha, and Mansik doshas are rajas and tamas. If equilibrium is maintained in between all these doshas then the person is healthy, if there is any de-arrangement in these doshas that will lead to disease. 

What are the Causes of Depression?

  • Aahar karana’s (Dietary habits) – Indulging in an improper diet (Visamashana), excessive consumption of   tea, coffee, and stale foods etc.
  • Vihar karana’s (Lifestyle behavior) – The activities which will increase Vata dosha in our body includes– exertion beyond the limit, day time sleep, night awakening etc.
  • Mansik karana’s (Mental status) – Excessive worries, grief, anger, fear may provoke Vata dosha in our body.
  • Anuvanshik Karana’s (Hereditary factor) – Depression is also a hereditary disease.
  • Occupational hazard – In this competitive world, mostly everybody is leading a stressful life that is affecting their mental health. This is the main reason for depression. 

Some Other Contributed Factors are

  • Death of loved one.
  • Alcohol and Smoking.

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

The symptoms vary from person to person and may last for few days to few weeks and these symptoms are

  1. Fluctuating Moods (Frequently sad)
  2. Irritable nature
  3. Lack of Interest in all activities
  4. Anorexia
  5. Irregular bowel habits
  6. Insomnia (Loss of sleep)
  7. Hypersomnia (Excessive sleep)
  8. Weeping without reason
  9. Low self esteem
  10. Unable to take decisions
  11. Changes in cognitive behavior
  12. Social withdrawal
  13. Reduced memory
  14. Fatigue
  15. Suicidal tendency
  16. Altered higher mental functions
  17. Anxiety

Management Criteria According to Ayurveda

  • Nidan Parivarjan – Avoid the root cause.
  • Panchakarma help to do Nadi Shodhana, which purifies the body internally as well as externally.
  • Internal medications to alleviate the disease.
  • Rasayanas and Brihana therapy – To improve mental status.
  • Counseling.
  • Yoga and Meditation – To enhance will power.

Ayurvedic Line of Treatment for Depression

  1. NIDANA PARIVARJANA – First evaluate the cause of depression and then avoid the root cause.
  2. SHODHANA CHIKITSA (Purification procedure) – Panchakarma is a process which helps to eliminate the toxins from the body, and then helps to maintain the equilibrium of Sharirik as well as Mansik doshas, hence beneficial.
  • Shirodhara – It is a procedure in which continuously pouring the stream of medicated lukewarm oils over the forehead for the stipulated time.
  • Nasya – Instilling the medicated ghrita’s or taila in the nose.
  • Shiroabhyanga – Head massage.

3. SHAMAN CHIKITSA (Palliative care) – We have to prefer medicines which can manage Tridoshas. As we know the serotonin deprivation is the main reason for sadness. So we have to take measures to increase the serotonin level in our body.

(Reference- Charaka samhita / chikitsa sthana/ rasayan adhyaya / shloka no.3o-31)

Mandukparni’s – fresh juice, yashtimadhu powder along with milk, Guduchi juice, shankhapushpi in the form of paste or decoction is considered as best brain tonics. It helps to increases age, strength, agni, improves complexion, enhances voice quality, intellect and boosts immunity. Among these medhya rasayana’s shankhapushpi is the best one. These herbs have the potency to manage all the neurological disorders.

  • Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) – Stabilizes the mental condition and acts as a brain tonic.
  • Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) – It is a Medhya drug, explained in our classics. So, it helps in boosting the memory power.
  • Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) – It helps in boosting memory, increases intellectual power and also improves the cognitive skills.
  • Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra) – As per our classics, licorice roots are effective in managing the nervous disorders.
  • Sunthi (Zingiber officinale) – It shows very good results with the combination of other brain tonics. Sunthi has tikshana property, which will help other medicines to cross the blood brain barrier.
  • Tagar (Valeriana wallichii) – Tagar is the most useful medicine for treating insomnia. It is also a nervine tonic.
  • Vacha (Acorus calamus) – It is used to enhance the memory. It also causes a reduction in anxiety and gives prolonged calming effect.
  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) – Ashwagandha reduces cortisol level in our body, as cortisol is a stress hormone.
  • Shatavri (Asparagus racemosus) – Shatavari promotes energy level and also supports the immune system.

4. External applications which are helpful, they are

  • For head massage, oils which can be useful are – Brahmi taila, Himanshu taila, Ksheerbala oil, Bhringaraj oil etc.
  • Nasal drops – Bala oil, Anu taila, Ksheerbala taila can be used.

Home Remedies to Overcome Depression

  1. Prefer green vegetables and fresh fruits.
  2. Avoid stress and strain.
  3. Add a pinch of mulethi powder in a glass of cow milk, use this on a regular basis.
  4. Add Yoga, Pranayam, and Meditation as a part and parcel of your life.
  5. Do head massage daily as it relaxes the mind and body.
  6. Goat’s milk is also beneficial as nasal drops if instilled daily. You can pour 2 drops of goat milk in each nostril, in the early morning. Even you can instill cow’s ghee

Precautions To Be Taken

  • Avoid negative people, and negative thoughts.
  • DIET – The most important thing is to change the diet as fast as possible. All chemical food additives (color, preservatives etc.) should be removed from the diet as they are mood depressants. Avoid the use of alcohol, smoking and tobacco. Foods that are helpful – garlic, green vegetables, fresh fruits, milk, ghee etc.
  • Strictly avoid non-vegetarian diet.