BY DR. ANDREA PURCELL
I think it’s safe to say we all could benefit from a brain boost pretty regularly. Instead of defaulting to caffeine, chocolate, and sugar today’s post is all about plant nutrition that we could be using instead. Plants provide a buffet of nutrients that power up our brains with body friendly compounds.
In today’s world, there is definitely an important place for brain support from children all the way through into adulthood. Brain boosters will help us manage stress, sharpen our thinking, as well as protect and reverse age related decline.
What I love about plant medicine is that is deeply empowering. With a little knowledge, guidance, access to plants, and some action you can take great strides to enhance your own health and well-being.
As mentioned, when it comes to supporting brain health, there is an area of benefit for every stage of life.
For centuries, herbs have been used to improve memory, enhance focus and concentration and to reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and depression.
Brain Boosting plants help to support nerves in the brain by decreasing inflammation. This protects against migraines and depression as well as neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
Let’s take a look at Brain Boosters through the life-span…
In school-aged children brain support has the ability to:
Speed up the learning process
Stimulate concentration and focus
Maintain mood and social skills
Manage anxiety and depression
In Mid-life, we often seek brain support to:
Enhance dreams and sleep recovery
Delay onset of age-related cognitive decline
Maintain mood and sharpen social skills
With Aging, brain support takes top priority to:
Delay onset of age-related cognitive decline
Maintain high mood and sharpen social skills
Manage feelings of depression and anxiety
So, let’s dive into some delicious and somewhat magical Brain Boosting plants that you can incorporate into your daily routine…
The wild frozen blueberries pack the most medicine. Those deeply blue colored fruits are jam packed with beneficial properties that modern science has only scratched the surface of.
Blueberries can prevent small vessel damage to the eyes and many studies confirm these fruits can slow the progression of age-related mental decline. Research has shown that these flavonoids accumulate in the brain and enhance nerve function, working memory and brain processing speed.
Dose: 2/3 cup a day- Add to your oatmeal or a smoothie for your daily helping.
This is a circulatory herb that helps to promote blood flow through oxygen deficient tissues. Ginkgo enhances blood flow through the brain by thinning the blood, bringing oxygen to the brain cells, and stabilizing the walls of the blood vessels.
Benefits have been seen in people with mild Alzheimer’s disease, poor memory, hearing loss, and tinnitus. In human studies, Ginkgo delayed the progression of dementia.
Dose: Ginkgo Leaf dried in tea, tincture, or capsule.
Members of the mint family can enhance cognitive function. They can elevate and improve mood while calming the nervous system. They help to relieve the symptoms of mild Alzheimer’s disease, especially irritability, forgetfulness, and mental clarity.
Dose: 1 cup of tea 2-3x daily
Note: Peppermint essential oil can be used rubbed into the temples or third eye (middle of forehead) while driving or doing desk work to enhance mental clarity.
There is an old saying, “Rosemary for remembrance”.
Roman scholars used to wear a crown of rosemary branches around their heads to help them remember the things they needed to know.
Rosemary extract is a powerful antioxidant which helps to reduce inflammation in the brain. It has been shown to improve memory.
Dose: Tea -1 tsp dried leaves, pour 8oz boiling water over it and steep for 10min.
Here are a few ways to incorporate brain boosters into your day…
Beneficial Brain Beverages
-Lemon Balm Tea
-Mint Spa Water – Add mint leaves to a 2-liter pitcher of water. Let infuse and drink during the day.
Quick Brain Boosting Tea
Mix ½ oz. of each in a large jar blending the herbs well
Use 1 Tbsp. of the blend in 8 oz. of boiling water
Steep covered for 10 minutes, strain and drink warm
These herbs work together to improve memory, reduce anxiety, protect brain cells from damage, and increase circulation to the brain.
Brain Focus Oil
Mix in a ¼ oz. roller ball bottle:
5 drops of lemon balm essential oil
5 drops of rosemary essential oil
5 drops of peppermint essential oil
Fill the remaining space in the bottle with fractionated coconut oil
Roll on insides of wrists, third eye (in center of forehead) or temples. This can help to maintain focus while driving, before sitting down to study, work, or for test taking.
Sources of Herbs, Teas, and Oils:
For bagged teas, I prefer Traditional Medicinals Brand. They have high quality medicine grade teas that can be found at local health food and grocery stores.
Bulk herbs can be purchased direct from Mountain Rose Herbs, Frontier CO-OP, and Desert Sage Herbs. You can buy the herbs in bulk and mix your own tea blends.
Essential Oils can be purchased from Doterra using this link: https://www.learnabouteos.com/drpurcell
Brew yourself a pot of tea and Enjoy!