Your brain is the most complex organ in your body – and the least understood. It’s only in the past decade that researchers have truly made strides in understanding how the brain works and what it requires to remain healthy.
Learning how to improve memory and protect brain health is critical at every age.
There is an epidemic of dementia happening worldwide. Currently, almost 47 million are living with dementia. More than 9 million of those people live in the United States alone. Every year, the risk of developing diseases of the brain rises.
Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
The World Health Organization estimates that within three decades, 131 million people will be diagnosed with a condition that directly impacts memory, thinking, behavior, and emotion.
Different Forms of Dementia
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)
- Mixed dementia
- Parkinson’s disease
- Frontotemporal dementia
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
- Normal pressure hydrocephalus
- Huntington’s disease
- Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
This is a global threat that not only impacts the patients dealing with debilitating dementia but also those who care for them. The cost of care is astronomical. While the national cost in the United States exceeded $236 billion in 2016, families caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s disease alone can spend upwards of $5,000 per year.
It’s a cost that many cannot bear.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimated that 15.9 million friends and family provided more than 18 billion unpaid hours of care in 2015 to those loved ones suffering from dementia. More than 65% of those helpers are women and 34% are over the age of 65.
Worse, family members caring for an Alzheimer’s patient are 28% more likely to go hungry due to the financial toll of the disease.
According to Professor Martin Prince of King’s College, “Our estimates of the current and future scale of the dementia epidemic highlight the need for action now to improve access to basic health and social care, and initiate prevention programs, alongside the search of more effective treatments.”
The best treatment for diseases of any kind is prevention.The best treatment for diseases of any kind is prevention.Click To Tweet
An Herb to Protect Brain Health Naturally
Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) is a perennial herb prominent in Ayurvedic medicine for millennia. It is primarily used to sharpen brain function and boost feelings of calm. It grows in marshy conditions and is a simple herb to add to your own kitchen bog garden.
The scientific community is researching its effects against many emotional, behavioral, and neurological conditions including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Bacopa also shows promise in the treatment of cancer, infertility, and gastrointestinal conditions.
One study from the University of Michigan discovered that bacopa encouraged nerve cell growth and aided in the repair of nerve cells that sustained damage.
The powerful compounds in bacopa protect the brain by naturally lowering inflammation, boosting hormone production, calming the mind, and regulating your heart rate.
Another study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that bacopa is an effective antioxidant useful against a common substance found in the brains of Alzheimer patients called acrolein. The herb slowed the production of this oxidation by-product. It protected the delicate mitochondrial membranes of the brain.
Other Bacopa Benefits
- Prevents memory loss
- Manages anxiety, depression, and stress
- Treats epilepsy
- Chronic pain management
- Regulates blood pressure
- Improve focus
Bacopa isn’t addictive and is safe for most adults. It can take as much as 12 weeks to see results in memory, learning, and general alertness. However, the calming properties of the tea are felt fairly quickly since it triggers a mild sedative effect in the brain.
Women who are pregnant or nursing shouldn’t add bacopa to their diet since there’s no research confirming safety for these scenarios.
Bacopa tends to have a woodsy and bitter taste. Adding it to a shake or making homemade tea may be a better option. Always take it with food to avoid upset stomach!
Choose organic bacopa for the best results and lower risk of contamination. Growing your own is always my first choice but that may not be an option for everyone.
Soothing Bacopa Tea (courtesy of Dr. Axe)
- 1 cup water
- 3 fresh bacopa leaves
- 1 teaspoon bacopa powder
- Sugar or honey (optional)
- Boil water.
- Add bacopa leaves and powder.
- Steep 10 minutes.
- Sweeten to taste.
Adding the fresh leaves increases the effects of the tea. You can use the leaves or powder alone but researchers found that combining them maximizes results.
If you’re dealing with a lot of stress, struggling with alertness, or simply looking for a natural remedy to protect brain health (no matter your age), bacopa may be the right choice for you!