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Johnson Joseph   June 1, 2016, 4:43 p.m.
How Ayurveda Can Help Treat Depression

How Ayurveda Can Help Treat Depression

Depression, in today’s world, is so common that it is referred to as the ‘common cold’ of mental health.

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Depression strikes millions each year, with almost 10-15% of the population suffering from depressive disorder at any given time. Even with high cure rate and effective treatment available, most of the people suffering from depression go unnoticed and live without diagnosis or proper treatment.

Causes and Symptoms of Depression

Depression can hit a person in various different forms like frequent sadness, anxious, social withdrawal, hopelessness, empty mood, fatigue, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, feeling guilty or worthlessness, irritability, loss of appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, reduced sex drive, poor performance at work place or at studies, or poor concentration.

Even though the actual reasons underlying depression disorder is not known, studies show that the onset of the illness is marked by a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. There are cases which shows that certain people are born with a chemical imbalance that can result in mental frustration, which can lead to depression. There are many other factors that can cause depression in individuals like,

  • Drug use

  • Mate cheating

  • Loss of loved one

  • Divorce

  • Excessive internet usage

  • Video game addiction, and much more.

The Science Behind Depression

Science defines depression as an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. The most predominant imbalance involves the natural messenger molecule serotonin, even though other neurotransmitters are involved. The normal antidepressants provided by the medical team can help in improving the mood of the individual suffering from depression to a certain extend by increasing the levels of serotonin.

Common Treatments for Depression

The various kinds of treatment available for depression disorder is as follows:

  • Antidepressants or Depression Medications

  • Psychotherapy

  • A combination of the two

Most of the people prefer any of these two methods to treat depression. Individuals with mild forms of depression opts for psychotherapy alone. In case of moderate or severe depression, they opt for different kinds of antidepressants. There are people who even opt for both the methods like, antidepressants to bring down the symptoms of depression quite quickly, and psychotherapy to learn a more effective way to deal with their life situations.

How Ayurveda Treats Depression?

Ayurveda mentions depression as Vishada, which is also described as ‘most disease aggravating factor’. The depression in Ayurveda indicates the reduces sattvik energy and aggravation of rajasik and tamasik energies.

Depression is an illness that infiltrates your whole body. It can affect your whole body, the way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat and sleep, and the way your memory is working. Since depression is an illness that can affect the entire body mechanism, you can’t just ignore it, instead you have to get it treated.

Useful Ayurvedic Herbs Used for Treating Depression

The most common ayurvedic herbs used for the treatment of depression disorder are as follows:

  • Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)
    Ashwagandha is known for removing negative thoughts from the mind. The aphrodisiac properties of the ashwagandha also helps in improving the mind and removing depression.

  • Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
    Brahmi is normally prescribed before a yoga session. This is because the brahmi helps the individual to relax and brings down his mental status to a comfortable level. It is popularly available in the form of oils. It is said that the regular use of these oils can prevent a person from feeling depressed.

  • Turmeric (curcuma longa)
    The seasonal affective disorder, or the depression that is caused by the change of seasons can be treated by the use of turmeric.

  • Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
    Guduchi has gained immense popularity among the recent times as a rejuvenating and immune building herb that can increases strength, immunity. It is  also helpful in enhancing the cognitive functions and memory.

  • Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi)
    Jatamansi is known for calming the mind, and therefore it is used for treating the depression effectively.

  • Black Pepper
    The black pepper is known to help enhance the medha agni, helping to improve digestion and balance of emotions.

Diet and Lifestyle Advices

As I said before, depression can also be as a result of bad lifestyle, and improper food habits. So, maintaining a good lifestyle is important to own a healthy and happy mind.

  • Get a good night’s sleep and start your day early in the morning, with a proper exercise and healthy breakfast.

  • Make sure you eliminate every morning. Constipation can cause dullness, headache and depression.

  • Outdoor games and activities can help you stay positive.

  • Maintain a regular food timing. Include more fresh vegetables and seasonal fruits to your diet. Try avoiding/reducing alcohol, non-vegetarian foods, and fast foods from your daily diet.

  • Avoid heated arguments or discussions while having food. Ensure a peaceful and relaxed environment during meals.  

  • Try doing yoga, pranayama, and meditation to enhance your mental and physical strength.

  • Maintain healthy relationships and social ties to enjoy a positive mental strength.

  • Don’t sit too late at night. Try to go to bed by 10.00 P.M. or earlier.

Home Remedies to Enhance Your Mental Strength

Kerala, the land of ayurveda and ayurvedic treatments, is blessed with thousands of known and unknown medicinal plants, and hundreds of years of dedicated ayurvedic practice. Today, it’s a unique, indispensable branch of medicine with many popular and established ayurvedic clinics/hospitals at various parts of kerala.

Complex ayurvedic treatments are done by ayurveda vaidyas or professionals with years of experience. But. there are a few home remedies you can follow on everyday basis to improve your mental strength.

  • Take some rose petal and water and boil it for 2 minutes. Add some rock candy/mishri/sugar to it and drink it twice a day.

  • Eat apple with milk and honey, the combination of these three is supposed to uplift your mood.

  • Take 2 cardamoms and powder it. Add it to a cup of water and boil. Add sugar and drink it daily.

  • Drink tea made out of Indian basil or tulsi and sage. Remember to drink this herbal tea twice a day.

  • Warm avocado leaves and place them on your forehead and relax. This is said to uplift your mood.

  • Cook white rice with lily bulb, palm and tulip and have it.

  • Add nuts, cheese and a spoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it.

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