Apart from brain damage, certain things like alcohol consumption and drug use have been known to cause brain cell death. When people finally recover from periods of excessive use, they often have a hard time restoring mental/brain function back to proper levels. Most people who suffer brain damage, rarely make a complete recovery. However, Ayurvedic Medicine has proven time and time again that brain damage and neurodegeneration can be effectively treated. Contrary to popular belief, clinical studies show that brain damage actually can be treated and to a certain extent, reversed.
Brain damage can be reversed by inducing neuritic growth and neurogenesis. This can be achieved with the following:
1. Nootropics (Clinically-Tested)
These herbs improve the function of the brain and are known for relieving the symptoms of a wide range of neurological disorders including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, as well as minor complaints like difficulty concentrating, and mild memory loss. They nourish the brain and entire central nervous system, via the production of neurotransmitters and the production and release of neurological growth factors like BDNF – brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which results in improved brain function and neuron growth. Before doubting the benefits of these herbs, note that the clinical research on these herbs are pretty outstanding and continue to prove the claims of their efficacy.
This is one of the most powerful yet most misused nootropic herbs. Most people take it as a standardized extract, however, this is the least effective way to use it. Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic medicinal herb, but Ayurvedic doctors almost never use this herb on its own and we certainly never use standardized extracts. Clinical trials that are conducted in Ayurvedic medical schools have shown how effective this herb can be when properly utilized.
Here are a few mind-blowing studies in which Ashwagandha was used correctly as part of a complete Ayurvedic treatment protocol:
Ashwagandha is known for its brain-boosting benefits and contains naturally occurring steroids that stimulate growth. It is known to be a powerful nootropic as well as psychotropic and has had a significantly positive effect on neurological health in clinical research. Studies have proven that Ashwagandha improves cognitive function and memory while reducing inflammation, anxiety, depression, and stress. It also provides neuroprotection via the release of antioxidant enzymes.
In clinical trials, Ashwagandha as a single herb has been used for treating the following neurological & psychiatric conditions:
Ashwagandha is used in Ayurvedic Medicine as part of complete treatment protocols for the following neurological conditions:
-Irritable Bowel Syndrome
-Premature Ejaculation, and several other sexual dysfunction disorders.
In experimental studies, Ashwagandha induced neurogenesis via multiple mechanisms including the stimulation of production of BDNF – Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor. One of the chemical constituents known as “Withanolide A” is able to induce neuritic regeneration and synaptic reconstruction, meaning it has the ability to reconstruct entire neuronal networks.
This herb improves cognitive function by supporting the formation of Acetylcholine, increasing Serotonin levels, regulating Dopamine levels, reducing neuroinflammation and providing neuroprotective effects. Experimental studies have shown that Bacopa can also boost BDNF levels.
In clinical studies, Bacopa has been used to treat the following:
Bacopa is used in Ayurvedic Medicine as part of complete treatment protocols for the following neurological conditions:
– Poor Memory
– Development Issues
– Cerebral Palsy
– Parkinson’s Disease
– Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Bacopa can have side-effects and should be avoided by those who are pregnant, trying to conceive or breastfeeding. Only use it under the supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor.
Other Nootropic Herbs:
(Make sure to use these herbs under the guidance of an Ayurvedic doctor, as they can be dangerous if improperly used)
Most people are unaware of the proper ways to administer nootropics. Simply taking a supplement may help you with minor things like concentration and memory, but it is not strong enough to treat an actual neurodegenerative illness. It must be administered in the correct form (aqueous extract, alcohol extract, lipid-based, etc) with a drug carrier and a metabolic stimulant. This ensures that the phytonutrients and chemicals are properly metabolized and directed to where they need to go. Regular standardized extracts are nowhere nearly as effective as using these herbs in the proper Ayurvedic way.
2. Ayurvedic Clinical Procedures
In Ayurvedic medicine, complex medical procedures are done to administer these herbs as nose drops (intra-nasal administration) and medicated enemas. These procedures are done due to the fact that these are the most efficient ways to reach the central nervous system. Speak to an Ayurvedic doctor about these procedures if you are interested.
In clinical trials and case studies, patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases that have undergone these procedures have shown dramatic improvement in symptoms. In my own practice, patients/clients with MS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s have experienced significant improvement and display signs of reduced disease progression. I have also seen positive results when utilizing these procedures in neuro-muscular conditions like Fibromyalgia as well as hyperactivity disorders like ADHD.
Here are a few case studies with extraordinary results:
Here are a few clinical trials with extraordinary results:
3. High Fat Diet
The brain is made up of fatty material. The entire body is a product of all that we eat. Our cells are nourished by our food and are only able to carry out their functions properly when given the right nutrition. In recent times, people have turned to a low-fat or fat-free diet. Most people believe that fats make us fat and unhealthy therefore they must be avoided. However, most people are completely unaware that is quite untrue. Refined carbohydrates are what makes us fat and sick. Sugars and carbs, as well as hormonal issues, cause weight gain.
Fat is essential for the brain because fats are the building blocks for brain tissue. How can the brain rebuild itself after all the wear and tear if it’s not given the proper nourishment? If you don’t give a person adequate protein, their muscles waste away, not enough vitamins and various conditions arise, not enough water and we get dehydrated. So what about “not enough fat”? In order to obtain/maintain proper neurological function, the brain must have its proper nutrition, which happens to be “fats”. Carbs may give the brain fuel, but it does not give it the building blocks to rebuild itself. Consume healthy fats such as:
It is also essential to get an adequate amount of antioxidants to counter the effects of free radicals. In addition to this, nutrients such as Magnesium, Vitamin D, B-Vitamins, Chromium, Choline, Tyrosine, and Tryptophan are also essential for brain function via the formation of myelin, neurotransmitters and more.
It has been seen that exercise is highly effective in stimulating “Neurogenesis” or “regeneration of brain cells”. For the longest time, it was believed that Neurons do not regrow, yet in recent studies, this has been disproved. Exercise is known to increase neuron growth factors such as NGF (Nerve growth factor), IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), VEGF (Vascular endothelial growth factor and BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor). In research, the increase in these factors appears to play a significant role in neurogenesis (regrowth of neurons). (See research)
The best exercises for the brain would be Yoga, weight lifting and High-intensity interval training. Martial arts are also very effective and provide the added benefit of training the mind as well.
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(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor. Ayurvedic medicines and herbs must be used under the supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor).
by Dr. Nishal R.