Smooth functioning of the brain is vital for a healthy life. Millions of people around the world are affected by neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease. It is estimated that 15% of the population in western countries are affected by one of these diseases.
Despite many advances in the field of medicine no remedy is available yet to combat the situation. Treatment with enzyme inhibitors such as acetylcholine esterase only gives temporary relief. Many herbs are known to contain these inhibitors naturally along with hundreds of other beneficial constituents. They can either prevent the onset of these degenerative diseases or slow down progress of the condition.
Of the hundreds of herbs investigated given below are the top 5 herbs that can be used to maintain good brain health.
Crocus sativus is commonly known as saffron. The stigma of the beautiful flower of this plant is used for medicinal purposes. It is found in Kashmir, and cultivated Spain, Greece, China, Iran and France. Active constituents are reported to be Crocetin, Crocin, Picrocrocin and Safranal.
2. Turmeric or Indian saffron
Curcuma longa, popularly known as turmeric or Indian saffron. Origin South Asia. Cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, China, and Java. Reputed for a wide range of medicinal uses in Ayurveda. Rhizome of this plant is used for medicinal purpose.
Asians use the powder of the rhizome of this herb in preparation of curries. Low occurrence of neurodegenerative diseases among Asians (2%) has been attributed to regular consumption of turmeric by way of curries. Curcumin is regarded as the main active constituent.
3. Evolvulus alsinoides
Evolvulus alsinoides is a small herb with blue flowers. The whole plant is used for medicinal purposes. It is found in India, Sri Lanka and Philippine islands. A widely used medicinal herb in Ayurveda. Reported to be effective against neurodegeneration.
4. Spikenard or Jatamansa
Nardostachys jatamansi is a somewhat rare herb found in the Himalayan region. It is commonly known as Spikenard or Jatamansa. The rhizome of this plant is used for medicinal purposes. Jatamancin is one of the main active constituents. Reported to be highly effective against neurodegenerative diseases.
5. Cinnamon sedge or Sweet flag
Acorus calamus is commonly known as Cinnamon sedge or Sweet flag. This herb is cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Philippine islands, Europe, North America, China and Japan. Rhizome of this plant is used for medicinal purposes.
Prof. Piyasiri Amilasith Yapa
Professor Piyasiri Amilasith Yapa, B.Sc. (Vidyo), Ph.D.(Lond) is an eminent academic and Botanist, served as a Professor in Department of Botany, Univesity of Sri Jayewardenepura. Prof. Yapa was the Head of the Dept. of Botany from 1995 to 1997.
He has published about 90 research papers in local and overseas journals, 8 technical reports, and numerous miscellaneous publications on medicinal plants in print media. Prof. Yapa has authored 14 books, mainly on medicinal plants. The series of books on medicinal plants written by him is very popular.