Sunday, December 25, 2016

Brahmi-The Amazing Ayurvedic Brain Tonic

Brain tonic sounds a little strange and a bit of an over sell.  By way of background, the name of this herb is derived in Ayurveda for the highest state of consciousness, one of unity and of God.

Back here on earth,  brahmi (centella asiatica) is one of the most powerful brain remedies in the Ayurvedic 'pharmacy.' Interestingly, the leaf of the brahmi plant resembles the cerebellum and is used to promote memory and intelligence, to relax the central nervous system, to support restful sleep, to calm emotional turbulence and to improve concentration and alertness.  Brahmi is used in many traditional herbal formulations to aid the mental component that is so necessary for holistic health.

Recent studies show that hidden in the walls of the digestive system is a second brain.  Specifically, this 'brain' is the enteric nervous system (ENS), which is composed of  two thin layers of close to 100 million nerve cells that line the gastrointestinal tract from esophagus to rectum. This brain has powerful links between digestion, mood and health.  Its main role is to control all aspects of digestion, from swallowing to the release of enzymes that break down food and the circulation that helps with nutrient absorption to elimination,

For decades, it was thought that anxiety and depression contributed to digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome and weak digestion. However, studies are showing that it may be the other way around,  Irritation in the gastrointestinal system sends distress signals to the central nervous system that triggers mood changes.  This explains why people with bowel and digestion issues tend to be disproportionately more depressed and anxious, seeming to develop more of theses mental problems when the bowel and digestion issues continue or worsen.

Brahmi's therapeutic reach is beyond the mind.  Ayurveda teaches that brahmi supports healthy skin, lymph and circulatory functions. In particular, Brahmi seems to balance the inner skin that lines the digestive tract.  Healthy skin in the digestive tract supports healthy microbes, which aid in the production of neurotransmitters, which supports a healthy mood and cognitive function.

While modern science has recently connected digestive health to mind and emotional health, Ayurveda knew the connection many, many years ago.

Stay healthy & well,

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