In Ayurveda, imbalance in psychic energies (sattva, rajas, tamas) supported by imbalance of physical energies. Vata, pitta, kapha are believed to cause various mental disorders. One of the most common disorder being depression and insomnia. Depression usually indicates reduced sattvik energy and aggravation of rajasik. Tamasik energies that disrupts the flow of pranavayu into our brains causing an imbalance of neurotransmitters. Which leads to several symptoms of depression and insomnia. Symptoms include lethargy, sluggishness, insomnia, erratic eating habits, lack of enthusiasm, tiredness, heaviness, lack of appetite, etc.
So, satwik diet and satwik activities help to promote the Satwik energy that reduces the attack of depression. Such a diet cultivates a calm, clear and compassionate mind. Which is not subject to mood swings as it becomes well established in equanimity. It also reduces the mental states of anger, greed and jealousy. That is vital to maintain a good mental health.
Examples of some Satwik food are Ghee, Sprouted whole grains, Fresh Organic fruits, Honey(In moderation), nuts seeds and oils(sesame oil and coconut oil) and Legumes.
Some herbs aid in improving the Satwik qualities of the mind:
- Ashwagandha – Used to combat stress, tension, fatigue and lack of concentration.
- Bacopa – Used to reduce anxiety and improves memory function.
- Calamus – Used in the treatment of insomnia.
- Gotu kola – Commonly used to enhance meditative states of the mind.
- Gingko – This popular herb is used to balance many symptoms of dis-ease within the body, including issues with the heart, lungs and the kidneys.
- Saffron – Saffron is believed to pacify all three doshas, and it is often used in cooking.
- Tulsi – Also known as holy basil, this herb is used in medicinal teas to help balance the body.
Ayurvedic treatment for depression uses a combination of these herbs along with dietary recommendations. Yogasanas and meditation to improve the overall quality of one’s life.