Hi all! I'm new here. I just wanted to about herbs that are good for healthy brain function. My memory is very poor and I seem to have attention issues as well. I want to try using natural herbs to see if my mind can start functioning a little better. If anybody has any experience or knowledge of any herbs that promote healthy brain function please let me know.
I know very little about herbs, so someone else will need to chime in here. But I do understand the need for and the effects on my body of a healthier lifestyle. In my early 50s my physical and mental health was waning rapidly. I made some significant lifestyle changes which helped me a lot.
1- Switched to a better diet.
..... Eliminated all sugar and sugar substitutes for 2 years, then reintroduced fresh homegrown fruit. A year later I added fresh pressed cane juice, consumed in moderation. Occasionally I'll have some handmade baked goods, like cake or pie, but only as a treat.
..... Eliminated all commercially made foods, including commercially prepared spices, etc. I only purchased foods that I knew hadn't been treated with chemicals of any sort, including organic ones.
..... Reduced my salt intake.
..... Switched to fresh veggies, fruits, and local grown meats. I tried to buy everything local from people that I knew how the produced the food.
2- Established a set sleeping pattern, one that was normal for a human being. No more late nights. No more sleeping late in the morning. I went to bed and woke by the clock, then later by the sun.
3- Started walking. I now walk a minimum of 3 miles a day over up & down terrain.
4- Eliminated as many toxins from my life as was feasible. This means I stopped using most pesticides, chemical cleaning products, air fresheners, fabric softeners, anti-static sprays, etc. Eliminated all cosmetics, powders, skin lotions, hair products, etc. Stopped using plastic with food (no plastic bottles, storage containers, plastic wrap). No Teflon cookware. No carpeting in floors -switched to tile with washable throw mats. The list is longer.
5- Stayed away from cities as much as I could. Avoided other toxic environments too.
6- Ate my meals on a schedule.
The changes in me were surprising. I worked in the veterinary field, and frankly didn't give "clean & natural" living any value. That was just for crazy hippies, I thought. So I wasn't expecting to see big benefits. My sole reason for changing was that I was going into liver failure and was told that if I didn't do something I would be dead in a year or two. THAT I could understand and accept. The doctors gave me a list of things to do. So I made changes.
My liver values returned to normal over a period of several years, improving annually. But other benefits I wasn't expecting included losing 60 lbs, my insomnia issues disappearing, my depression issues mostly disappearing, my daily body rhythms became more normal, my overall mood improved (I became an optimist), my memory and mental clarity improved, my arthritis subsided, I had more energy. It didn't create miracles, but I believe I got a second chance at living.
What I am trying to get across is that I didn't try just one change, such as consuming particular herbs.....or just losing weight, or just adding exercise. I made an across the board lifestyle change for the better. All the changes combined helped not just one problem I was having, but generally improved everything.
If I had my life to live over again, I would avoid all toxins, eat natural clean foods, follow a lifestyle & rhythm suited for my body and mind. Herbs is just one small part of the whole life routine.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
All these will help vastly more, and are more healthy for your body, than self-medicating with psychoactive herbs/plants(and not just the illegal kind; even stuff like St John's Wort can have side effects if over/improperly used)) - I hope you get that memory/attention span back.
Psychologically speaking(informally), I find that having a set routine allows me to focus on the task at hand(just plan short intervals of task, then lengthen the time frames for task over time), and remember significant events (because they stand out more against those routine actions)
Experimenting and growing on my small acre in SW USA; Fruit & Nut trees w/ annuals, hoping to get Chickens, rabbits, and in-laws onto property soon.
Long term goal - Furniture & Luthier Stay-at-home farm dad.
Great suggestions, if I had to pick one or two things I've found the most helpful, it would be walking & early-nights (leading on to cool, crisp early mornings in the garden).
Memory and attention will peak at different times of day depending on age and the individual - I like to get all my book learnin' done early in the day, before the fog settles in.
Memory/focus also works like a muscle, it may just be a matter of incremental training to regain capacity.
Permaculture is a great hobby, because there's SO much information which will definitely be useful, giving your brain a real incentive to remember it.
And putting that knowledge into action helps entrench it in your neurons for good.
Examine your lifestyle, multiply it by 7.7 billion other ego-monkeys with similar desires and query whether that global impact is conscionable.
Su Ba's list is excellent. I would suggest starting with the points 1, 5 & 6, as those are all about the elimination of negatives. If one doesn't remove the negatives, then the positive habits don't have as much impact, which makes people think that good habits are not actually helpful and proceed to give up in trying to change.
With that said, I would be cautious with any strict diets that may be recommended to you. Try them certainly, but introduce them at a slow pace - some bodies do not respond well to doing 180 degree changes in many areas in such a short amount of time. (changing diet, changing eating patterns, changing sleep pattern, etc.)
From what I've learned about various diets, the only certainty I can tell you is to eat as much locally grown food as possible. In the end though, you'll have to be the one to figure out which food group(s) are best suited for you. :)
There is a book I only got to skim through as I ended up busy with other projects, but if you make an account you can be put on the waiting list for when it's your turn to borrow it for 14 days.
Herbs the Magic Healer
Herbs, especially fresh, are good for a lot aliments or cleansing, but as others have said: don't consider them a cure-all, as no single element is.
"Our ability to change the face of the earth increases at a faster rate than our ability to foresee the consequences of that change"
- L.Charles Birch
Herbal nootropics and adaptogens are what it sounds like you're looking for. Here are some herbs that come to mind which promote memory, brain health, cognitive functioning, and regrowth of neurological tissue. gynostemma, gotu kola, lions mane, reishi, turkey tail, chaga, holy basil, brahmi - bacopa monneria, ginkgo biloba, rhodiola rosea, panax ginseng, amla, rosemary, ashwagandha, astragalus, there are more that I'm just not recalling at the moment. You can also add herbs to increase circulation to the mix to help make it more effective, something such as cayenne-spicy chilis, ginger, or cinnamon.
MountainRoseHerbs has good quality herbs.
My Food Forest - Mile elevation. Zone 6a. Southern Idaho <--I moved in year two...unfinished...probably has cattle on it.
A few things I can think of. Ashwaganda, brami, roseroot, gotu kola, caffeine herbs/fruit, tobacco. There are heaps of things that can help, but I often think these drugs are not required unless there is a problem that could be solved in a more simple way.
As mentioned diet is really important. A very basic diet that limits potentially harmful foods is a good start. I'm supposed to be starting being carnivorous today, yet I'm currently drinking beer...
I use ginkgo biloba for forgetfulness and it helps. I get less into situations like telling myself to do something in the other room, while i move to the other room have a billion thoughts and then standing in that room trying to remember what the heck it was i told myself to do.
Ginkgo Biloba is not a herb, it's a tree, unchanged for 160 millions of years, the Chinese emperors used it. I'm in Europe , i get it standardized at the health food shop, diluted in alcohol.
It makes the finest blood vessels in the brain stronger and pumps more blood and oxygen deeper into the brain. It helps me.
Normally it should not have side effects when the daily recommended dose is respected. But it can have interactions with conventional medicine. I bought a scientific 700 page 150 dollar book that phytotherapists use, got a whole list of possible interactions with chemical medicines. But maybe you're on no prescription drugs, then it's safe, otherwise i can write the list down if you like.
Anyway, great you stopped using. I've had more then my fair share of dope and booze when i was young wild monster. The natural lifestyle has given me so much more lasting feeling of fulfillment and belonging and hope for a better future for humanity, i'm not busy with booze any more, sometimes when old good friends come around, but that's it. Maybe it will work for you too! Here's to a better new year!
Creating edible biodiversity and embracing everlasting abundance.
Loads and loads of excellent advice, in this thread (I'm bookmarking it!!!) I like to take a holistic approach to my health, too. It just makes more sense. I have some physical and mental clarity struggles of my own, that I've been dealing with, for decades, and others that have occurred within the last one. But, in the last three years, I've been doing much of what's mentioned above, I now experience much more mental clarity, and physical energy. It works.
I'll add that it's much easier to dump old/bad habits, if you replace them, at the same time, with good ones. In fact, it often just 'happens'. For example, adding new healthier foods to your diet makes it easier to eliminate unhealthy foods, simply because you can only eat so much, in a day. When I began blending & making a point of drinking my herbal teas, there just wasn't enough time in the day, or room in my gut to also keep drinking all the sugary stuff, and eliminating them just happened. I'm an omnivore, but when I figured out that part of my dry skin and hair problems may have stemmed at least partly, from too few healthy fats in my diet. I added the fats, and they are very filling! I sure wasn't giving up my meats, so letting go of most of the unhealthier/sugary carbs (think donuts, cupcakes, bagels) was an easy no-brainer. The result of these 2 things alone (adding the teas & healthy fats) caused weightloss, higher energy levels, better mental function, and a more positive outlook, over all. It's something of a domino effect - make one or two changes, and other things will simply begin falling into place, or off the table.
Also - cheats happen. Don't beat yourself up over it, or feel guilty - just make a mental note (our, better yet, keep a journal) of how it left you feeling, mentally and physically, and you'll start seeing the patterns; 'huh. Yesterday I ate/drank ____, and last night/today, I feel bloated, sluggish, down (or ready & rarin' to go...). Note the good stuff and the bad, and you'll start seeing how the foods you eat, beverages you drink, places you go, and activities(or lack of) affect you. That will make it easier to make better choices, igoing forward.
The only thing...more expensive than education is ignorance.~Ben Franklin