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Depression

There have been many queries reg. depression in past.
So i felt of discussing about it little bit.

While mood swings are a normal part of life, chronic depression is a
serious disorder that limits the quality of life and suppresses the
immune systems. Depression has been on a steady rise in North America
since the early twentieth century. Similarly, as a by-product of
industrialization, fast life, it grips rest of the world also. So is
anxiety, a closely related disorder associated with nervousness and
fear, which can bring on sudden hyperventilation, a pounding heart
and feelings of suffocation, often at the most inappropriate times.
When indigestion, mental tension and acidity combine together, the
depression intensity increases.
The symptoms of this reversal of Apan Vata include confused state of mind,
pains in armpits, sides, chest, etc., the tension in the blood vessels in head, forehead, in the
neighbourhood of eyes, etc. The mind stops thinking and a lot of
anxiety is experienced. This can happen both before as well as after
meals. It may occur even after the digestion of food. On such
occasions, lime juice, soda-bi-carb, black pepper, saindhav, ginger
powder, black salt, ajwain powder can give a little relief,
especially if belching occurs. Many find a bitter taste in their
mouth when waking up. In addition, a coating on tongue, dry lips,
constant thirst or vomiting sensation is experienced. Vomiting causes
a relief. Increase of pulse, irregular heart beats, heavy stomach,
restlessness and some relief on loosening of clothes, hiccups, etc
are several other symptoms.

Because depression is quite often a symptom of some other condition,
you should attempt to eliminate its source instead of just looking
for a quick fix from a drug or an herb. Michael F. Breslos, M.D., a
psychiatrist at the University of Arizona, found that even a single
cup of caffeine-laden coffee or cola produces anxiety attacks in
susceptible individuals, and ten cups can cause almost anyone to have
an attack.

Before attempting medication, it is better to eliminate the root
cause. The natural moods of body, e. g. sleep, thirst, hunger, yawn,
elimination of wastes, movement of semen, sneeze, cough, tears etc.
should not be suppressed. If one needs to remain awake, rest next day
is also essential. The pacifiers of Vata are called Carminatives and
their use gives benefits in such cases. Such ingredients include
asfoetida, ajwain, black salt, ginger, black peeper, garlic, lime,
etc. When we take food, we gulp air also with or without knowing.
Such air can be released by deep breathing and deliberate belching.
When such attacks come, people get afraid of cardiac problems and
rush to hospitals for a Cardogram, which reveals nothing.

Such patients should avoid sedentary life-style first. Early morning
walk is highly benificial. Yogasanas also yield good results. Such
patients are afraid of eating pulses, even simple chapati, dhal,
rice. They like to eat, but when they see food, the appetite gets
killed. A deep study of such patients reveals that the reason for
this condition can be traced to mind rather than body.

Hypoglycemia is a frequent condition linked to depression. Allergies
to food and other substances, as well as low blood sugar levels, can
also make you feel low. Some prescription drugs are notorious for
causing depression, especially when used in combination with certain
other medicines—if you are taking any prescription medicines, ask
your doctor about bad combinations or read up on the side effects of
your medications.
If depression is linked to gasto intestinal system, Hingashtak
Churnam up to half teaspoon can be taken mixed with rice or Khitchri.
Lavan Bhaskar Churnam is a readily available formulation in Indian
pharmacies, which can be taken upto 2 gms with butter milk, after
lunch and dinner. Though Ayurveda recommends avoiding curd and butter
milk after sunset, it can be taken in such conditions. In addition,
one can use Chitrakavati, Shankhavati as appetisers and Digestive
Agni enhancers. Undigested food, residing in stomach, small or larger
intetsine, when ferments, distorts the movement of Vata. Vishatanduk
is also a herb used in Ayurveda for such conditions. Agnitundivati or
Navajivan Ras is a traditional formulation made from this herb. These
strengthen stomach, intestine and liver functions, increase appetite
and metabolism. Vata is the main motive force in metabolism, other
than Pachak Pitta. When balanced this way, it reduces hypo-glacemeia
and thus depression.

The depression is frequently the result of a loss of beloved. This
can be either a physical loss or emotional gap in couple, which
develops as a result of inharmonious natures, or lack of touch
relationship arising from menopause. According to ayurvedic
philosophy, the knowledge of the eternal nature of man is the basis
for healing from loss. You can then work to bring Sadhaka Pitta back
into balance. Sadhaka Pitta is the part of Pitta in our physiology,
that has to do with the emotions and their effect on the heart, and
is an aspect of Pitta, which governs heat, digestion and metabolism.
The experience of loss can trigger Sadhaka Pitta -- emotions that may
result in feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety and resentment.

Ayurveda suggests nurturing yourself by seeking the support of loved
ones, enjoying activities such as taking walks in nature, daily self-
massage with a cooling, relaxing oil or aroma blend that includes the
essence of rose (abhyanga) and reading uplifting books. Dietary
recommendations include adhering to a Pitta pacifying diet where you
would reduce spicy, sour and salty foods and favor astringent, bitter
and sweet foods to cool the body and improve digestion.

Another simple recommendation is to soothe the heart and emotions
with the beauty, fragrance and taste of rose petals. Roses have long
been used to alleviate depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability
and memory loss. Though rose is cooling, yet it enhances agni, unique
quality which makes it balancing for all three doshas if taken in
moderate amounts. Gulkand is the formulation which balances Sadhaka
Pitta.

After managing the diet, one can consider medication. Fortunately,
herbal antidepressants do exist. In fact, author knows quite a few
people who have successfully lowered or gone off their antidepressant
drugs—sometimes after taking them for years—and now use herbs
instead. Most of them find that they need to continue taking at least
a minimal maintenance dose of the chemical antidepressants, but they
are happy to have switched almost completely to a more natural
alternative. Keep in mind, though, that antidepressant herbs are not
as fast-acting or powerful as their pharmaceutical counterparts.
Moreover, do not switch to herbal treatments for serious emotional
disorders without consulting a health care practitioner, preferably
one with whom you have a close working relationship.

Many commonly prescribed antidepressants work by keeping the
neurotransmitter serotonin circulating in the brain. If you are at
all familiar with antidepressant drugs, you have probably already
heard of tricyclic drugs, MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitors and
serotonin uptake reinhibitors such as Prozac/Zoloft/Paxil. What you
may not have heard is that Siberian ginseng and licorice also
increase the availability of serotonin in the brain. In clinical
studies, Siberian ginseng has repeatedly proved helpful for people
who are depressed or have other serious emotional problems. According
to a 1980 study, licorice is more effective than one of the commonly
prescribed MAO inhibitors.

In a series of studies that were presented in 1992 at the Fourth
International Congress on Phytotherapy in Munich, Germany, Saint-
John's-wort helped well over half of those who were mildly to
moderately depressed. In less than a month of taking this herb, the
depression and accompanying disturbed sleep and fatigue experienced
by participants in these studies generally improved.
According to ayurvedic experience in India, following Ayurvedic
Strategy for Depression.

1. Anti-depressant tea:
11 leaves of Holy basil
1/4-1/2 tsp dry ginger powder
1 tsp crystal sugar or 20 gms jaggery or date sugar
1 cup of water
Boil for 10 minutes and drink twice/thrice a day. This will very
slowly, releive you from the mood-swings/anxiety/pensive moods.

2. Substitute for Coffee/Tea:
Take 5 Tulsi leaves
2 cloves
1 Cinamon small piece.
Grind coarse, add in 1 cup water, boil for 2 minutes
and drink hot as many time a day as you enjoy.
For a few days, you may not notice that your desire
for tea/coffee is changing.

3. Brainboost(also for concentration, forgetfulness):
soak 4 dates or 8-10 raisin for two hours; crush, remove seeds and
add two pinches of Godanti Hartal Bhasma, stirr and drink at
breakfast time. This is Brainboost+Braincool. The Bhasma will be
available from allayurveda.com by online order. Very inexpensive.

4. Morning Walk:

If there is good sun light, rise up half an hour before sunrise, go
for a walk and return when sun is about to rise. Watch it without
closing your eyes as long as eyes do not become watery or tired. This
is our anti-depressant, sure to work in a matter of 20 days. You will
feel something missing, should you fail to do it one day. The sun-
watching exercise increases the beauty and magnetism of the eyes.

5. Mixture of Brahmi, Jatamansi, Shankhpushpi, Vekhand, Yeshtimadhu:

1 tsp of this mixture, thrice a day with sweet milk or ghee+sugar
will be benificial. The author has used it for epilepsy patients also
in place of Brahmi Ghrutam or Brahmi Vati. IT has been given to
students cramming for their exams, especially during last month.

8 comments:

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  2. For me it is the right side of my chest. I get huge pain there when things are bad.

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  3. Anonymous5:42 PM

    Thanks so much for this information. I'm gokng to save it to my documents. I can attest to the fact that herbal remedies do take longer to take effect. But there are no adverse side effects. My experience has been quite positive using the herbal approach to depression. Sleep has been restored. Mood is improved and memory is becoming sharper. Barbara Altman
    Author of soon to be released "Battling Depression, Psychosis, and anxiety.

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  4. Hi,

    Thanks for the info -- especially about the teas. You might want to check out this ayurveda article from Women to Women -- a really nice intro to ayurvedic treatment of menopause. Here is the link: Ayurveda and menopause

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