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Unmada-Insanity: Ayurvedic Understanding

And Management
Buddhivikara refers to impairment in will and thinking pattern. Cognition of thinking and
paranoid reactions are commonly found in this category of illness.
Mano vikara refers to the impairment of mind. Due to this, inaction and passivity is found.
Atmavikara causes impairment of feelings. Due to this, depressive psychosis is found.
Insanity (unmada) is a condition where according to the Dosha dominance, all the above features
are found in gradable variation.

Origin of insanity (Unmada):

Acharya Sushruta explained the origin of insanity as below:
Due to favorable causative factors, the morbidity (vitiated Dosha) ascends upwards to the mind,
from the main site of heart. This leads to functional disturbance in its main location (heart) as
well as disposed areas like brain and its various relative compartments. Due to this, the
individual gets false belief or delusions and person appears as if intoxicated due to the
unawareness or the situation. This condtion is called Unmad, a kind of psychosis.

Viruddhahara (incompatible foods)
Dushta ahara (infected/contaminated food)
Ashuchi ahara (polluted food)
Deva-guru-dwija pragharshana (insult towards teachers and elders)
Mano abhighata (mental shock)
Bhaya (fear)
Harsha (unusual/ unnatural pleasure due to accidental happening) etc.

Vataja, Pittaja, Kaphaja, Tridoshaja, Shokaja (Caused due to grief) and Vishaja (originated due to

Prodromal symptoms:
Moha (delusion)
Udvega (anxiety)
Karna swana (auditory hallucination)
Gatrapakarshana (general debility)
Atyutsaha (occasional unnatural enthusiasm)
Aruchi (tastelessness)
Swapne kalushabhojana (dream of having contaminated food)
Vayunonmathana (sensation of being taken by the wind) etc.

General clinical features:

Illusion of intellect (buddhivibrama)
Satwapariplava(dilemma of the mind)
Akuladrishti(biased willing and thinking)
Adheerata (loss of confidence)
Abaddhavak (irrelevant talk)
Hridayashoonyata (emptiness of the mind)
Moodhachetana (disorganized consciousness) etc.

Specific features:

Vataja Unmada
Undue laughing, dancing, singing, irrelevant talk, waving the body parts, crying, roughness,
emaciation, reddish discolouration of the face, elevated mood, impaired thought etc.

Pittaja Unmad :
Impatience, agitation, naked emotions, excessive actions, hot temperament, desire to have rest
under shade, like towards the cold food and drink, yellow lustre etc.

Kaphaja Unmada:
Reduced speech and actions, tastelessness, inclination for women, sleepiness, vomiting, excess
of salivation, pallor of the nails etc.

Sannipatic (Tridoshaja) Unmada :

Mixed features of all the three doshic factors

Shokaja insanity :
This is usually associated with the history of scaring by the thieves, officials, enemies, animals
etc. Or else loss of money or relatives, mental shock due to accidental happenings etc.

Vishaja insanity :
Usually possesses a history of poisoning. It is presented with redness of the eyes, debility,
debilitated sense organs, helplessness, smoky appearance of the face etc.

Management of unmada :
1. Snehapana (internal oleation with medicated ghee)
2. Mridu shodhana (mild body purification by emesis or purgation)
3. Niruha basti (decoction enema)
4. Shirovirechana (medicated errhines) and
5. Sanjna prabodhana (oral medication to stabilize the mind)

Single drugs recommended in insanity (unmada)

1. Lashuna-Garlic- Allium sativa Linn.
2. Hingu-Asafetida- Ferula narthex Boiss.
3. Choraka- Angelica glauca Edgew.
4. Sarshapa-Mustard- Brassica campestris Linn.
5. Brahmi- Bacopa monnieri (Linn.) Pennell.
6. Jatamamsi Nardostachys jatamansi Dc.
7. Jyotishmati- Celastrus paniculata Linn.
8. Shankhapushpi Convolvulus pluricaulis Chosis.
9. Kooshmanda-Ash gourd- Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.
10. Sarpagandha- Rauwolfia serpentine Benth. Ex Kurz.
11. Rudraksha- Elaeocarpus ganitrus Roxb.
12. Vacha- Acorus calamus Linn.
13. Yastimadhu- Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.

Formulations recommended in insanity (unmada):

1. Kalyanaka ghrita
2. Mahakalyanaka ghrita
3. Mahapaishacha ghrita
4. Lashunadya ghrita
4. Unmade gajanakusha rasa
6. Saraswata choorna
7. Sarsawatarishta
8. Sarpagandha ghanavati
9. Brihatvata chintamani
10. Yogendra rasa etc

Wholesome diet and habits:

Light and easily digestible food
All measures which give mental pleasure
Assurance in case of depression
Memory tonics (medhya rasayana)
Cows milk, cows ghee etc
Good sleep
Red rice, older wheat, green gram, dry grapes, meat of rabbit and koel etc.

Unwholesome diet and habits:

Pungent and spicy food
Penetrative and irritant food
Irritating, insulting or provocative incidences and activities
Suppression of natural urges
Incompatible and polluted food
Sleeplessness etc.

Last drop:
Modern science explains psychiatric diseases under two headings like major psychological
disorders and minor psychoneurosis conditions. Even though, Ayuvedic explanation related to
insanity (unmada) presents with all the features of minor psycho-neurosis few of the symptoms
of functional psychosis are also found here. So, Ayurvedic way of treatment covers varied kinds
of therapeutic procedures which help to normalise the condition both in psychological and
neurological levels.
Even though few of the measures referred in Ayurvedic classics like oblation, worship, sacred
bathing, sacred offerings to the personal deities are still today in practice in various parts of the
world, their scientific validity is not get proved which needs to be explored much with various
possible dimensions.