Just like other organs of the body, the brain needs to be exercised and stimulated in order to keep functioning at peak levels. The brain can be exercised by various activities such as learning a new language, solving puzzles, engaging in new activities, interacting socially. Studies have also shown that even surfing the internet has very beneficial effects on the brain in areas such as language, visual, reading and memory skills as well as working memory and decision-making.
There are also certain herbs prescribed in Ayurvedic medicine that improve various brain functions. Some of the main herbs are:
Bacopa / Brahmi - This herb has been shown to increase protein kinase activity and new protein synthesis, in brain cells connected with long term memory. This has been attributed to Bacosides A and B the main components of this herb. Bacopa helps to improve the intellect and cognition and is considered beneficial in cases of ADD and ADHD. While helping the mind to focus, it also induces a sense of relaxation.
Gotu Kola / Mandukaparni - Several studies have proven this herb's remarkable effects in improving brain functions. Along with Bacopa, Gotu kola is considered a premier herb for stimulating the brain. Binet-Kamat tests showed that Gotu Kola helps to improve focus and attention span.
Winter Cherry / Ashwagandha - Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb that helps both the mind and body. It aids in relaxation which helps to alleviate anxiety and mental duress. Ashwagandha extracts have shown gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-like activity.
Mentat is a herbal ayurvedic formulation composed of the above herbs in addition to 27 other herbs and minerals. It is formulated to boost brain functions, improve memory and concentration while at the same time helping to calm and relax the individual. Mentat can be taken as a daily brain tonic and has also been found in various clinical studies to be beneficial in mental conditions
Read more on Mentat ingredients, benefits and research