Salutations House of Buckle readers!
As summer gets into full swing, I wanted to call out that June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. This is a great time to take just a second and talk about herbs that are great for brain health. Before we get to the herb list, however, let’s take a moment to discuss Alzheimer’s.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It generally worsens over time. In most instances the first symptoms appear sometime in the mid-60’s (called “late-onset type”). There is an early-onset Alzheimer’s which can occur sometime as early as a person’s 30’s. This is rare, however. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs of Alzheimer’s include: Memory loss/issues, challenges in planning/problem solving, and difficulty completing familiar tasks at home/work just to name a few. People can become frustrated with these symptoms and this in turn affects mood and personality.
A person can live with the disease for 10 or more years (if they have an earlier onset) before death occurs. People that are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease that are 80 years old or older may only have as little as a few years before death.
It is estimated that 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease right now and that figure may be as high as 50 million people worldwide.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease currently. Many of us most likely know somebody, usually a beloved parent or grand parent that is battling this disease. It strips people of dignity and therefore they become a shell of their former selves. It really is quite sad.
Now, the good news…
There are herbs that can help our brain health. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but these herbs/spices can improve brain health and should be considered. And I say that, especially speaking in more of a preventative measure.
Top 5 Herbs for Mental Health
- Gingko biloba: Long used as a treatment for Dementia, this traditional Chinese medicine herb might help improve cognitive function in the brain by stimulating/promoting blood flow to the brain. Check out the health benefits of Gingko biloba here.
- Ginseng: This popular herb is an anti-inflammatory and some early studies have shown that it may help reduce levels of beta-amyloid in the brain. You can read more about Ginseng here.
- Lemon Balm: This herb is used to ease anxiety and insomnia by many people. Additionally, it may help to improve cognitive function. You can read more about lemon balm here.
- Sage: This pungent herb i popular in cooking. But did you know, sage has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well? Therefore it may possess the ability to enhance memory. You can read more about the health benefits of sage here.
- Turmeric: More and more people are turning to turmeric today for a host of benefits. Turmeric contains curcumin which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. As a result, it may help clear the brain of beta-amyloid. This in turn reduces Alzheimer’s-related brain plaques. Turmeric is in curry powder and can be used in cooking. There are also a host of turmeric supplements on the market today as this herb is really popular, and for good reason. Read more about turmeric here.
There you have it. If you know somebody that is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease you may want to help them out by introducing some/all of these herbs/spices into their diet. There is a word of caution however. I always recommend that you consult a physician before you start any herbal regimen as some herbs do have counter actions with certain medications.
Additionally, I also recommend these herbs/spices as part of a healthy lifestyle and a preventative for those that do not currently have Alzheimer’s or dementia. Your brain will thank you!
Until next time, remember, your best wealth is your health. Have a wonderful rest of your day!