Tags: Health Topics | Alzheimer's/Dementia | gotu kola | herb | alzheimers

Ancient Herb May Prevent Alzheimer's

Ancient Herb May Prevent Alzheimer's
(Araya Pacharabandit/Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 23 April 2019 10:38 AM

Gotu kola is an ancient herb that’s been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese and ayurvedic medicine and, according to WebMD, it’s been employed to treat bacterial, viral and even parasitic infections.

The herb, extracted from a creeping vine leaf, has been beneficial in treating anxiety, depression and fatigue but now research shows that it can also boost memory and cognitive function and help stave off the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Experts at Brainpower.org say that the chemicals found in gotu kola reduce inflammation in the body and also help lower blood pressure. This helps increase blood circulation to the brain, enhancing attention span, concentration, intelligence and memory.

The Asians dubbed gotu kola as “the herb of intelligence and longevity” and it’s no surprise that its leaves resemble the human brain. Justin Faerman, a leading expert on herbal medicine who holds a degree in Environmental Science from the University of California, California, says that gotu kola “enhances nearly every aspect of mental functioning.” Faerman, the founder of ConsciousLifestyle Magazine, says the herb doesn’t overly stimulate the nervous system like other brain boosting herbs. Instead, it centers the body, mind and spirit while enhancing cognitive function.

Because the herb is so efficient in enhancing both memory and nerve function, experts say it could be a key supplement to help prevent and even treat Alzheimer’s disease. According to Healthline, a 2012 study revealed that gotu kola extract had a positive effect on behavioral abnormalities of mice who had Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, published in the “International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease,” was conducted by the Department of Neurology, Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

Researchers found that the mice with Alzheimer’s disease which were treated with gotu kola water were able to navigate complex mazes as well as normal rodents. And surprisingly, the older mice performed better than the youngsters.

The ancient herb also has other health benefits for conditions that can affect the development of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Reduces anxiety and stress. Researchers have found that the herb has an anti-anxiety effect and helps reduce oxidative damage to the brain, according to Healthline. The Alzheimer’s Society (UK) says that stress affects the immune system, which is known to play an important role in the development of dementia.
  • Acts as an antidepressant. Participants suffering from generalized anxiety disorder took the herb for 60 days and reported decreased anxiety, stress and depression. Research has shown that individuals who have had significant depression in their lives may be at great risk for developing dementia.
  • Improves circulation and reduces swelling. Gotu kola has been used for centuries to treat varicose veins because it helps reduce water retention and improves circulation to the body. The Alzheimer’s Association says that inadequate blood flow can damage and kill cells anywhere in the body, and since the brain has one of the body’s richest networks of blood vessels, it is especially vulnerable to the ravages of poor circulation. 
  • Eases insomnia. The herb offers a safe and effective alternative to sleep medications to help treat insomnia. A recent study conducted by the National Institutes of Health concluded that insomnia was “associated with a significantly increased risk of all-cause dementia.” Another study demonstrated that sleep disturbances enhance the development of dementia, and insomnia may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Faerman recommends starting with a low dosage of the herb, and choosing a supplement with minimal additives or fillers. While the herb is safe to take long term, Ayurvedic practitioners recommend taking a few days to a week break between periods of extended use.

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Gotu kola is an ancient herb that's been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese and ayurvedic medicine and, according to WebMD, it's been employed to treat bacterial, viral and even parasitic infections.
gotu kola, herb, alzheimers
Tuesday, 23 April 2019 10:38 AM
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