Cognitive Spark

For intellectual fatigue, herbs can be a great help

There are times when the brain turns to mush, thought processes slow to a crawl, memory is punctured with holes, and our neurons seem to be disappearing faster than we can think. It does not mean that dementia is just around the corner or that we are on the final stretch. Age, stress, overwork, exhaustion and pregnancy can slow cognitive functions down but take heart, there are many ways to put some ardour and youth back into your brain: physical activity, contact with nature, healthy diet, slowing down and tonic herbs.

Here are a few tonic herbs of the nervous system. Each one helps us tolerate stress in its own way. They can be taken together or combined with other plants that are tailored to your personal needs.

Green oats is the nerve tonic of choice. It brings nutrients that specifically nourish the nervous system, making it calmer. It is used mainly as an herb tea, taken one litre a day for many weeks. It can be made into a very concentrated tea and drunk hot, warm, cold or on ice.

Holy basil is aromatic and delicious. It can be taken as a tea, a tincture or chai (with green tea and spices). It improves concentration and memory, helps think clearly and dissipates mental fog. It helps pinpoint actions to take and paths to follow.

Ashwagandha gives mental energy when the body is exhausted, too tired to think clearly. It gives the courage to think things through and act even when the most basic logic seems out of reach. Its taste is peculiar and many prefer to take it in capsules or as an extract. Use according to recommended dose, as needed.

Rhodiola, also called Pink root, is a Nordic plant which reduces mental fatigue, increases resistance to stress, improves concentration and attention span. It also protects the immune system and keeps us healthy in times of stress. Its active principles are more readily dissolved in alcohol than in water so it is most efficient as a tincture.

Eleuthero comes from Siberia. What better herb to help us through hard times? Eleuthero, also called Siberian ginseng, increases stamina, reflexes, visual and auditory acuity. It increases our attention to details and is a wonderful ally when accomplishing meticulous and high-precision tasks and helps meet deadlines without getting irritated or worn out.

Nettles helps maintain a constant effort, both physical and mental, to accomplish lengthy tasks without getting exhausted. Taken as a tea every day brings minerals to the body and replenishes its energy. Like oats, it is taken regularly, one litre a day for many weeks.

Herbs are precious allies to help us overcome the pitfalls strewn across our path. Taken regularly over long periods, these herbs bring calm and strength that help us dedramatize challenges and go forward with serenity.

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