Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Week and we at Mauli wanted to share a few thoughts on what is undoubtedly a deep, broad and complex subject. We can only speak from our personal perspective, as mental health is as personal and individual as we are – and our intention is to give you the best advice we can in the hope it might help someone who is struggling with mental health issues.
As mental health problems come in many forms, the intricacies of each too large a topic to cover here, for the purpose of this article we will focus on depression and specifically on how Ayurveda treats depression.
Please note that depression is a serious medical condition, which needs to be supervised by a doctor. Although Ayurveda may treat mild or preclinical cases, these recommendations are not a substitute to consulting a physician.
If you are already receiving treatment for depression, Ayurvedic remedies can be used in conjunction with traditional medicine. It should always, however, be done with approval and supervision from a doctor. As a physician monitors your progress, the hope is you may be able to minimise or eliminate your dependence on strong medications by bringing your body back to balance with diet, exercise and other Ayurvedic treatments.
AYURVEDA AND DEPRESSION
From the perspective of Ayurveda, depression comes in three types, each treated differently. In brief, we can say that in certain conditions, vata from the colon, pitta from the intestine or kapha from the stomach enters the general circulation and lodges in the nervous system, interfering with its functioning.
If you’re not sure, which dosha – vata, pitta or kapha – you are, please take our test here.
The feelings generally associated with vata-type depression are fear, anxiety, nervousness and insomnia. Ayurveda treats depression of this type with these home remedies:
- Holy basil (tulsi) and sage tea. Drink twice a day
- Nose drops of warm sesame oil (3-5 drops in each nostril). Morning and evening on an empty stomach.
- Rubbing the top of the head and the soles of the fee with sesame oil
- Vata depression is sustained by loneliness. Try spending as much time as possible with other people
Pitta depression can become very serious and dangerous, associated with suicidal thoughts – in which case it is necessary to consult a doctor. The feelings associated with this type of depression are anger, fear of failure or losing control. Pitta personalities are vulnerable to seasonal affective disorder – a mild form of depression occurring in winter.
In all case of pitta depression, these ayurvedic treatments can help:
- Rub coconut oil onto your scalp and the soles of the feet just before bedtime.
- Drink ginko tea 2-3 times a day
- Use brahmi ghee nose drops on an empty stomach – 3 - 5 drops in each nostril
- Meditate, even as little as a few minutes a day can be very helpful
Kapha depression is associated with a feeling of heaviness – manifested in excess sleep, drowsiness, weight gain and overall sluggishness. Try these natural, ayurvedic treatments to relieve kapha depression:
- Fasting for 3- 4 days to release toxins
- Endurance exercise
- Ginger tea (ginger powder diluted in hot water) twice a day
- Try punarnava ghee nasal drops – twice a day, 5 drops in each nostril
- Sun Salutation – 12 repetitions a day
We’ve combined the knowledge of the Ayurvedic community and from Dr this article is based on Vasant Lad’s ‘The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies’