This Article is From Dec 14, 2017

Scientists Discover Brain Mechanism Behind Depression: 4 Ayurvedic Herbs That Could Help

People suffer from major depressive disorders because of alterations in the activity and connectivity of brain systems underlying reward and memory.

Scientists Discover Brain Mechanism Behind Depression: 4 Ayurvedic Herbs That Could Help
Depression is a mental health disorder marked by persistently low mood or loss of interest in activities and severe impairment of various physical activities. Scientists and experts round the world have time and again emphasized on the seriousness of the issue which until now wasn't given the critical attention it deserves and shrugged off as a temporary "state of mind". According to a latest study, scientists may have found one of the mechanism that may trigger the condition. People suffer from major depressive disorders because of alterations in the activity and connectivity of brain systems underlying reward and memory, says a new study.  

Examining which regions of the brain could be at the root of symptoms, such as reduced happiness and pleasure, or negative memories, in depression the study has tried to identify the mechanism that undergoes in the brain in depressed individuals. 

For the study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, the researchers used a new approach to measure the influence of one brain region on another, referred to as effective connectivity, in depression.
The study went past the limitations of previous brain imaging studies, which show if -- but not how -- activity of different brain regions is related
"The new method allows the effect of one brain region on another to be measured in depression, in order to discover more about which brain systems make causal contributions to depression," said one of the researchers Edmund Rolls, Professor at University of Warwick in England.

For the study the team compared 336 people with major depressive disorder to 350 healthy controls. 
The findings revealed that the brain regions involved in reward and subjective pleasure received less drive (or reduced effective connectivity) in patients, which may result in decreased feeling of happiness in depression. Whereas, the brain regions involved in punishment and responses when a reward is not received had increased activity, which may point to the source of sadness that occurs in the disorder.

Memory-related areas of the brain had increased activity and connectivity in people with depression, which could hint to the heightened memory processing, possibly of unpleasant memories, in the disorder said the researchers. 

"These findings are part of a concerted approach to better understand the brain mechanisms related to depression, and thereby to lead to new ways of understanding and treating depression," Rolls said.
Depression is fast becoming a global cause of worry. Latest estimates from WHO show that by 2030, depression will be the leading cause of disability worldwide. While the disorder needs immediate medical attention and assistance, just as any physiological ailment, there are a couple of Ayurvedic home remedies you can try to battle mild depression.
Dr Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager, Baidyanath, says, "Certain herbs Brahmi and Ashwagandha can play a crucial role when your thinking ability or cognitive skills declines due to depression. Ashwagandha is an amazing herb to bring back the fighting ability which is often lost in depression. In addition to it massage with marigold and essential oils, or aroma therapy and some Yoga can also go a long way."

Here are some Ayurvedic herbs that he suggests: 

1. Ashwangandha

Ashwangnadha is believed to relieve stress and anxiety due to the presence of active compounds like steroidal lactones, saponins, alkaloids and withanolides that provide antidepressant, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. These properties help in reducing stress caused by emotional and physical fatigue. It also balances out the constant mood swings and increases mental alertness, focus and concentration. It helps restore the normal physiological functioning. Ashwangandha can be consumed in its powdered form or as a liquid extract.

2. Brahmi

Brahmi is a small perennial creeping herb that has an age old reputation of curing stress. Brahmi acts as an adaptogen, which simply means that it helps the body adapt to new or stressful situations. When consumed, it is believed to increase the serotonin levels in the brain that help the mind keep calm and give relief from anxiety and nervousness.

3. Jatamansi (Spikenard)

Jatamansi helps curing insomnia and other sleeping disorders. It is also known for its anti-depressant, anti-stress and anti-fatigue properties. The roots of jatamansi are used for the medicinal purposes in Ayurveda which are known to give a therapeutic effect to mood swings and stress disorders. Jatamansi can erase negative thoughts by channelizing the energies of the mind in the right direction.

4. Pudina (Peppermint)

Pudina or peppermint  is a traditional remedy to cure nervous system disorders due to the presence of menthol as it helps calm the frazzled nerves and has a cooling effect. It is loaded with vitamin A and C, minerals including magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron, folate, copper and potassium. Menthol helps cure insomnia by keeping your mind calm and lets you sleep in peace. 

(With Inputs IANS)