Keep Your Cognitive Skills in Check with Ayurveda
As a matter of fact, dementia is the most common senile disease seen in the entire human population.
The term dementia does not signify a single disease by it is an umbrella term that stands for general memory loss and associated functional complaints. It occurs due to atypical brain responses or damages. These changes create a decline in thinking abilities, cognitive involvements severe enough to hamper daily chores and also show drastic effects in feelings, emotions and relationship managements. Of the many diseases within it, Alzhimer’s is the most widely affected trouble.
The cause for dementia is nothing other than damage to brain cells that occur due to different conditions. Brain in its distinct areas are responsible for distinct functions of thinking, memory, communication and others. Thus different types of dementia are due to damage to different areas of neural control. For example in Alzheimer’s disease, the hippocampus of the brain vital for memory and learning is damaged and shows associated complaints in the person. Now the cause for brain damage may occur due to trauma, hemorrhage, lack of sufficient oxygen to the brain cells or even idiopathic.
Signs Symptoms and Treatment
The signs of dementia vary greatly showing short term memory loss, difficulty in paying bills, travelling out of neighbourhood without releasing the change in the surrounding, etc. Sometimes simple tasks like planning and preparing meals can also become difficult for such individuals. Usually the symptoms of dementia is progressive, ie, it starts slowly and gradually worsens. Professionals can easily detect treatable conditions. Even if symptoms suggest dementia, early diagnosis helps the individual to vail maximum benefit from the treatment available.
The treatment for dementia depends on the cause. If the condition is progerssive there is probably no cure, but the symptoms may be controlled. The way of life can be improved even when the symptoms of dementia are worsening. Ultimately the path to effective new treatment is through increased funding and increased involvement in clinical studies.
AYURVEDA AND DEMENTIA
Ayurveda sees all diseases through a different angle from the point of view of Doshas or bodily entities. Of the three entities, the Prana Vata and Sadhaka Pitta entities are responsible for the optimal cognitive abilities of an individual. The Prana establishes the connection between the mind and all the functioning sense faculties, while Sadhaka roots our memory and intelligence based on the knowledge processed from the sense faculties. These factors may be incensed due to certain conditions like trauma or maybe a result of Jara (oldage which is naturally the phase for Vata predominance) to show Smrithi Bramsha or memory loss.
Treatment for Dementia
The general treatment for memory loss involves therapies like Nasya, the nasal administration of medicated oils to Shiro pichu or oil stagnation in the head to further detox therapies and other oral medications depending on the condition and extent of vitiation of the entities. Often methods to ease the mental state of the individual including yoga and pranayama are also involved. Among all the combinations of medicines used there are a few herbs that are given priority for treating cognitive derragements due to its proved Medya property of the ability to enhance the cognitive function and relieve damage caused from it. Even though the complete regeneration of the lost or damaged brain cells may not be achieved, these herbs have considerable power to enhance the function and provide better quality of life for the diminished troubling symptoms.
A few herbs under the category of Medhya are mentioned below
The root of Withania somnifera is a common adaptogenic plant used in Ayurveda. This member of the solanaceae family has a slight sweet taste with cold potency that helps to normalize both Vata and pitta entities. Moreover it also has antistress properties which helps to relieve the brain from any cellular damage if any.
The root of Nardostachys jatamansi is usually administered with other drugs as oil for nasal administration to enhance memory for it has a Prabhava karma or special effects to facilitate cognitive abilities despite the organoleptic parameters being antagonistic to the Vata factor. The root as it is looks like the spinal cord and for this reason it is used in traditional medicines for all brain ailments including most acute and chronic diseases.
The entire succulent herb, Bacopa monnieri is an excellent memory enhancer. It has a bitter taste with hot potency and sharp properties with an astringent metabolic end effect. It normalises all the three entities and provides cognitive betterment especially when administered alongside or infused in ghee.
Another mystic drug whose rhizome has potent ability to enhance memory and intelligence in particular. For its unbelievable potential Acorus calamus is administered to infants to enhance their intelligence. It also has an astringent taste with the same metabolic end effect and hot potency. Despite having properties that vitiate the Pitta entity by theory, that is not the case.
5. Mandukaparni or Centella asiatica
Mandukaparni is a common creeper with Smriti karaka property ( ability to enhance memory). It is one among the Medhya category which has the same characteristics of the above-mentioned drugs but with sweet metabolic end effect and abundantly found in southern india. It also has Prabhava karma for providing memory.
The seed and seed oil of Celastrus paniculata is an exceptional drug that has bitter flavour with sharp piercing properties and special effect of proving intelligence. It is widely used in ayurveda for testing chronic mental illness and has proved to show great results in all lunatic disturbances. While balancing the Vata and Kapha entities it also improves coordination and memory of the affected individual.
Other than the above-mentioned herbs there are many more that provide memory and help restore intellect like Vidari (Embelia ribes), Licorice (Glyzirriza glabra), Shankhpushpi (Clitoria tintora), and others.
The ancient science of ayurveda offers many herbal and herbo-mineral combinations that act on these degenerative processes and establishes a halt. These medications enhance the body to restore its inherent potential to process the system endogenously. While attaining Mental clarity is the primary goal of an individual it is also important to reduce the height of stress that you undergo to absorb the goodness of ayurveda.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an Expert Ayurveda Consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical-based treatments.