Many clients over forty five are concerned about their memory deteriorating, particularly if they have a parent with Alzheimers Disease (AD). Hence it is important for the practitioner to be able to distinguish clinically significant memory loss, and to reassure the client if this does not appear to be present. According to the FDA website, a typical line of questioning could include,
Any of us might miss an appointment once in a while or occasionally forget where we parked. It’s a different matter if this is a common occurrence.
“Is your memory progressively deteriorating?” Progressive memory loss should always be evaluated.
“Does memory loss disrupt daily living?” If memory loss is interfering with normal daily activities that we could previously perform, it is clinically significant memory loss.
Temporary loss of memory is a common phenomenon with almost everyone. Like forgetting where we kept the key, name of a particular person. These can be normal for a person, as unless we give importance to a thing/name brain tend to keep it in a rather volatile area which gradually vanishes.
If these symptoms are prevalent one has to worry about it. There can be various reasons why a person faces memory loss/poor memory issues.
The ancient science of Rasayana Tantra offers many herbs which have now been found to act on these degenerative processes. Thus rather than taking supplemental DHEA or levodopa, clients can take Ayurvedic herbs which actually restore the body’s inherent ability to manufacture these compounds endogenously.
Ashwagandha is a pre-eminent anti-aging and memory supporting herb which supports normal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) function and hence raises production of DHEA, produced by the adrenals.
In addition, ‘recent research suggests that ashwagandha enhances cholinergic activity in the brain.
Tulsi likewise enhances cholinergic activity. Kapi Kacchu can ‘restore the endogenous levodopa, dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin content in the substantia nigra’ of the brain, having effective action particularly on the cognitive and motor aspects of Parkinson’s Disease, but also affecting the disease process in MCI.
Brahmi has been shown to be effective in combating oxidative stress, while Bacopa reduces brain inflammation. Other herbs traditionally used in Ayurveda to improve memory include Vidari, Shankhapushpi, and Licorice.
Containing many of these memory-enlacing herbs, Mental Clarity can be used to support clients with MCI, while Stress Ease might be preferred where excess stress is seen to be a significant factor.
Native to dry regions of India, Northern Africa, and the Middle East, ashwagandha has been around for millennia. It’s a relative of the tomato. Ayurvedic medicine looks to the plant’s leaves for therapeutic benefits, but Western cultures rely on its roots to make herbal remedies.
According to the Chopra Center, studies have shown that ashwagandha provides a range of health benefits, from lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar to reducing inflammation and anxiety. In turn, these benefits help fight a number of diseases, including:
Researchers at Newcastle University have found that ashwagandha inhibits the formation of beta-amyloid plaques. These plaques, considered toxic to brain cells, accumulate in the brains of people with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Because the studies were conducted in test tubes, however, researchers emphasize that more testing is needed.
At the National Brain Research Center (NBRC), scientists tested ashwagandha on mice with Alzheimer’s. After 20 days of treatment with ashwagandha, cognitive performance of the mice improved significantly. At the end of 30 days, their brain function had returned to normal and the amyloid plaques that had been present in the mice’s brains were reduced.
Moreover, the study showed that rather than altering brain chemistry directly, ashwagandha boosts a protein in the liver. This protein clears amyloid from the brain.