How Ayurveda Treats Depression
Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK 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 are too large a topic to cover here, In this blog post we will focus on depression and specifically Ayurveda treatment for depression.
Please note that depression is a serious medical condition, which needs to be supervised by a doctor. Although Ayurveda therapy may treat mild or preclinical cases, these recommendations are not a substitute to consulting a mental health physician. If you are struggling with depression, seek help from a doctor.
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 aim for treating depression with ayurveda is that 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 treatment.
Ayurveda and Depression
Depression will affect everyone differently, and so you must treat each type of depression differently too. From the perspective of Ayurveda, depression comes in three types, each treated differently. It all depends on your dosha, the type of energy that makes up your being, these energies define a person’s make up, how they act and react, and how their minds and bodies are connected. There are 3 mind-body types - vata, pitta or kapha. 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.
Depressions and Ayurvedic Remedies & Medicines
VATA DOSHA AND TREATING DEPRESSION
The feelings generally associated with vata-type depression are fear, anxiety, nervousness and insomnia. If you are a Vata dosha here is how to use Ayurveda treatment for depression:
- 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 DOSHA AND TREATING DEPRESSION
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. If you are a Pitta dosha here is how to treat depression with Ayurveda:
- 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 DOSHA AND TREATING DEPRESSION
Kapha depression is associated with a feeling of heaviness – manifested in excess sleep, drowsiness, weight gain and overall sluggishness. If you are a Kapha dosha here is how to treat depression with Ayurveda:
- 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 Vasant Lad’s ‘The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies’