What is the Holistic Treatment
Smarten Up your Diet
The brain is 85% water. So if you don’t drink at least 8 large glasses a day, it’s time to get into the habit. Dehydration leads to fatigue, which can take its toll on memory.
Make sure you get enough of the B Vitamins in your diet. These include vitamins B6, B12, niacin and thiamine. These nutrients help to make and repair brain tissue, and some of them help the body turn food into mental energy. Bananas, chickpeas and turkey are rich in vitamins B6, whole grains and meats are good sources of all the Bs. Nuts and seeds, wheat germ and fortified breakfast cereals are other good sources.
While you’re eating more of the good stuff cut back on foods high in saturated fat. You probably already know that it clogs the arteries that feed the heart. But high-fat foods also clog arteries that feed the brain; this in turn reduces the brain’s supply of oxygen. Just as harmful as saturated fats are the trans fatty acids found in soft margarine and many packaged baked goods, such as biscuits, cakes and other snack foods.
Eat fish two or three times a week. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and fresh (not tinned) tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids. You may know these fats are good for your heart because they help thin the blood and prevent clogging arteries; they’re good for your brain for the same reason.
Sound out the Problem
Listen to music often, and try various types. Researchers have found that listening to music can improve your ability to concentrate and help you to remember what you’ve learnt. Some types of music actually cause brain neurons to fire more quickly. The faster the beat, the more the brain responds.
The herb appears to improve blood flow to the brain, which helps brain cells to get the oxygen they need to perform at their peak. The leaves of this tree have been used for over 2,500 years as a traditional Chinese medicine for mental and respiratory disorders. About 30 years ago, a highly concentrated extract (22 ½ kilograms of lead to make 500 grams of extract) was developed in Germany and frequently prescribed to prevent memory loss. Since that time, more than 50 studies have shown ginkgo’s effectiveness in treating dementia from strokes and early stage Alzheimer’s disease. Ginkgo is also used to prevent and treat age-related memory loss and long term tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Typical dosage: 120 to 140 milligrams daily of an extract standardised to 24 % flavonoid glycosides and 6 % terpene lactones
Cautions: do not combine with blood thinning medications such as warfarin or aspirin, or with high doses of vitamin E
Rosemary & Basil Essential Oils
Tests of brain waves show that inhaling either of these scents increases the brain’s production of beta waves, which indicate heightened awareness. All you need to do is put a trace of the oil in the hair, wrists or clothing – anywhere you can get a whiff of the scent. Or put some of the oil in a diffuser and let it fill the air. NEVER apply essential oils directly to the skin, always dilute in carrier oil.
Used to protect the body from the effects of stress and to heighten mental alertness, this revered tonic from eastern Russia was used as a folk medicine to help people endure harsh winters. The scientist who first studied Siberian ginseng coined the term ‘adaptogen’ to describe the herb’s ability to normalise the functions of many body systems. The effects were confirmed in several large medical studies performed in the former Soviet Union. In addition to improving overall health, Siberian ginseng restores memory, increases stamina, stabilises blood sugar and boosts the immune system.
Typical dosage: 100 to 200 milligrams of standardised extract one to three times per day; or 30 drops of tincture one to three times a day
A herb elephant’s love, gotu kola has been used to increase mental acumen for thousands of years. There is some research to support the use of the herb to boost memory.
Typical dosage: take two 300mg capsules twice a day with food
This plant, commonly called water hyssop, is the source of an extract used in India for centuries. It has specific benefits for the brain, and specialists in Ayurvedic medicine commonly use it to treat mental illness and epilepsy. Bacopa appears to strengthen memory and improve concentration by enhancing the conductivity of nerve tissue. It also has mild sedative and anti-anxiety properties. Bacopa is most often found in commercial formulas used for memory symptoms. As with all manufactured herbal products, read the label carefully and follow the manufacturer’s directions on dosage.
An ingredient in the traditional Chinese medicine remedy Qian Ceng Ta, club moss has been used for centuries to treat fever and inflammation. More recently, Qian Ceng Ta was found to contain a substance called huperzine A ( HupA). This substance acts similarly to the drug donepezil, but it appears to be more potent and cause fewer side effects. In recent years it has been used in China to treat more than 100,000 patients with dementia. Huperzine A also appears to shield brain cells from injury and it may be useful in treating strokes and epilepsy. Although it is used primarily to treat the early stages of Alzheimer’s, many people are taking it to improve memory and enhance mental alertness.
Typical dosage: 50 to 100 micrograms in capsules twice daily