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While Western medicine expects a decline in brain health as we age, Chinese medicine views this as a preventable condition. By living a balance life, we can keep our brain health and our memory sharp. The key things to consider when it comes to cognition is the connection between our Heart and Kidney systems and the strength of our spirit (or shen).
Sea of Marrow
The brain and spinal cord are considered the “sea of marrow” in Chinese medicine. The marrow stores our core energy, vitality, and essence. As this essence declines through aging and stress, our mental faculties decline as well.
Phlegm is considered a pathological substance in the body that can cause minor or major disruptions. When it comes to brain health, a special type of phlegm can veil or cloud the brain, causing brain fog, mental disorders, and memory loss.
Heart and Kidney: Memory and brain health rely upon a healthy relationship between the Heart and Kidney systems. The Heart manages the shen, or spirit. This relates to our vitality and zest for life, the light in our eyes. The Kidneys manage the deep energy of survival and the aging process. Together, these two organ systems work to preserve our intellect, memory, and ability to learn.
Through illness, stress, and lifestyle burdens, this relationship can be strained. The result is poor memory, brain fog, and even conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke.
Common Treatments for Cognitive Decline in Chinese Medicine
Chinese medicine greatly values a healthy, balanced lifestyle to stay healthy. Brain health is no different, and Chinese medicine practitioners often recommend a slower pace of life, exercise, and healthy diet to maintain a sharp mind. Acupuncture is a common treatment for reducing stress, enhancing focus, and preventing memory loss. Acupuncture is also a go-to treatment for improving brain conditions post-stroke, mental health issues, and brain fog.
Chinese herbal formulas can be used to prevent memory loss, enhance brain function, and manage current cognitive disorders. The focus of Chinese herbal medicines is on supporting the Heart and Kidney connection, reducing stress, and encouraging the flow of clear energy to the brain.
Bu Nao Wan: This formula addresses poor memory, lack of focus/concentration, anxiety, insomnia etc… It is a favorite formula of acupuncture students during exam time!
Fu Fang Wu Wei Zi Wan (Co-Schisandra Tablets): This formula encourage mental relaxation and calm. It may help you fall asleep if your mind won’t stop, and to focus when your mind keeps jumping around too much. It also contains vitamin B1 which also helps relaxation and increases focused energy.
Huan Shao Wan: This formula address Kidney yang and blood deficiency with such symptoms as: fatigue, shortness of breath, weaknened knees/lower back, and urinary incontinence. Useful as a longevity tonic as well. Available in tincture form as well.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Capsules: Lion’s mane mushroom is widely renown for its beneficial effects on the brain; it helps with memory and cognition and studies suggest that it also addresses conditions marked by a decline in mental/cognitive ability (such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia). Also available in powder form.
The following are important herbs used in our popular brain health formulas.
He Shou Wu/ Polygonum multiflorum: He shou wu is sometimes called “the black-haired man” for its ability to help prevent early aging. When it comes to brain health, he shou wu is an effective herb to protect the brain and support the Kidneys. Available as teapills or as a liquid tinture.
Wu wei zi/ Schizandra berries: Wu wei zi is an astringent herb that helps to tonify the Heart and Kidney systems. It is known for relaxing reducing stress on the nervous system and can be found in the classic brain tonics Bu Nao Wan and Huan Shao Wan.
Jiao Gu Lan/ Gynostemma pentaphyllum: Jiao gu lan is a special herb to combat the many signs of aging. In addition to protecting the brain, Jiao gu lan also prevents against hair loss, hearing loss, vision loss, and weakened immune function. Available as teapills or as a liquid tincture.
Prioritize your brain health with a balanced lifestyle and preventative Chinese herbal medicine. Shop our collection of Chinese herbal formulas dedicated to enhancing your cognitive health and protecting memory.