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Give Your Memory a Boost with these 12 Herbs

How many times have you forgotten somebody's name, where you've put your keys, or if you've locked the front door? Occasional forgetfulness or loss of short-term memory may indicate specific factors and causes, which may be attributed to alcohol, tobacco use, certain medications, sleeplessness, stress and depression, nutritional deficiency, head injury or even a stroke. But while it is normal to forget things every once in a while, forgetting how to use the telephone or how to find your way home may indicate a more serious memory problem.

 

So, whether it's to prevent or treat memory loss, these natural herbs have served as timeless aids. Let's take a look:  

 

1. Ginko Biloba

Herbs for memory: Ginko Biloba

This popular herbal supplement is well-known for its many therapeutic benefits, particularly, its power to enhance memory. Studies conducted on this herbal supplement have found gingko's potency in aiding memory and thinking among individuals with Alzheimer's or vascular dementia. Gingko is said to work by protecting the nerve cells damaged by these disorders to improve learning, daily activities, social behavior, as well as reduce feelings of depression. Further tests conducted on gingko have also found that it can improve blood circulation along the central nervous system, promoting brain development and functioning. But what makes gingko so potent? Gingko leaves contain flavonoids and terpenoids, both of which have antioxidants to combat free radicals that contribute to health disorders like Alzheimer's and dementia.

 

2. Ginseng

Herbs for memory: Ginseng

Studies have found ginseng to yield promising results when used as a form of treatment for memory impairment. In the studies conducted, mice given dosages of ginseng extracts showed remarkable improvements in water maze tasks. Ginseng was shown to activate neurotransmitter activities that promote memory enhancement.

 

3. Rosemary

Herbs for memory: Rosemary

Traditionally, this aromatic herb has long been used to improve memory. Like gingko, rosemary has been shown to contain antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. When used in aromatherapy, rosemary has also been found to reduce cortisol levels in the brain, thereby reducing anxiety. Furthermore, when combined with other essential oils, rosemary has been shown to alleviate stress and increase concentration and memory of graduate nursing students.

 

4. Sage

Herbs for memory: Sage

Studies have found that sage contains active ingredients that boost the chemicals that trigger the transmission of messages within the brain. Scientists from the Universities of Newcastle and Northumbria also tested the herb on 44 people. Half the group were given sage, while the other half were given a placebo. Results showed that those who were given sage performed better in a word recall test.

 

5. Green Tea

Herbs for memory: Green Tea

Green tea is best known for its antioxidant properties. Scientific research conducted in March 2013, confirmed that green tea extracts help shield proteins and lipids (fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K) from age-associated activities caused by oxidation. In the study, animals treated with green tea extracts showed better spatial learning abilities. Furthermore, studies suggest that the plant can protect the hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for emotion, memory and the autonomic nervous system) from age-related decline.

 

6. Rhodiola Rosea

Herbs for memory: Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea has long been used to treat various kinds of illnesses. But, Rhodiola is best known for enhancing memory. In fact, it is considered to be one of the best herbs to do so. Studies have also discovered that Rhodiola not only has the ability to improve one's focus and memory, it can also relieve depression. Furthermore, researchers believe that this herb contains adaptogenic qualities that stimulate the central nervous system of the body, resulting in enhanced memory and concentration. Another study also found that taking Rhodiola regularly increases memorization abilities.

 

7. Bacopa

Herbs for memory: Bacopa

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Bacopa has a long history. It was used in Ayurveda (a 5000-year-old ancient system of natural healing) to enhance learning, concentration and memory. Numerous studies conducted on bacopa found it to be an effective herb in improving one's memory and mental function. In one study, conducted in Australia, 46 volunteers aging from 18 to 60 were divided into two groups. In one group, each volunteer was given 300mg of bacopa every day. After 12 weeks, the subjects' verbal learning abilities, speed of information processing, and memory significantly improved.

 

8. Gotu Kola

Herbs for memory: Gotu Kola

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Gotu Kola shows promising results in enhancing memory and improving brain function. In traditional Chinese and ayurvedic medicine, Gotu kola has also been used in rejuvenating the mind and the body. In fact, it is considered to be an anti-aging herb. Studies have found that Gotu kola contains certain substances that increase brain power and improves blood circulation to the brain, resulting in better memory, concentration, intelligence, and attention span.

9. Periwinkle

Herbs for memory: Periwinkle

This herb is best known for its antispasmodic, antibacterial, anti-cancer and sedative effects. It is also a great herb to use to enhance memory. The seeds and leaves in periwinkle contain a blood thinner that improves the circulation of the blood to the brain, promoting better oxygen use. It also prevents any damages to the blood vessels, preventing dementia and senility. Furthermore, it encourages the brain to absorb more nutrients, significantly improving its functions. By increasing oxygen supply to the brain, cognitive and memory abilities are significantly enhanced.  

 

10. Blueberries

Herbs for memory: Blueberries

Modern science has discovered that blueberries contain powerful compounds like flavanoids, believed to be effective in enhancing learning ability, cognitive functions, verbal comprehension, numerical ability, decision making, reasoning ability, and more importantly, memory. Eating foods rich in flavanoids regularly, helps in slowing down the decline in cognitive ability, offering protection against diseases like dementia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Moreover, a study conducted at Harvard University found that eating blueberries helps in boosting brain power. It has also been found to stave off cognitive decline and prevent memory loss, that is normally associated with aging.

11. Parsley

Herbs for memory: Parsley

One of the most important vitamins found in parsley which contributes greatly to brain and body function is vitamin K. In 100 grams of parsley, you can find 1,640 micrograms of this vitamin, which contributes to clotting and bone building, with a recommended daily intake of between 90 and 120 micrograms. Many believe that it has the ability to limit nerve damage to the brain as a result of Alzheimer's disease and even help to prevent the degeneration of nerve cells before the onset of the disease.

In addition, Brazilian researchers have found a substance in a parsley called Apigenin that belongs to the group of flavonoids, which have been shown to improve brain function. The material has demonstrated a remarkable ability to contribute to the creation of new nerve cells and improved memory. If all this is not enough, the iron found in parsley is essential to the brain's cognitive functioning and to the formation of Heme - important organic compounds that allow hemoglobin to carry the oxygen in the red blood cells on their way to the brain and all other parts of the body.


12. Wasabi

Wasabi, also called Japanese horseradish, is the spicy spice that appears regularly alongside sushi or sold as a root in various stores. It is important to know that beyond its culinary use, Wasabi has wonderful medicinal properties that can do wonders for our brain. Studies have shown that eating wasabi helps to develop cells, improve memory and strengthen learning by producing axons and dendrites - nerve cell extensions that take in information.

In addition, in a recent study on chemotherapy and its effect on brain cancer cells, it was found that when combining the treatment with eating wasabi, one of the substances in wasabi (Isothiocyanate) stimulates healthy cells, and thus the treatment successfully isolated and destroyed brain cancer cells from the healthy cells more efficiently. The result stunned the researchers because chemotherapy usually can’t isolate the cancer cells from the healthy cells, and most of them are damaged as a result of the process. This important breakthrough is not yet well established, but it is certainly a significant springboard for understanding the medicinal benefits of this wonderful spice.

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