Impaired Memory

Bhagwati Ayurveda & Panchkarma Research Centre/Impaired Memory

Ayurvedic Treatment for Loss of Memory

Memory loss or decreasing memory power is one of the symptoms of various psychological conditions. Forgetfulness, like forgetting where you placed your keys, etc., is common among each and every one of us. It is not the sign of a disease. If memory loss is to such an extent where you are unable to do your day to day activities, then it is a matter of concern.
If you’re suffering from weak memory or memory loss, Ayurveda might be able to solve your problems. Ayurveda uses natural remedies to cure many diseases, and even though forgetting where you put your glasses or cell phones may not sound discrete enough, it may be early signs of dementia. Before it escalates to that level, here are 5 foods that you may try to curb it as the first signs appear.

Common Causes of Memory Loss

  • Ageing.
  • Dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, brain tumours, thyroid disorder, and stress.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Certain medications like sleeping pills, anti-depressants, sugar level and cholesterol reducing medicines.

Diagnosing Memory Loss Through Ayurveda

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.

Ayurvedic Management of Memory Loss

  • Ayurvedic herbs like Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Shankhapushpi, Vacha, Bhringaraja, Mandukaparni, Brahmi Gritha, Brahmi Rasayana are beneficial
  • Include ghee, almonds and milk in your diet.
  • Boil ½ tsp of Brahmi powder in a glass of milk and drink daily at bedtime.
  • Do regular body and head massage.
  • You can undergo Ayurvedic treatment procedures like Abhyanga, Nasya, Shirodhara, Shirobasti, and Pichu.
  • Avoid using sleeping pills and use herbs like Ashwagandha and Jatamansi
  • Manage your stress and anxiety by practicing yoga, pranayama, and meditation.
  • Go for a regular walk to enhance your circulation.
  • To cope with your condition, you can make a habit of writing down the important things and go through the list again and again.
  • Give your brain some exercise by reading, playing games, etc.

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.

  • If a person is too much stressed or under anxiety, forgetfulness becomes prevalent.
  • If the patient is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, poor memory is very common.
  • Deficiency of B1 and B12 vitamins can also lead to poor memory.
  • If there is a tumor in the brain, it can cause memory loss and poor memory for the patient.
  • If there was a head injury, it can lead to loss of memory.

Herbal Therapies to Prevent Memory Loss

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.

Ashwagandha, A Natural Way to Fight Alzheimer’s

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:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Ulcers
  • Infertility
  • High blood pressure

How Can Ashwagandha Fight Alzheimer’s?

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.

Brahmi & Bhringara

  • Brahmi is the most recommended herb in Ayurveda to treat poor memory. Take a teaspoonful Brahmi powder and boil it with milk for a few minutes. Add a pinch of saffron. Take this before going to bed every day. This is proved to be helpful for ages.
  • Brahmi, Jatamamsi, Bhringara, and Shankhapushpi are well known for their benefits to treat poor memory. Take one teaspoonful of each and prepare tea. This is very helpful for the patient.
  • Mandukaparni (Centella Asiatica) is known to be a memory booster. Take a cup of the decoction of the whole plant, before going to bed daily for a month.
  • Take one teaspoonful of Aloe Vera gel, ¼ teaspoonful of Bhringaraj powder with a pinch of pepper is beneficial when taken thrice a day.

Healthy Diet to Enhance Memory

There are few recommended foods and diet for the patient, which should be followed for quicker recovery from this condition.
  • Fruit fast can be very useful to cleanse the whole system. Remember to consult a doctor to understand which fruits are good for your body type. Avoid fruit fast, if the patient tends to get hypoglycemia.
  • Take lighter and easily digestible food during the treatment.
  • Sweet potato, tapioca, and okra are found to be helpful in restoring memory. Spinach, which produces Pitta in the body can be a good food for the patient.
  • Take fresh vegetables daily.
  • Consumption of almonds, oranges, ghee, and milk are known to be helpful for the poor memory condition.