Ayurveda For Memory Loss: 3 Ways To Stimulate Your Brain Power

‘Wondering whether you have locked your home?’ after stepping into your office. Thinking whether you turned off the stove while you are half asleep? Made your little one wear his/her sports dress on a ‘strictly uniform’ demanding Monday morning? Trust me, then you are travelling on the not-so-smooth road of memory loss. It’s not only you but many of us suffer from memory loss. Pharmaceutical drugs can help you temporarily but very soon you may be affected by perilous side-effects. The best and the natural way to treat memory loss is by following the paths of our ancestors, who have gifted us with Ayurveda, the mother of all healing sciences.

What is memory loss? The best function of the human brain is the power of recollecting and retaining information and that is known as memory power. This is assisted by neurotransmitters or brain chemicals, the imbalance of which causes memory problems. Memory loss is the loss of ability to remember things or events that may be recent or from memories of the past or both together. It is also known as amnesia, loss of memory, forgetfulness, amnestic syndrome and impaired memory. Loss of memory can be permanent or transient depending upon an individual and his environment.

What causes loss of memory? Thousands of reasons could be attributed to this unusual forgetfulness but the predominant ones being aging, stress, depression and other psychological disorders. Few other causes of memory loss are alcoholism, drug addiction, weakened immunity, brain disorders, exposure to chemical or toxic substances, lack of nutrition or imbalanced diet, genetics, accidents or other traumatic disorders, cancer treatments like chemotherapy and brain radiation and certain other nervous disorders.

Ayurveda and memory loss: The Sanskrit term for memory loss in Ayurveda is Smriti Naasha. It generally occurs due to vitiation of vata dosha or kapha dosha. Increased vata can end up in “in one ear, out the other” syndrome. Balanced vata is imperative for all the functions vested with the nervous system, whereas pitta balance is responsible for sharp mind, focused thinking and clarity of mind. Balance in kapha dosha fosters movement and carries the information to the brain through nerve impulses and helps to save it on the brain tissue. The 3 trusted Ayurvedic remedies for treating loss of memory and enhancing brain power are:

Ayurvedic essential oils: Essential oils are natural extracts from plants. The immemorial essential oil to treat memory loss is Rosemary essential oil as it is said to have a positive effect on the cognitive function and boosts brain power. This is why the celebrated English Herbalist Nicholas Culpeper rightly said that Rosemary Helps a weak memory and quickens the senses. The chymical [essential] oil drawn from the leaves and flowers, is a sovereign help…touch the temples and nostrils with two or three drops.  This essential oil is also proved to sharpen the mental faculties while improving the cognitive performance.

Calamus essential oil contains terpenoids with sedative effect, trusted to empower the nervous system. Famous Botanist M. Daniel from the M.S. University strongly says that Calamus is effective in treating mental disorders, memory loss and augments memory power and intellect. The other effective essential oils for enhancing memory power are Basil essential oil, Thyme essential oil, Clary Sage essential oil, Roman Chamomile essential oil, Ginger essential oil, Lemon essential oil and Grapefruit essential oil.

Ayurvedic herbs: Intake of Ayurvedic herbs like Brahmi, Gotu Kola, Acorus Calamus, Ashwagandha, Celastrus paniculata, Nardostachys, Convolvus Pluricaulis and few other herbs have been proven effective in treating memory loss problems. Brahmi is known as an excellent brain and nerve tonic that is used to perk up the intellect, support learning and treat memory disorders and cognitive impairment. The famous ‘Phytotherapy Research’ of the A&M University, Texas has proved that Brahmi herb protects against Alzheimer’s disease.

Herbalist Penelope Ody says that Gotu Kola is an endurance tonic that reduces stress, anxiety, high blood pressure and enhances the memory power while invigorating the brain and central nervous system. In her popular book ‘The Holistic Herbal Directory’, she suggests the use of Acorus Calamus to augment mental awareness and memory power.

Ayurveda recommends the use of Convolvus Pluricaulis for memory problems as it is an exceptional tonic for revitalizing the functions of the brain and stimulate the nerves. Celastrus paniculata is also known as the intellect tree with its neuro-protective, anti-depressant, sedative and stimulant properties. The oil extracted from the seeds of this plant is used as a brain tonic for treating memory loss by Ayurvedic practitioners.

Yoga and Meditation: Regular meditation improves the power of concentration and aids in self-realization, paving way for mental wellness mainly due to the positive changes created in the brain wave patterns. Practicing Pranayama, the Yogic breathing method helps in attaining inner peace along with enhanced spiritual skills, high concentration and memory power. Other effective Yogasanas for treating memory loss problems are Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand), which revitalizes and invigorates the entire body, Balasana (Child pose) that helps in normalizing the circulation after performing the head stand, treats nervous irritability, anxiety and fatigue.

Along with these Ayurvedic remedies, light and cleansing diet including fresh fruits, organic vegetables, nuts, ghee etc, will boost your insight and aid in strengthening your memory power. No more worries and only sweet and strong memories, undoubtedly with Ayurveda.

Thought for the day:

[Memory is] a man’s real possession…In nothing else is he rich, in nothing else is he poor.                                                   –Alexander Smith

Suggested Reading:

  1. Ayurveda and the Mind: The Healing of Consciousness By Dr. David Frawley
  2. Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization By Dr. David Frawley
  3. Life’s a Smelling Success: Using Scent to Empower Your Memory and Learning By Alan Hirsch

Reference links:

  1. Memory loss by MedlinePlus (A Service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  2. A Clear Mind and Good Memory With Ayurveda by Namaskarhealing
  3. Rosemary boosts brain power! By Robert Tisserand

Ayurvedic Health Benefits Of Oil Pulling

What an amazing science is Ayurveda!!! Its brilliance can never be compared even to the best contemporary medicinal practices like the laser surgery. I’d rather call it as a Mass Medical Encyclopedia that has everything for treating infinite number of illnesses. Oral care is one among those exuberant wonders in Ayurveda.  Dental health is known as Danta Swasthya in Sanskrit terms and Ayurveda considers that improper oral hygiene is the root cause for numerous diseases including the most complex heart disorders. This is where the essence of oil pulling comes into picture. This Ayurvedic remedy is known as Gandusha or Kavala and is a part of the Ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita. It has been reported to treat numerous health conditions ranging from sinusitis, migraine to asthma and diabetes along with comprehensive oral and dental health care.

What is Ayurvedic oil pulling? Oil pulling is a hearty treatment, which involves swishing of vegetable oil in the mouth for about 20 minutes. Ayurveda suggests the use of pure sesame oil for its rich nutrients, therapeutic properties and varied health benefits, for which it is rightly known as the queen of oil seed crops. This ancient remedy is popular across the globe and most of the people start trusting its healing potential after giving it a try with hesitation and lack of trust. It is the simplest of all the treatment in the world as you don’t need to swallow bitter tablets, undergo strict diet practices, and take up restricted lifestyle because oil pulling is just as easy as swishing water or using a mouthwash and spitting it out with tons of bacteria, toxins and other harmful bodies in the human system.

How to do oil pulling? Oil pulling is actually done by taking 1 tablespoon of any of the vegetable oils like sesame oil, olive oil, coconut oil or sunflower oil in your mouth and swish it for about 15- 20 minutes. Note that your stomach is empty before eating or drinking anything in the morning because this is the ideal condition to pull out all kinds of toxins from your mouth and your body.

Swish the oil back, forth and around your mouth and ensure that the oil is passed in between your teeth and cavities so it strengthens your gums, whitens your teeth, removes tough stains in your teeth, helps you get rid of plaque, tooth decay, tartar and thousands of bacteria that hide in between your dental bones and gums. Ensure that you do not swallow this liquid, which is loaded with toxins, germs, pus, mucous and other unsafe microorganisms. After 15-20 minutes the swished liquid will be in white, milk like consistency that needs to be spit out.

Ayurvedic health benefits of oil pulling: This simple yet effective treatment has been in practice among the traditional populace in India and many other countries where it is trusted to strengthen teeth, fortify your gums, support healthy dental system, treat halitosis, check tooth decay, treat dry throat, cracked lips and bleeding gums along with other major health disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, impaired vision, dry skin, gingivitis and periodontal disease, eczema, loss of taste, bronchitis, psoriasis, exhaustion, kidney problems, headache, anorexia, heart disorders, obesity, sinusitis and much more.

Positive health effects of oil pulling: According to Charaka Samhita, the Ayurvedic text, the benefits of oil pulling has been stated as “It is beneficial for strength of jaws, depth of voice, flabbiness of face, improving gustatory sensation and good taste for food. One used to this practice never gets dryness of throat, nor do his lips ever get cracked; his teeth will never be carious and will be deep rooted; he will not have any toothache nor will his teeth set on edge by sour intake; his teeth can chew even the hardest eatables” in Charaka Samhita Ch V-78 to 80.

Aim of Oil pulling: Just the same as the aim of other Ayurvedic treatments, oil pulling too aspires to enhance the functionality of the human body, nourish the senses, bring in a feeling of newness, uphold the clarity of mind, stimulate the spirit and rejuvenate the complete structure physically and mentally. Oil pulling is a brilliant therapy that is curative as well as preventative in nature.

An ancient remedy rediscovered: Oil pulling is a potent detoxifying Ayurvedic therapy and has acquired much popularity after it was reiterated and rediscovered by Dr. F. Karach in 1992 and he claimed that this powerful ancient remedy has the power to heal a wide range of illnesses from hormonal disorders to digestive problems and heart diseases. He has experienced the remedial power of this Ayurvedic therapy by himself and he has said that oil pulling helped him cure his chronic blood disorder that he was suffering for about 15 years and treated his severe arthritis in just three days. Dr. Bruce Fife, a specialized Nutritionist and Naturopathic Physician has also brought out various health conditions that can be successfully managed by the influence of regular oil pulling in the right manner.

How is oil pulling effective on the entire system? Oil pulling is often seen as a redeemer as it helps in preventing major surgery or other difficult medications for numerous chronic disorders. Ayurveda suggests that this therapy purifies, cleanses and detoxifies the entire system by removing all the harmful toxins from the body. This is because Ayurveda clearly explains that oil pulling thoroughly cleans the teeth, gums and tongue. Each segment of the human tongue is linked with many vital organs of the body like lungs, kidneys, stomach, colon, liver, spine, heart and small intestines. This is the real logic behind the Ayurvedic claim that oil pulling is effectual in treating the entire system absolutely along with an Ayurvedic routine, meditation and yoga.

I have started this simple therapy just few weeks back and trust me; my days have never been so fresh and keyed up. I feel like sending thousands of anti-health warriors out of my body daily when I spit out the ‘Toxins-Filled’ oil. Check it out and feel the difference, no it should be indeed called as a MAGIC…….

Thought for the day:

The best and cheapest dentistry is when the right thing is done extremely well the first time and it lasts.

Suggested Reading:

  1. Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing by Bruce Fife
  2. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad
  3. The Coconut Oil Miracle (Previously published as The Healing Miracle of Coconut Oil) by Bruce Fife, Jon J. Kabara

Reference links:

  1. Charaka Samhita by Wikipedia
  2. What is Oil Pulling? by Oil Pulling A Wonderful Therapy
  3. Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health by Abhinav Singh and Bharathi Purohit. A review article from The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine
  4. Oil Pulling for a Brighter Smile and Better Health by Bruce Fife from the Coconut Research Center

Pranayama: The Ayurvedic Health Benefits Of Balanced Breathing

Have you ever thought about the way you breathe or the real magic behind your breathing? What will happen if your breath stops for a minute or two? Unimaginable and sounds pathetic, right? Pranayama can be called as the art of breathing for healthy living. This Sanskrit word means ‘extension of the life force’ in which ‘Prana’ means ‘breath or life force’ and ‘ayama’ means ‘expansion or to extend’. Ancient Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita have explained in detail about ‘Prana’ and its role in health and ailments. According to Ayurveda, Pranayama is a respiratory exercise and an exemplary technique to maintain physical health and augment mental health through spiritual values while harmonizing with the universal prana.

What is Pranayama? Pranayama is a vital part of the Yogic science, which is the sister science of Ayurveda. With the clear definition derived from the above para, all I have to explain about this spiritual healing technique is that it is the ‘control of breathing in a learned style’. This ideal breathing practice helps the body to meet its necessary oxygen requirements and release carbon-di-oxide and other toxins from the body. Pranayama should be done only after getting a proper training from an expert in Yoga. If done incorrectly, this exercise might increase the imbalances in the doshas, consequently ending up with diseases.

The three simple steps of Pranayama include Puraka (Inhalation), Kumbhaka (Retention) and Recaka (Exhalation). Slow and deep inhalation helps in the intake of enough oxygen for the body followed by total retention of the inhaled oxygen, which enables the system to acquire it. At the time of retaining the breath within, attention is focused on any particular part of the body like the forehead or the heart for gaining inner light. The final step is exhalation that is done through lungs or abdomen, where the impurities from your body are exhaled out.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Pranayama: Ayurveda is a holistic healing methodology that considers an individual as a universe in the universe based upon the solid principle that universe is also made up of the 5 vital elements and human body is also made up of the same 5 elements. Ayurveda considers ‘Pranayama’ as a juncture at which an individual’s own consciousness attains oneness with the universal consciousness. This paves way for realizing the immortal spirit vested within our body. The most significant health benefits of Pranayama according to Ayurveda are:

1. Enhances the quality of life: Pranayama or Yogic breathing helps you learn the art of deep and slow breathing, which aids in reduced rate of breathing. The normal respiratory rate in adults is about 12 breaths per minute at the time of rest. Increased respiratory rate like 20 or 30 breaths per minute are seen only in sick people, especially who are diagnosed with cancer, cystic fibrosis, HIV/AIDS and few other chronic conditions. Dr AC Guyton has said in The Textbook of Medical Physiology that “All chronic pain, suffering and diseases are caused from a lack of oxygen at the cell level”. Ayurveda recommends the practice of Pranayama to acquire enough oxygen to all the cells of the body and for reduced rate of breathing say about 5 to 6 breaths per minute. This helps in relaxation of nerves and muscles while lessening the wear and tear of internal organs.

2. Longevity or Increased life span: Increased life span or longevity is based upon an individual’s rate of breathing, according to Yoga, the sister science of Ayurveda. Pranayama teaches one to lower the rate of breathing and directly contributes to increased life span. As most of us know, one of the predominant living organisms on earth that has the highest life span is Tortoise and the major reason being its reduced rate of breathing that is only 4 to 5 breaths per minute.

3. Contributes to a healthy heart: A healthy heart is an incredible treasure supporting your welfare. This is an active organ of the body that works 24/7 in all the 365 days in a year. Practicing Pranayama regularly helps in the circulation of more oxygen to the blood and consequently supplies more oxygen to the heart and its muscles. This supports better functioning of your heart and effectively removes the toxins from the body.

4. Improves mental health: Inculcating regular practice of Pranayama strengthens your mind and grants you ultimate solace. A disturbed mind and a stressful life demands most of our time and steals our joy and serenity. Pranayama can also be called as positive breathing as it sows positive thoughts in our mind and emancipates the negative feelings like materialism, anger, depression, jealousy, stinginess, sluggishness, egotism and many other. This healing exercise improves the concentration power and paves way for better memory, enhanced spiritual skills and the eternal feeling of inner peace and harmony.

5. Healthy aging: Pranayama is the perfect way of treating the imbalances of all the three doshas namely vata, pitta and kapha. Vata aggravation leads to ill-health especially when a person turns older. Practicing Pranayama on a regular basis helps in keeping the mind and body in control. The sufficient amount of oxygen taken in by the body assists in treating Vata imbalances where Air is the predominant energy. This helps in protecting the health of the heart and lungs while preventing the negative symptoms of aging like rheumatism, backache, loss of vitality, solidifying arteries, improper blood circulation, dry and wrinkled skin, listless diaphragm and much more.

Start practicing Pranayama in a clean, bug-free environment especially in the early hours of the day when the energy levels of your body and the nature are at its best. Using aromatic Ayurvedic essential oils with therapeutic values while doing Pranayama can help you serve your health conditions better as it instills a positive sensation while fostering your body to accept the inner power granted by the natural fragrance of these oils. I can sense a ray of hope everyday when I practice Pranayama with the everlasting company of my favorite spiritual oils for fragrance, yes Frankincense essential oil along with Bergamot essential oil. It’s your turn now.

Thought for the day:

Inhale and God approaches you.  Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you.  Exhale, and you approach God.  Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.                                -Krishnamacharya

Suggested Reading:

  1. Light on Pranayama: The Yogic Art of Breathing By B. K. S. Iyengar
  2. Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha/2008 Fourth Revised Edition by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
  3. Moola Bandha: The Master Key by Swami Buddhananda
  4. Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization by Dr. David Frawley

Reference Links:

  1. Pranayama by Wikipedia
  2. Pranayama, Yoga, and Ayurveda by California College of Ayurveda
  3. Normal Respiratory Rate and Ideal Breathing by NormalBreathing.com