Herbs are so much part of our everyday lives we probably don’t realise how much we use them. Equally, we don’t realise how much they can help us so we wanted to give you more information on these valuable plants.
Herbal medicine is ancient wisdom that has been used throughout the world over centuries. Herbal preparations are made directly from the plant, and use different parts from leaves, flowers, seeds, rhizomes through to roots. Depending on the herb they can come in tincture, paste, tablets or teas.
Our everyday use of herbs includes
Like all medicine herbs do require specialist knowledge to ensure they are used correctly. We are providing you with an overview of the more commonly known herbs. Our blogs will identify the traditional associations relating to each herb.
The MHRA is the government’s medical regulatory agency. Any herbal product must be recognised by this body before claims can be made about it.
What this means to you is that no one can tell you that this product is good for specific conditions, nor can they suggest to you how much you can take or even if you should take it.
Brain health and memory
You will all be aware of the attention that Alheizmers and dementia are getting; and with good reason, these diseases are life changing.
As ever our approach is one of prevention. We don’t want to wait until you start to suffer symptoms, we want to encourage you to take action now to give yourself more of a chance of not getting these illnesses.
How can I help myself?
- You know this one already, a good diet!
- Limit or eliminate sugar and processed foods
- Include B vitamins as part of your daily regime
- Eat more fish or take fish supplements
- Get enough sleep – see our blogs on sleep for more advice
- Check out any medications you are taking and their side effects
- Are you drinking too much alcohol? If so, make a plan to reduce your consumption
- Do you use recreational drugs? It could be time to rethink this
- Get more exercise. Regular exercise makes us feel good as well as keeping us fit
- How is your stress level? Is it time to review your life and make some changes?
Herbs to help your brain
Like so many herbs Ginkgo has been in traditional use for many centuries. It is an important remedy within Chinese medicine. The associations of Ginkgo are really positive in terms of prevention. It is reputed to enhance and protect our cognitive processes. This includes maintaining an even mood and improved mental focus. Although this herb is slow in action for some (it can take six weeks to become apparent) it helps to improve the blood flow to our brains.
Ginkgo is so potent because it offers us excellent antioxidant properties. The significance of antioxidants is their ability to counteract free radicals which we are regularly exposed to.
Ginkgo is an adaptogenic herb. As the word adaptogenic suggests these herbs adapt to the body’s needs. It follows then, that they are good at responding to and managing bodily stress. Adaptogens act by regulating hormones. Our hormones influence so many vital functions within our bodies.
Ginkgo offers us a multitude of support and protection for our brains. First it helps us deal with anxiety, then it enhances our attention and memory as well as cognitive ability.
Rosemary is not only a terrific taste enhancer it is an excellent brain stimulator too. I have used the oil as a way of helping me concentrate during exams. I found it really useful to help me focus both during the exam and in the study periods beforehand. I used an oil burner in my room when studying and a drop of oil on a tissue when I was in the exam.
As you know rosemary is a great herb for use in cooking, making it an easy way to add to your regime. Alternatively, you can use it as a tea.
Basil and Peppermint
These two herbs both offer highly aromatic scents and despite being very different they offer similar properties of clearing the mind and improving our focus and concentration.
I only have to smell basil and I am transported to Italy, sunshine, mozzarella, avocados and big juicy tomatoes. Yummy! Reliving positive experiences is really good for us and takes us away from the stresses and strains of the day. I am a big advocate of some regular day dreaming!
Peppermint is very cleansing and reviving. One of my favourite uses for peppermint oil is rubbing it into my hot, tired feet to invigorate them and let me carry on with my day. Peppermint is a powerful digestive aid too helping us to counteract tummy grumbles and indigestion. Just think of those powers working on your brain! Research has indicated that peppermint both improves mood and memory.
You know we love our Indian herbs and spices and especially Turmeric which has so many amazing properties particularly of an anti-inflammatory nature. In terms of the brain, turmeric is associated with improving our brain function, memory and attention span.
Turmeric is so easily incorporated into our diets. You can include it in your smoothies, you can add it to your main courses and you can make a turmeric latte.
This popular tea contains two important ingredients caffeine and L-theanine. The combined action of these two nutrients is to encourage production of dopamine which in turn helps us stay calm.
A cup of green tea a day is an easy habit to cultivate and now green tea comes in so many delicious variants you will be spoilt for choice!
As you can see there are a variety of tasty options that you can easily add to your diet. We have amazing natural remedies at our disposal. Let’s make the most of them and keep ourselves healthy.