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Absentmindedness and forgetfulness are quite common in our day-to-day activities. Keeping things in the wrong places, lost in thought and unaware of one's surroundings, unable to recall a memory etc., are some examples.
Having a weak memory can be worrisome and frustrating. The most common causes are lack of sleep, alcohol, stress and anxiety, depression, underactive thyroid, smoking, nutritional deficiencies, and certain medications.
To fix these general memory problems, try some of these natural remedies and make lifestyle changes.
Natural Remedies To Improve Your Memory
1. Asian ginseng
Asian ginseng has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for improving memory and delaying ageing respectively. Asian ginseng contains an active component called ginsenoside which elevates internal antioxidant enzymes and decreases brain cell damage.
Research studies have shown that ginsenosides can protect the brain cells and prevent neurodegeneration, thereby improving memory  .
Note: Speak to your doctor before consuming Asian ginseng as it interferes with other medications.
2. Coconut oil
Virgin coconut oil enhances memory and cognitive function and also charges up your brain cells  . Apart from this, coconut oil lowers cholesterol, boosts energy and improves skin and hair health.
- Add virgin coconut oil into your smoothies or salads.
- You can also consume 1 teaspoon of virgin coconut oil twice a day.
3. Nigella seeds
Nigella seeds, also called kalonji seeds, have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuron-protecting properties. According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 500 mg nigella seeds powder capsules when taken daily improved cognition, memory and attention span  .
- Take half a teaspoon of ground nigella seeds and mix it with a little honey. Consume this mixture twice a day.
4. Fish oil
Fish is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids that play a major role in brain function. Omega 3 fatty acids get accumulated in the brain's hippocampus where it boosts synaptic transmission. The memory cells are able to communicate and transmit messages more easily due to high levels of omega 3 fatty acids.
- A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found an association between omega 3 fatty acids and cognitive functioning in middle-aged adults  .
- Either take fish oil supplements or eat fatty fishes like mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna.
Amla or Indian gooseberry is used in Ayurvedic medicine to enhance memory power and strengthen the nervous system. According to a 2007 study, amla has memory enhancing properties, cholesterol-lowering properties and exhibits anticholinesterase activity  .
- Consume one to three teaspoons of amla powder thrice a day.
Turmeric contains a polyphenolic compound called curcumin which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin increases the expression of enzymes which destroy beta-amyloid proteins. A build-up of beta-amyloid proteins interferes with communication between cells causing poor memory.
A research study has shown that curcumin has the ability to lower oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain which is linked to weakened memory  .
- Add turmeric in your food and to increase the bioavailability of curcumin add ground black pepper.
Brahmi is an Ayurvedic herb which is known to have antioxidant and neuroprotective effects. Brahmi can help improve word recall memory and lower depression and anxiety, according to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine  .
- Have one to two teaspoons of brahmi leaves juice twice or thrice a day.
Rosemary is a herb which improves prospective memory and enhances cognitive function, according to a study conducted by the researchers of the University of Northumbria in England  . Prospective memory means the ability to remember a planned action in the future.
- Breathe the aroma of rosemary essential oil.
- You can also steep a sprig of fresh rosemary in a cup of boiling water for 5 minutes.
- Strain it and drink it for a few weeks.
Honey possesses nootropic effects, such as memory-enhancing effects, as well as neuropharmacological activities, such as anti-depressant, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, and antinociceptive activities. Research studies show that honey improves memory and concentration  .
- Have two tablespoons of honey twice a day.
10. Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo biloba, also known as maidenhair tree contains compounds like terpene trilactones and flavonoids. These compounds improve oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain, protect against neurodegenerative diseases, and promote healthy growth of neural connections  .
Note: Consult a doctor before having ginkgo biloba extract as it interferes with certain medications.
Ways To Boost Memory
- Eat foods rich in vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc, folic acid, and vitamin C.
- Avoid the consumption of saturated fats.
- Practice brain exercises like doing a crossword puzzle or a sudoku puzzle.
- Get regular physical activity, avoid stress and sleep well.
-  Nie, B. M., Yang, L. M., Fu, S. L., Jiang, X. Y., Lu, P. H., & Lu, Y. (2006). Protective effect of panaxydol and panaxynol on sodium nitroprusside-induced apoptosis in cortical neurons.Chemico-biological interactions,160(3), 225-231.
-  Rahim, N. S., Lim, S. M., Mani, V., Abdul Majeed, A. B., & Ramasamy, K. (2017). Enhanced memory in Wistar rats by virgin coconut oil is associated with increased antioxidative, cholinergic activities and reduced oxidative stress.Pharmaceutical biology,55(1), 825–832.
-  Sayeed, M. S. B., Asaduzzaman, M., Morshed, H., Hossain, M. M., Kadir, M. F., & Rahman, M. R. (2013). The effect of Nigella sativa Linn. seed on memory, attention and cognition in healthy human volunteers.Journal of Ethnopharmacology,148(3), 780-786.
-  Muldoon, M. F., Ryan, C. M., Sheu, L., Yao, J. K., Conklin, S. M., & Manuck, S. B. (2010). Serum phospholipid docosahexaenonic acid is associated with cognitive functioning during middle adulthood.The Journal of nutrition,140(4), 848-853.
-  Vasudevan, M., & Parle, M. (2007). Memory enhancing activity of Anwala churna (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.): an Ayurvedic preparation.Physiology & behavior,91(1), 46-54.
-  Rajasekar, N., Dwivedi, S., kumar Tota, S., Kamat, P. K., Hanif, K., Nath, C., & Shukla, R. (2013). Neuroprotective effect of curcumin on okadaic acid induced memory impairment in mice.European journal of pharmacology,715(1-3), 381-394.
-  Calabrese, C., Gregory, W. L., Leo, M., Kraemer, D., Bone, K., & Oken, B. (2008). Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.),14(6), 707–713.
-  Moss, M., Cook, J., Wesnes, K., & Duckett, P. (2003). Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults.International Journal of Neuroscience,113(1), 15-38.
-  Mijanur Rahman, M., Gan, S. H., & Khalil, M. (2014). Neurological effects of honey: current and future prospects.Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine,2014.
-  Amieva, H., Meillon, C., Helmer, C., Barberger-Gateau, P., & Dartigues, J. F. (2013). Ginkgo biloba extract and long-term cognitive decline: a 20-year follow-up population-based study.PloS one,8(1), e52755.