Memory herb and natural pills review, herbal supplements, foods, fruits, vegetables, berries and plants that improve memory function, how to avoid medications that rob you of your cognitive abilities and make you lose your memory power
There are quite a number of natural pills, vitamins, herbs, herbal extracts,
nutritional supplements and
formulas that are promoted to enhance memory and cognitive function. Do these
natural products work? Are they effective?
Is there any research that supports the claims made by promoters of these pills?
Plants and their constituents with pharmacological activities have been studied
as a treatment for cognitive disorders, including enhancement of cholinergic
function in the central nervous system, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
This article reviews the latest studies with these memory herbs and herbal products and provides an unbiased evaluation of their benefits and side effects.
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List of potential herbs and nutrients that could help
enhance cognitive function
CDP Choline is quite potent
Trimethylglycine and its cousin DMG
Hormones over the counter that could be of help
Berries help with cognitive function
Recent advances in berry supplementation and age-related cognitive decline.
Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2009. USDA-ARS, Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Berry fruit supplementation has continued to demonstrate efficacy in reversing age-related cognitive decline in animal studies. In terms of the mechanisms behind the effects of berries on the central nervous system, recent studies have demonstrated the bioavailability of berry polyphenols in several animal models. These studies have revealed that flavonoids and polyphenols from berries do accumulate in the brain following long-term consumption. Berries can influence cell-signaling cascades both in vivo and in cell culture systems. These studies underscore the developing theory that berries and antioxidant-rich foods may be acting as more than just oxygen radical neutralizers in the aging central nervous system. Antioxidant-rich berries consumed in the diet can positively impact learning and memory in the aged animal. This effect on cognition is thought to be due to the direct interaction of berry polyphenols with aging neurons, reducing the impact of stress-related cellular signals and increasing the capacity of neurons to maintain proper functioning during aging.
Memory herbs and plants used in China
In traditional practices of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, numerous plants have been used to treat cognitive disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Many drugs currently available in Western medicine were originally isolated from plants, or are derived from templates of compounds isolated from plants. Some anticholinesterase alkaloids isolated from plants have been investigated for their potential in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, and are now in clinical use. Galantamine, isolated from several plants including Lycoris radiata herb, which was used in traditional Chinese medicine, is used for the treatment of mild to moderate AD. Various other plant species, including ginkgo biloba, have shown pharmacological activities relevant to the treatment of cognitive disorders, indicating potential for therapeutic use in disorders such as AD.
Human studies with natural memory herbs
Bacopa monnieri is an herb from India and used by Ayurvedic doctors for
Gingko Biloba is a popular memory herb. This supplement improves blood circulation in the brain.
Huperzine A study
Huperzine A is an alkaloid isolated from the Chinese herb Huperzia serrata. It is a potent, highly specific and reversible inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase. Compared with tacrine, donepezil, and rivastigmine, it has better penetration through the blood-brain barrier, higher oral bioavailability, and longer duration of acetylcholinesterase inhibitory action. Huperzine A has been found to improve cognitive deficits in a broad range of animal models. It possesses the ability to protect cells against hydrogen peroxide, beta-amyloid protein (or peptide), glutamate, and apoptosis. These protective effects are related to its ability to attenuate oxidative stress, upregulate nerve growth factor and its receptors, and interfere with amyloid precursor protein metabolism. Pharmacokinetic studies in rodents, canines, and healthy human volunteers indicate that it is absorbed rapidly, distributed widely in the body, and eliminated at a moderate rate with the property of slow and prolonged release after oral administration. Animal and clinical safety tests showed that Huperzine A has little or toxicity, particularly the dose-limiting hepatotoxicity induced by tacrine. clinical trials in China have demonstrated that Huperzine A improves memory deficits in elderly people with benign senescent forgetfulness, and patients with Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia, with minimal peripheral cholinergic side effects and no unexpected toxicity.
Pinus radiata bark extract, Enzogenol
Improved cognitive performance after dietary supplementation with a Pinus radiata bark extract formulation.
Phytother Res. 2008; Brain Sciences Institute, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia.
Studies have demonstrated an improvement in age-related cognitive impairment in animals after supplementation with plant extracts containing flavonoids but there are few human studies. This double-blind, controlled study examined the effects on cognitive performance of a 5 week supplementation with Enzogenol Pinus radiata bark extract containing flavonoids, in 42 males aged 50-65 years. The findings suggest a beneficial effect of supplementation with Enzogenol on cognition in older individuals.
Human studies with natural memory pills
Cryptotanshinone, a compound from Salvia miltiorrhiza modulates amyloid precursor protein metabolism and attenuates beta-amyloid deposition through upregulating alpha-secretase in vivo and in vitro.
Neurosci Lett. 2009.
Cryptotanshinone, an active component of the medicinal herb Salvia miltiorrhiza, has been shown to improve learning and memory in several pharmacological models of Alzheimer's disease and promotes amyloid precursor protein metabolism toward the non-amyloidogenic products pathway in rat cortical neuronal cells.
Repeated administration of fresh garlic increases memory retention in rats.
J Med Food. 2008. Neurochemistry and Biochemical Neuropharmacology Research Unit, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is regarded as both a food and a medicinal herb. Increasing attention has focused on the biological functions and health benefits of garlic as a potentially major dietary component. Chronic garlic administration has been shown to enhance memory function. Evidence also shows that garlic administration in rats affects brain serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]) levels. 5-HT, a neurotransmitter involved in a number of physiological functions, is also known to enhance cognitive performance. The present study was designed to investigate the probable neurochemical mechanism responsible for the enhancement of memory following garlic administration. Sixteen adult locally bred male albino Wistar rats were divided into control and test groups. The test group was orally administered 250 mg/kg fresh garlic homogenate, while control animals received an equal amount of water daily for 21 days. Our results demonstrate that the memory-enhancing effect of garlic may be associated with increased brain 5-HT metabolism in rats. The results further support the use of garlic as a food supplement for the enhancement of memory.
Protective effects of gastrodia elata on aluminium-chloride-induced learning impairments and alterations of amino acid neurotransmitter release in adult rats.
Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2008.
High brain levels of aluminum can be neurotoxic and cause learning and memory deficits. Gastrodia elata is a Chinese herb widely used for improving mental function in traditional Chinese medicine. We measured changes in aluminum-induced neurotransmitter alteration and performance on a learning and memory task to elucidate the mechanism of aluminum toxicity and to assess whether these alterations could be attenuated by Gastrodia elata. Rats exposed to alluminum suffer from deficits in learning and memory, accompanied by increases in GABA levels in the neocortex.
Protective effects of icariin on cognitive deficits induced by chronic cerebral hypoperfusion in rats.
Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2009.
Icariin is a major constituent of flavonoids derived from a Chinese medical herb, Epimedium revicornum. The aim of this study was to investigate whether icariin has protective effects on the learning ability and memory in a rat model of chronic cerebral hypoperfusion. Our studies indicate icariin protects against cognitive deficits induced by chronic cerebral hypoperfusion in rats. These effects appear to be mediated through its antioxidant effects and its effects on circulation and cholinergic systems.