Autism – Ayurveda Perspective, Management Principles

Autism is a neurobiological pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) characterized by

  1. Severe deficiency in social skills, behaviour and reciprocal social interactions.
  2. Difficulty in language, arrangement of words and non-verbal communication and
  3. Intellectual and cognitive deficits. (cannot identify or remember the names and nature of things around him).

Age of onset

The set of symptom varies with age at onset, severity and intellectual level. Onset is usually in  1 to 2 years with failure to progress with age.


Abnormalities in social behaviour, social skills, and poor social communications are obvious. Poor verbal and non-verbal language, lack of analytic abilities (to judge what is right or what is wrong etc),  poor reasoning, and non-social behaviour are seen. The skills fail to appear at the usual time of development. Half of the children fail to develop language of any kind. The rest develop sentence, language or eye contact. Hyperacidity, apraxia, insensitivity to pain is common.

Mental retardation is present in almost 75 % of autistic children. In the natural course, no significant developmental progress occurs in half, while a minimal improvement may be observed in the rest. Seizures occur in about 25 percent.

kid depression

Investigations are usually not required for diagnosing Autism.
Childhood autism rating scales are used to evaluate suspected children.

Treatment: Allopathy offers no treatment for Autism.

Ayurvedic treatments

Ayurvedic oil for head massage:
Of all the Ayurvedic oils, Brahmi taila is very useful to improve brain functions. Using this oil as a regular oil in autistic children improves their cognitive functions.
Lavender essential oil is known to calm the mind and improve concentration. Add 1 drop of this oil to a kerchief and make the child inhale slowly, once a day.
Read related: 10 Uses Of Lavender Oil

Ayurvedic herbs useful in Autism:
Brahmi1. In a study conducted in Australia, Brahmi, (Bacopa Monneiri) has been established to delay the forgetting process, implying Brahmi improves memory. (Click on Brahmi to read the details of the study)

2. A PubMed study article emphasizes the effect of scientific study article on Brahmi in the management of Cognitive deficits, lack of memory power, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder etc..Click on Brahmi to read more.

Shatavari:1. Banaras Hindu University has successfully conducted a study on the anti-depressant activity of Asparagus racemosus in an animal experimental study.

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera):  Research conducted by Scott (1995) established that Ashwagandha shows high affinity for GABA receptors. Since GABA agonism and CCK antagonism have been linked to anxiolysis, these findings support the recommendation in Ayurveda that Ashwagandha can be used in the treatment of Memory loss, Anxiety, Attention deficit disorders etc.. which are common features of Autism.

Shankhapushpi (clitoria ternatia) – Research conducted in collaboration with Kasturba medical college, Manipal, India showed that  – Treatment with 100 mg/kg of Clitoria ternatea aqueous root extract (CTR), for 30 days in neonatal and young adult age groups of rat, significantly increased acetylcholine (ACh) content in their hippocampi as compared to age-matched controls. Increase in ACh content in their hippocampus may be the neurochemical basis for their improvised learning and memory.

Useful Ayurvedic products – (to be taken only after consulting your doctor)
Maha kalyanaka ghrita
Brahmi ghritha
Saraswata Ghritha
Manasamitra Vatakam

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