Malaise is a symptom of psychosomatic origin characterized by a general feeling of illness or lack of well-being and may be accompanied by discomfort, fatigue, lassitude, restlessness, loss of strength and lack of interest and drive. This symptom is usually a vague sense of ill-being and exhaustion seen in patients suffering from any significant febrile infection and metabolic or chronic disease.
Malaise associated with other symptoms indicates significant illness. The following is the list of conditions that mostly cause malaise:
- Acute infectious diseases like pneumonia, influenza, and viral fever.
- Chronic infectious diseases like AIDS, parasitic disease, hepatitis and tuberculosis.
- Organ-specific chronic diseases like heart failure, obstructive lung disease, kidney failure and liver disease.
- Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Endocrinal disorders like diabetes mellitus, dysfunction of the thyroid and adrenal glands.
- Various cancers like leukaemia, lymphoma, colon cancer and solid malignant tumours.
- Severe anaemia.
- Mental illness such as depression.
- Medication with anti-convulsant, anti-histaminic, psychotropic and beta-blocker drugs and multi-drug treatments.
Dose and mode of administration
(1) The dose for adults of Ashvgandha powder is three to six grams and for children the dose is 500 mg to 1g to be taken twice a day, with honey or warm milk before meals. It is advisable to first mix Ashvagandha powder properly with an equal amount of honey and the mixture to be swallowed with sips of milk.
(2) Alternatively, boil a single dose of Ashvagandha powder in four times milk and eight times water till milk remains. If needed, add sugar to the medicated milk and drink it lukewarm. Every dose of Ashvagandha powder has to be freshly boiled with milk and water.
Precautions and safety aspects
- Malaise persisting for more than a week must be properly investigated and the underlying cause should be ascertained before starting Ashvagandha.
- Concomitant use of alcohol and psychotropic drugs should preferably be avoided while using Ashvagandha powder.
- Individuals with hot constitution should take a smaller dose of Ashvagandha and should avoid excessive consumption of hot beverages, sour, spicy and stimulant foods.
- Ashvagandha powder is generally considered as safe. Used in a dose of up to 9 grams per day for four weeks, it is reported to be well-tolerated.
- Larger doses of Ashvagandha may possess abortifacient property and thus contraindicated during pregnancy. Even normal dose should be given to pregnant women under medical supervision.
- It is safe for the baby if a nursing mother is taking Ashvagandha.
Reference – Traditional Herbal Remedies for Primary Health Care