By Michelle Fletcher, B.A.
We struggle with it every day, remembering Aunt Ella's birthday, when to pick up the kids from soccer practice, or even why you walked into the kitchen (what did I come in here for?). We've all been there, time and time again, struggling with memory.
For most, these small hiccups cannot be blamed solely on aging. Often stress, anxiety, and preoccupation with powerful issues or problems can imbalance the mind and body, making simple tasks such as memory more difficult. Problems with memory often boil down to an inability to concentrate.
Rather than purchasing trademarked "memory boosters" from health food stores that claim to improve focus and concentration, try fixing the problem at its source by treating memory problems with pure herbs. Many of these herbal remedies have been used for thousands of years, and can help promote concentration, focus and overall wellbeing.
Gingko Biloba is the most famous of memory-enhancing supplements. Some doctors claim that this humble herb can help alleviate symptoms in Alzheimer's patients-for limited periods of time-and also help improve circulation. A study at the Martin Luther King Jr.- Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles reported gingko's positive effects upon improving memory and overcoming dementia. "All but one of the 40 controlled trials of ginko extracts in the treatment of dementia found clinically significant improvement in memory loss, concentration, fatigue, and depressed mood. A recent well-designed multicenter study showed significantly less decline in cognitive function among patients with dementia revealing gingko." This herb is versatile, and readily-available in the form of supplements teas, and multivitamins.
The rest of the world has jumped on the bandwagon in gingko research, supporting its claims for aiding memory and concentration, among other benefits. A study at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel-Hashomer, Ramat-Gan reports that, "In clinical trials the gingko extract has shown a significant improvement in symptoms such as memory loss, difficulties in concentration, fatigue, anxiety, and depressed mood."
Although ginkgo gets a lot of the credit for improving memory, a host of other herbs have also been shown to have positive effects on cognition. A Bulgarian study reports that, "The favorable effects on learning and memory of the combination of Panax ginseng plus Gingko biloba and the other pharmacological activities inherent in the extracts characterize this combination, offered as Gincosan as a particularly promising drug in geriatric practice." Another European study similarly found that, "Ginseng at appropriate doses improves learning, memory and physical capabilities." Ginseng can be taken as a vitamin supplement in capsules, or even brewed fresh in a tea. Like gingko biloba, it is available at most drugstores and health food stores.
Incorporating these powerful herbs into your diet may help stimulate concentration, focus, and help you remember just why you started reading this article.