Herbs and Teas for good Brain Function
Teas and herbs to help your brain, memory and focus
We see many more brain problems now more than ever before it seems. From Alzheimer's disease , different kinds of dementia, to mental issues, our brains can definitely use a "pick me up" or an extra boost. I hope that in time, doctors and researchers find out more and more that can be done for the brain. I am often discouraged that not a lot can be done for some of these issues. On the other hand, I have seen great things come in the brain tumors, brain cancers area. My own father has beat brain cancer, and had numerous brain tumors that were on their way to killing him! He now is tumor free! I hope to see more being done for the other brain ailments we often see and hear about in friends and loved ones.
The Anatomy of the Human BrainClick thumbnail to view full-size
Herbs can't hurt, and may help our brains
What I am sharing with you here, is by no means meant to be in place of or substitute for a doctors care. That is always of utmost importance. I think our bodies are made up of the things of the earth and I think that it makes sense that so many vitamins and minerals that can be found in fruits, vegetables and herbs actually help our bodies. So my goal here is to just share with you what I have found so far. These herbs can be found in stores that sell health products, vitamins and minerals and supplements. I love to even grow my own herbs, you can learn to make teas from your own backyard from leaves, flowers, and roots.
Some herbs, good for mental clarity
Ginkgo Biloba There is growing research that the leaves from this tree (the oldest tree on earth) helps to promote better circulation of blood to the brain. It also is said to support concentration, and memory function. This herb is one of the top selling herbs in the United States and is great in dealing with free radicals in our bodies. Ginko Biloba can help oxygen to be more readily supplied to your brain cells.
Eleuthero The eleuthero root is an adaptogen, and helps to support energy in the body.
Gotu Kola Many people refer to gotu kola as brain food and is said to support memory function. It can help our bodies vitality and support the nervous system.
Rooibos Rooibos tea has been said to help protect the brain and nervous system from toxins. Powerful as an antioxidant, it may even have anti tumor potential. Many drink rooibos tea for optimal brain health.
Huperzine Huperzine is great for memory and mental function, but check with your physician on this especially if you or your loved one has Alzheimer's disease. It is a chemical from a type of moss.
Lycopine and alpha lipoic acid are two powerful antioxidants as well, and keep an eye out on these and the other things mentioned above to see where the research continues to go.
*More herbs listed below
Bacopa, also known as Water Hyssop
Bacopa is an herb that I was less familiar with. Bacopa has been a traditional go to herb in the past, but more modern testing has shown some promising results as well. It is a great power boost to one's brain. This herb contains compounds, bacosides, which help nerves to transmit information from one to another. Even back in 1966, there was a study that showed bacopa to be very promising in the area of learning and reasoning. Since then more studies and clinical trials have definitely shown that it helps as a "brain booster." I think this is wonderful news to those that want help for or to protect against neurodegenerative syndromes. It is not a quick fix for those that are wanting to take some for college finals, and takes more like three to nine months to see any real changes. There was an Indian study where children that took bacopa once a day raised their IQ scores over the three to nine months. That is impressive! The whole plant is used, as opposed to just the roots, leaves or flowers.
Bacopa is very possibly good for prevention of the nearodegenerative syndromes or diseases. It has strong antioxidant action which helps to reverse cellular damage and keep it from happening in the first place. Free radicals can cause much damage, and this is one way to prevent that. It is still being tested, but bacopa seem to focus primarily on the parts of the brain dealing with reason and memory. In particular, the frontal cortex and hippocampus.
Ginseng is also known as Man root, life root, Tartar root, heal-all, and root of immortality. It is known as a general body body strengthener but isn't without its own controversies over time. Fully research all of the herb listed in this hub before you ingest any in any way.
As for mental function, Ginseng has done very well when tested in Italian and Danish studies. After nine weeks of testing, many people did better with their reaction times and also in abstract thinking, improved attention, and ability to do mental arithmetic. I am just amazed at these findings and think it is great to learn about them so we can incorporate more into our diets as needed.
Rhodiola Rosea Flowers
Rhodiola, also known as Golden Root
Rhodiola has long been recognized as a type of whole body strengthener. There have been many studies done with animals where they were tested on learning speed and memory, and they turned out very positive. Some humans have been tested as well and they did remarkably better with rhodiola than with placebos. They were given many tests after receiving rhodiola or a placebo, and it was found that those that took this herb did remarkably better, and specifically showed less mental fatigue.
Turmeric, or Curcumin
Turmeric, also known as curcumin is known for its preventive qualities of the degenerative disorders that can increase with age. This isn't just true of the brain, but good for the heart, and helps avoid some cancers as well. Oxidational damage can wreak havoc on our brains and decrease our cognitive functioning over time and result in dementia. Turmeric has some great antioxidant properties to fight these processes. There have been some great studies done in Singapore where many elderly people were tested. Those that ingested more turmeric over time, did much better in the testing of cognitive functions. When the turmeric consumption was increased even more, these subjects did even better cognitively. The test was done with curries that had turmeric in them. I think this is just fascinating information.
Rosemary Can Boost Brain Function
The Greeks long, may have been on to something regarding rosemary and brain function. Many love rosemary, as it doesn't take much to bring some real flavor to our food. Evidently, it can be a potent brain protector! The ancient Greeks saw it as a brain protector, and thought it improved memory as well. They believed it so much, that students long ago, would wrap a wreath made of rosemary around their heads, when taking important exams. While I can't see that this may help so much, I do believe in the healing properties of herbs. To me, it makes so much sense that the stuff of the earth, is so good for our bodies.
Some studies echo these ideas, as rosemary has an ingredient that helps to fight off free radicals in the brain. The active ingredient is called carnosic acid, or CA. It is said to protect the brain from a stroke and neurodegeneration which may have been a result of toxins and free radicals. Those toxins and free radicals are thought to be some of the contributors to stroke, Alzheimer's and dementia.
This last summer, I reintroduced some rosemary into my herb garden. So far, into our winter here it is remaining pretty hardy! So I can easily recommend this to others as well. Its right there ready to have leaves pinched off and used as needed in your cooking as well.
If it is true that rosemary can help protect brain cells from free radical damage, and maybe even prevent normal brain aging, then this is good news for us all. Some studies show it even helps prevent some of the normal brain aging, and helps to keep the brain sharp and even youthful. If it can really help improve memory, why not consider making it a bigger part of your diet today?
Teas and herbs in our diet
My thinking is that if you are looking into herb teas or natural remedies, what could it hurt, to get teas that have some of the above ingredients in them? I have always loved herbal tea anyway, and think its very healthy to drink. I find it relaxing, and refreshing for the body. We often have it iced as well.
One of the teas I found has a blend of orange peel, rooibos, and cranberry. I add a tea bag to hot water, and usually don't add any sugar or honey to it, but it wouldn't hurt. It happens to include many of the above herbs as well. I try to have some every day. These ingredients found in nature are often good for other things in your body as well. Always consult your physician, and double check that they think it's a good idea for you to ingest any of these things.
There are other things you can do daily to optimize your brain health. These include, but are not limited to getting exercise, socializing with others, learning new things, and having a healthy diet, and drinking lots of water. I do have a favorite coffee and tea shop in a little downtown area not far from where I live. I like to go there and get my teas, and its good to look through the ingredients of the tea and see what is included. Next time, I am taking a list with me, so I can be sure to see if any of the above are included. What a great way to drink to your health!
Helping to Fight Free Radicals with Hibiscus Tea
Dried Hibiscus to help fight free radicals
Herb Teas for Memory or Focus
Another one of the many teas I have tried include the following ingredients. Its aim was to particularly help with memory and focus. The ingredients included oganic rooibos leaf, Eleuthero root, cranberry fruit, gotu kola leaf, rosemary leaf, hibiscus flowers, gingko biloba leaves, orange peels, and rosehips. So based on what I have learned, this one is a keeper.
If you have any favorite teas or herbs you want to share that help with brain function, please share below, as I and others would love to learn about it.
Herbs and Healthy Brain Function Poll
Have you ever considered using herbs to help with having healthier brain function?
© 2010 Paula