Depression is a neurological disorder. When a person is too overcome with negative emotions, it becomes difficult to focus on any other issue. The person may become lethargic and lose interest in what is going on around them. Such a state may occur when a person fails in an examination, loses a job, gets jilted by a lover, gets divorced, loses some dear one, etc. Some people are able to get over their emotions quickly. But in some others, depressions may last for several days, weeks or even months.
In Ayurveda, depression is known as Chittavsada. It is caused by the increase in the tamas and rajas of the mind with a vitiation of the kapha dosha. Sometimes, an imbalanced vata may also be responsible for depression.
Depression needs to be looked after and treated as soon as it is identified. In some people, depression may be very dangerous as they could resort to endangering their own and other peopleâ€™s lives.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Depression
1. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha has the requisite properties to remove negative thoughts from the mind. The aphrodisiac properties of ashwagandha also help in improving the mind and removing depression.
2. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
Brahmi is prescribed before a yogic session. The reason is that brahmi helps to relax the mind and bring it to a comfortable state. Brahmi is very popularly available in the form of oils. The oil has a cooling and soothing effect on the mind. Regular use of this oil can prevent the person from feeling depressed.
3. Cardamom (Elattaria cardamomum)
Cardamom has a very pleasing odor which can soothe the nerves. When a person is depressed, a tea made by putting cardamom in it can have almost miraculous effects.
4. Guggulu (Commiphora wightii)
Guggulu has become the focus of attention recently due to the presence of special chemicals in it called as guggulsterones. These chemicals improve the nervous coordination and hence are beneficial in the treatment of depression. Guggulu is more effective in depression caused due to seasonal affective disorder.
5. Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi)
Jatamansi brings a calming effect on the mind. By canalizing the energies of the mind in the right direction, jatamansi can remove the depressive thoughts.
6. Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric is effective in treating depression that is caused by the change of seasons, i.e. seasonal affective disorder.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Depression
For people with depression a heavy food is not advised. The person must not eat to the full capacity. Hot, spicy and pungent tastes must be avoided as these will aggravate the senses further. Fluids and fresh vegetables (in salads) must become an important part of every meal. The person can have cool sherbets like rose sherbet in the middle of the day, especially in the afternoons and when the evening is beginning. Tea and coffee may be taken occasionally to stimulate the brain.
Most people with depression lose their appetite and desire to eat. For such people, food must not be forced, or it could lead to vomiting. When such a disinterest in food occurs, fruits can be consumed. A diet rich in fruits is beneficial in the treatment of depression.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatment for Depression
Even in Ayurveda, a psychological counseling between the physician and the patient is undertaken. This helps the physician to understand the root cause of the depression. Then they can take the formulated steps to cure the problem. Such counseling is done to increase the sattva of the mind.
Slowly allowing a stream of water to fall in the center of the forehead enables the mind to remove its negativistic thoughts and focus more on a positive outlook. This therapy is known as shirodhara and it is becoming very popular in the western world also. An alternative therapy is shirobasti. The oil massage therapy called as abhyanga is also very useful.
Ayurverdic professionals also advocate the use of yoga in keep the mind restful. Praanayama and yoga must become an important part of a personâ€™s daily routine. This helps to concentrate the mind on positive thoughts and depression will never occur. Yogic asanas that are beneficial to people with depression are bhujangasana, halasana, paschimottasana, sarvangasana, shalabhasana, shavasana and vakrasana. In addition, pranayamas like bhastrika and kapalbhati are very strongly advised.
(4) Home Medications
1. Get someone do a good head massage with a cooling oil like brahmi oil.
2. Improve the regimen of your day. Begin with yoga in the morning and then listen to good soothing music. For some people, visiting their religious places of worship also helps to come out of depression.
3. Focus your mind in other activities and hobbies in order to keep the thoughts causing depression away.
4. You can try eating an apple with milk and honey. This helps to improve the mood.
5. Simple lemon juice (the extract of one lemon in a glass of water, sweetened with sugar) is also good. It releases stress-removing hormones and brings the mind at ease.