Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, reasoning, and behaviour. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
Some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease include:
- Memory loss: A person may lose things around the house, forget important dates or conversations or get lost in a familiar place.
- Communication: A person will struggle to follow a conversation or repeat themselves.
- Reasoning, concentration or organise: A person will have difficulty to make decisions, solve problems or carry out a sequence of tasks.
- Orientation: A person will become confused or lose track of the day or date.
8 Herbs to strengthen your brain:
1. Ginkgo Biloba for Brain Health
A lot of research has been done on Ginkgo Biloba due to its potential to treat age-related mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease. It improves brain function as it stimulates circulation and promotes blood flow to the brain. Ginkgo acts as a brain booster in people with average mental abilities, as well as improve attention and memory.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center Gingko is widely used for treating dementia in Europe. More recent studies have shown that it may even protect nerve cells from damage in Alzheimer’s.
An extract of Ginkgo Biloba called EGb761 can be helpful in slowing the deterioration of cognition among patients experiencing neuropsychiatric symptoms together with cognitive impairment and dementia.
The benefits of Ginkgo Biloba includes:
- Improves short and long term memory and reasoning
- Improves the performance of everyday tasks
- Betters social behaviour
Treat memory problems, blood disorders, enhance the cardiovascular function and improve eye health with Ginkgo Biloba. Even though it has shown to enhance memory as well as cognitive performance, it does not necessarily cure dementia.
Do not exceed the recommended dosage as side effects may include gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, diarrhoea, and headaches. Some may experience allergic reactions. Avoid with anticoagulant drugs.
2. Lemon Balm for Brain Health
In the sixteenth century, John Gerard wrote that lemon balm tea drives away sorrows of the mind, meaning lemon balm has been used to treat mental health for centuries. Its ability to treat agitation associated with dementia, and Alzheimer’s in particular has placed emphasis on lemon balms anti-anxiety effects. It holds within calming and sedative properties.
Lemon Balm helps to improve cognitive function as well as ease anxiety and insomnia. It increases GABA in the brain by inhibiting an enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of GABA. GABA improves the mood, reduce stress and has a calming effect. Lemon Balm binds to muscarinic and nicotinic receptors in the brain which are activated by the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and plays a role in enhancing memory and alertness.
Not only does lemon balm improve cognitive performance and memory in healthy participants, but may also help to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, characterised by learning disabilities and memory loss.
3. Passion Flower for Brain Health
Passion flower is approved in Germany as a treatment for nervous and restlessness, mild insomnia and gastrointestinal complaints of nervous origin. Increase GABA in the brain with the alkaloids “chrysin” and “benzoflavone” present in Passion Flower.
GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, is used by the brain to attain balance and prevent over-excitement. GABA also helps to decrease the activity of brain cells responsible for depression. This will reduce the anxiety often associated with insomnia as well as improve concentration and combat exam nerves.
Passion flower is an excellent relaxant and sedative herb for stress-related and painful conditions. It improves circulation and nutrition to nerves, calms agitation, restlessness, and anxiety.
Additionally, ease sleep, relieve irritating and nervous coughs, croup and asthma with the the muscle relaxant and antispasmodic properties of Passion Flower.
May cause drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion. The herb appears to be generally free of side effects when taken alone at the recommended dose. Avoid with monoamine oxidase-inhibiting antidepressants.
4. Sage for Brain Health
Research has shown that sage, even in small amounts can increase recall abilities and memory retention in people. It stimulates brain function, improves concentration and possesses memory-enhancing properties while working to eliminate cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Sage reduces anxiety and lifts depression. Keep the mind fresh and youthful by stimulating the neural pathways with sage extracts and essential oils.
May be toxic in large doses or over a prolonged period.
5. Turmeric for Brain Health
Preliminary research has shown that turmeric may boost brain health and repel Alzheimer’s disease by clearing the brain of beta-amyloid (a protein fragment), a buildup known to form Alzheimer’s-related brain plaques. Turmeric acts as a shield for the brain by preventing the nerve cells from breaking down.
The active ingredient in turmeric is called Curcumin, which has been linked to a variety of health benefits such as:
- Curcumin supports working memory, calmness, and satisfaction in coping with mental strain. A study found that participants memory and attention improved significantly within one hour of taking a curcumin supplement. Their memory, energy levels, and calmness were enhanced after supplementing it for four weeks. They also showed lower stress levels.
- It promotes cardiovascular health and lessens physical fatigue.
- Curcumin results in an increase of the brain hormone BDNF, which improves the function of neurons, encourage their growth and strengthens and protects them.
Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant which protects against damages caused by free radicals.
Avoid large doses in pregnancy and with peptic ulcers, gallstones, and obstruction of the biliary tract as well as with anticoagulant and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
6. Ashwagandha for Brain Health
Ashwagandha aka India Ginseng is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it modifies the harmful effects of stress on the body and mind. It’s probably best known for its ability to reduce stress. A study on rats reported that it blocked the stress pathway in the brain by regulating chemical signalling in the nervous system.
Emotional, physical and chemical stress is damaging to the brain and nervous system. Research has proven that ashwagandha not only relieves stress but protects the brain from cell degeneration, which can lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In return, this will improve and protect memory and brain function. Ashwagandha contains powerful antioxidants that destroy free radicals which cause ageing.
It is excellent for anxiety, depression, stress, panic attacks, overwork, and nervous exhaustion. Improve poor memory and concentration, behavioural problems, ADHD, and problems associated with addiction and drug abuse with Ashwagandha. Also used for problems associated with old age such as loss of energy and muscular strength, arthritis and insomnia.
7. Gotu Kola for Brain Health
A famous brain tonic which has long been used to improve mental clarity. Gotu Kola improves brain health, memory and concentration as well as protects the brain from raging effects and Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows that this herb increases the brain’s neural axonal density which correlates with a higher IQ, as well as enhances intercellular communication. It facilitates better communication between the two brain hemisphere making a person more creative as well as increasing the occurrence of positive brainwave states.
Boosts longevity with this herb. Gotu Kola contains compounds called triterpenoids which stimulate collagen production and prevent cell death and oxidative stress. Enable greater mental focus by increasing the blood supply, boost antioxidants and reduce anxiety, depression, insomnia as well as calm the nerves with the triterpenoids present in Gotu Kola.
Unlock these lasting benefits of the brain with as it enables permanent positive changes to the nervous system.
Drug interaction: can potentiate the action of anxiolytics.
See my Gotu Kola Tincture: https://ladyoftheherbs.co.za/product/gotu-kola-tincture/
8. Tulsi for Brain Health
Holy basil, also known as Tulsi works to regulate cortisol and increase cognitive function, increasing a person’s overall productivity. Tulsi boosts blood circulation while increasing the level of oxygenation in the brain. This improves the feeling of well-being and mental cognition. It improves working, reference and spatial memory as well as lowers cell sensitivity to stress while raising the body’s ability to adapt to changing situations.
A cell study showed that tulsi inhibits MMP9 suggesting that it may help restore the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB).
Tulsi may be beneficial in treating cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as it protects the brain against drug- and ageing-induced memory problems.
It is uplifting and strengthening, clears lethargy and brain fog which dampen the spirits. Reduce anxiety, depression, insomnia and other stress-related problems such as headaches and IBS with this wonderful herb.
Avoid during pregnancy.
Take care of your mind
Memory issues are not inevitable. Memory problems are common with age, but being serious about brain health has no age limit. A healthier brain improves your focus, mood, and memory.
Be mindful of the pre-symptomatic stage when problems are minor as this is the time when help and prevention measures are most effective.
Take brain health seriously!
Remember everyone is unique and herbs will work differently in all of us. Meaning, what works for one, might not work for another. Therefore it’s important to play around with different herbs to see which work best for you.