Many people are tapping into
to optimize their thinking processes and to increase the power of their memory. These brain-enhancing herbs are more common that you would think and can bolster healthy processes in the mind.
One of the most prominent brain herbs is Ginkgo Biloba, an herb with roots in Chinese cultures and where it has been used for years to help improve memory. Ginkgo Biloba is one of the most studied natural remedies on the market today. In a recent study at the University of California-Los Angeles researchers found the it significantly improved verbal recall in people showing age-impaired memory problems. In this study, the gingko biloba proved to have a positive effect on memory centers in the brain. It has also show to increase the blood flow to brain and this increase can help improve memoryfunctions. Use of this herb can greatly assist the elderly as age-related memory loss is more common for people as they age. Ginkgo Biloba has also proven to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants have been show to protects cells from free radicals which are major causes of cancer. Some other studies have shown that Ginkgo Biloba can also be helpful in other areas. It can used to treat altitude sickness, premenstrual syndrome, and also helps reduce vascular damage as a result of chemotherapy.
Another one of the brain herbs is Siberian Ginseng from a small, woody shrub indigenous to North-eastern Asia. It has been used in Asian cultures to improve memory recall and restore mental alertness for centuries. One study showed that use of Siberian Ginseng did improve memory recall of those that took it compared to test subjects that took a placebo. It has also shown to have the added benefits of bolstering the immune system and helps the body in stressful periods. Because it works in these two areas, it can provide a person with wide-spread benefits across a number of bodily systems including the brain.
Gotu Kola is another herb to consider when it comes to brain function. A small herbaceous plant that is indigenous to India, Indonisia, Sri Lanka, Iran, and other parts of Asia. In India, it is widely used in ayurvedic medicine practices. Use of Gotu Kola has proven to assist in improving mental functions and helping treat insomnia. Many people use it to lower anxiety and to increase the clarity of thought processes. In Europe, some patients are using it to treat thesymptoms of ADHD. Outside mental functions, Gotu Kola has also been used to treat skin diseases and also high blood pressure. In some cultures, it is used to treat wounds.
Precautions with Brain Herbs
These herbs should not be used as a substitute for prescribed medicines currently in use to treat diagnosed mental conditions. Some studies have shown that while herbs such as Gingko Biloba
can improve mental recall in those experiencing age-related memory loss
, it does not improve memory in patients with Alzheimer's disease and should not be used as a substitute for traditional medications used to treat this condition.
The Future of Herbs and the Brain
Studies are being conducted all over the world on these herbs targeted at improving mental functions and brain processes. One long-term study conducted with people 85 and older showed that there was a difference in memory recall with those used these type herbs. While brain herbs have shown great benefit, it is always best to consult your physician before starting a new regimen of medications or herbal supplements. While none of these herbs have shown any major side effects, some of these herbs are not tolerated as well as others and there could be side effects or counter indications with existing medicines.