Alternative Medicine

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We do not intend the information that we provide here to be used as a diagnostic tool. Do not use it to arrive at or exclude a diagnosis. Our intention in providing information about a psychological-emotional ailment is so you can recognize some of the features of this ailment. Do not use this as a substitute for professional evaluation or professional treatment. If you have a problem, you should first consult a licensed mental health professional to assess the severity of the problem. Try to find a mental health professional who is sympathetic or at least not opposed to the concept of using alternative medicine for psychological-emotional ailments. Then, seek a licensed practitioner for the particular form of alternative therapy, e.g. herbalist, acupuncturist, naturopath, etc. Stay in consultation with the mental health professional to monitor your progress. Traditional psychiatric treatment must be sought if a mental disorder is so severe that the sufferer is suicidal or dangerous to others or his or her ability to function at home or work is severely impaired. Use alternative medicine as a temporary aid to give you the symptomatic relief. As your symptoms are lessened and stress is reduced, learn the coping skills you need. Make appropriate emotional changes. Do not use alternative medicine in lieu of coping skills and emotional education. You must learn how your thoughts, feelings, attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors contribute to your psychological-emotional ailments. Psychological techniques and self-help measures are alluded to, but not discussed in detail in order to keep this presentation brief. Refer to other books, tapes, and magazines to learn about how you can make use of such psychological techniques and self-help measures to benefit you. Make your goal to reach the state of self-sufficiency and self-reliance, that is, that eventually, you will not be needing a traditional medicine specialist, alternative therapist, or a counseling professional. For example, you will have the necessary skills to handle your tendency for depression, anxiety, or addiction.

Causes of memory disturbance

Emotional disorders such as an anxiety or depressive disorder can affect memory and concentration. Many people with age develop arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis is hardening of the arteries. As arteries harden, blood flow to the brain is reduced. Due to the reduced blood flow, the oxygen supply to the blood Brain is reduced. Out of the total oxygen supply to the body, brain alone requires 20 percent of it. When oxygen supply to the brain is reduced, brain efficiency, including that of memory, is also affected. Memory is not necessarily a problem of aging. People normally forget more as they grow older, but only about 10 percent of people in our nation might suffer from true senility or memory-loss disorders. Most memory loss resulting solely from age can be prevented. A study funded by the National Institute on Aging in which a group of people were assessed for 28 years found that many showed no intellectual decline at all, even after they were well into their seventies. Actually, "mature" citizens of today are mentally sharper than those of previous generations, thanks to better nutrition and education. In the ancient China Ginseng was thought to improve understanding and comprehension.In India, Gotu kola has long been used as a brain tonic. There the herb is called "Brahmi," which is translated as "Pertaining to God, or derived from God."Ginkgo is used throughout Europe and the Far East reputation for treating age-related decline in mental functions. In Germany and France ginkgo is widely prescribed as a treatment for age-related mental malfunction, including general dementia and Alzheimer's.

A few relevant research studies

This is not a comprehensive or exhaustive summation of studies on this subject. It is a partial selection of just a few studies. Ginkgo, Ginseng, and Gotu kola are reported to improve mental abilities, including memory, concentration, and alertness. In one study, proofreaders and radio telegraph workers (both must pay close attention to detail in order to be successful in their jobs) made, on average, 50% fewer errors than those who didn't take Ginseng. Ginseng takers also demonstrated quicker reaction time while working under pressure. They also demonstrated faster reading speed and superior concentration.In one study, Russian researchers study gave Siberian ginseng for one to three months to people who suffered brain disorders due to atherosclerosis. A majority of these patients demonstrated memory improvements. Gingko is most widely acknowledged herb for improving memory. According to the studies conducted in Germany and France, ginkgo, after one or two months of consumption helps elderly people to feel more alert, attentive, sociable and less moody, generally. It also improved their reaction time. Ginkgo may increase the brain's ability to use oxygen and thereby improve memory and alertness. In one study, female participants took Gingko one hour before being given a battery of tests showed improvement in their memory performance. The reason for this improvement may be explained by a German study which observed that blood flow increased 57 percent after one hour of taking ginkgo. So Gingko may have an immediate positive effect on memory and attention. Regular and continued use of Ginkgo may be helpful for senior population. In one study it improved brain function, on average, by 72 percent after three months of use by 99 older patients who had suffered brain disturbances for about two years. In another study of 200 patients with an average age of 69 years, with memory problems, 71 percent improved after three months on ginkgo, compared with 32 percent on placebo.Clinical trials with ginkgo biloba indicate that it is beneficial for memory and concentration, absentmindedness, mental confusion, energy loss, tiredness, depression, dizziness, and even tinnitus (ringing in the ears.)r regular use of ginkgo.Currently, research is under way to see if Gingko might help to reverse or stop the progress of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Another herb being studied is the Chinese herb, "club moss," which is supposed to promote circulation and slow the breakdown of acetylcholine. Both functions may have a benefit in the case of AD. The dosage generally used in these studies is 240 mg each day. In 1992, a leading British medical journal, The Lancet, examined forty controlled human studies of ginkgo and concluded that ginkgo was an effective treatment for decreased blood circulation in the brain. The typical effective dose used in the studies: 120 milligrams daily. Improvements were generally noticeable after four to six weeks.Alzheimer's DiseaseGerman investigators at the Free University, Berlin, observed the use of ginkgo on 222 out-patients, over age 55, all diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer-type dementia or dementia caused by a series of mini strokes (multi-infarcts) did better on memory and attention tasks. For six months the patients were given either a dummy pill or a daily dose of 240 milligrams of standardized ginkgo biloba extract, twice a day, before meals.Improvement in memory and attention was about three times better in ginkgo takers than in those on the inactive pills. Results were better after six months of usage compared to that of three months. Side effects were infrequent and minor, such as allergic reaction, upset stomach, or headache of the type related to any drug therapy. There was one incident of stroke which may or may not have been related to ginkgo.Dr. Turan M. Itil, a New York neuropsychiatrist, an international authority on Alzheimer's Disease, measured the brain wave activity of a group of healthy young males, average age thirty-two, after they had taken Ginkgold. An hour after Ginkgold was ingested, alpha brain wave activity increased across the brain. Pharmacological informationGinkgo Biloba is derived from the leaves of the ginkgo tree, an ornamental tree growing in temperate climates. The plant's reputed most active chemicals, the ginkgolides, are generally extracted from the leaves and turned into tablets of various potency. These potent ginkgolieds are unique to the ginkgo tree and are not found anywhere else in nature.

How Does It Work?

Following functions are attributed to the credit of Gingko; 1. Ginkgo is an antioxidant, which may protect cells from damage in the brain, heart, and other organs. 2. Ginkgo discourages blood platelet stickiness, reducing formation of devastating blood clots and plaque buildup. 3. Gingko is anti-inflammatory, which can protect diseased arteries from further damage. 4. Restores the ability of brain cells to transmit and receive signals from neurotransmitters that govern brain activity. 5. Improves blood flow to the brain. 6. Increases glucose (sugar) metabolism in the brain. Glucose is like the energy, the fuel of the brain.

Other claims in behalf of Gingko

Claimed to help ameliorate other neurological problems, such as head trauma, tinnitus of vascular origin, age-related depression, and certain cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia. Ginkgo has also been used to treat such cardiovascular problems as atherosclerosis, varicose veins, intermittent claudication (pain related to poor circulation) and impotence.German urologists claim that Gingko stimulates blood flow through penile arteries promoting erections. In one study, 39 out of 50 men suffering from "arterial erectile impotence" improved after taking 240 milligrams of ginkgo biloba extract daily for nine months. Blood flow to penile arteries generally improved after three months. Twenty men regained spontaneous erections after six months. Nineteen men regained potency when ginkgo was given with certain drug injections. Eleven remained impotent. Recommendation Individuals who develop memory problems in their forties and fifties, and particularly in their sixties and seventies, should consider taking Gingko to reduce the chances of Alzheimer's disease later. Early intervention might help to prevent further brain deterioration.


Frequently tested effective dose for age-related loss of short-term memory is a total of 120 milligrams daily, divided into three doses of 40-milligram pills. However, a higher dose, such as a total of 240 milligrams daily is considered more effective in the cases of dementia. But it's not necessary to take the highest dose right away. One may start with a lower dose and then work up to a higher dose if needed. EffectivenessImprovement in memory is reported to usually occur in four to six weeks. Ginkgo has an instant effect on the brain. It revs up brain wave activity within an hour after it is taken. However, ginkgo's benefits appear to accumulate over time and are greater at six months than at three months in cases of dementia. Dr. Itil also finds that ginkgo stays active in the brain for up to nine hours after a single dose of ginkgo. Ginkgo, in combination with Siberian ginseng and Gotu kola may be even better.


If you have noticed memory disturbances, first consult a doctor. Memory disturbance could be due to other causes, such as depression, grief, or even a brain tumor, that require medical treatment. Do not automatically assume you are suffering age related memory decline therefore you should treat yourself with ginkgo.Mild and reversible side effects, such as upset stomach and headaches reported by one-half of one percent in a study of 8,500 persons. High doses of ginkgo may cause some dizziness at first. If dizziness occurs, common sense dictates that one go to a lower dose and then build up to a higher dose, if indicated. Gingko may act as blood thinner and thus cause some complications. One incident of stroke was reported in one study of elderly patients on 240 mg. dosage which might or might not have been related to Gingko. Two cases have been reported linking ginkgo with increased bleeding behind the eye and in the brain. Since ginkgo increases blood flow, high doses might be contraindicated in those who are on anticoagulant medications or have uncontrolled high blood pressure, bleeding problems or a history of hemorrhage stroke. In such cases take it under medical supervision. Monitor side effects closely. It is not known to be a habit-forming drug.


At the time of writing this, we do not have any commercial interests in any Gingko products. Not all ginkgo has the same potency. Ginkgold may be more potent. Properly standardized Gingko contains 24 percent flavone glycosides and 6 percent trepans.Ginkgold is equal to Egb 761, a standardized ginkgo product, widely tested in Germany and France and approved by the German government for treating the symptoms of vascular and degenerative dementia, including memory deficits and disturbances in concentration, as well as timmitus and intermittent claudication (leg pain from poor circulation). It is also sold in the United States under the brand name Ginkoba, from Pharmaton Natural Health Products.

Memory and brain power boosters as per the alternative medicine

1. Review your food intake. The power of food has not been fully utilized. Make sure you have plenty of supply of foods that are rich in antioxidants. Here are 10 foods that are tops in antioxidants: prunes; raisins; blueberries; blackberries; garlic; cooked kale; cranberries; strawberries, raw spinach and raspberries.2. Fatty acids are considered "brain foods." Fish such as salmon, herring, tuna or sardines are rich in Omega-3. Or, take a spoon or two of ground Flaxseed. The other alternative is to take fish oil 650 mg. daily. 3. Check your vitamins and minerals. A multivitamin and mineral supplement such as "one-a-day," is considered the base. Some say that recommended daily allowance may be enough for survival but it is not good enough for the efficiency of the brain. Here are a few extras additionally recommended by vitamin and mineral advocates for memory, mood and brain efficiency: Vitamin E-400 mg.; Vitamin C 500 mg; Vitamin B-complex (particularly B6) 500 mg.; Selenium 220 mcg.; Folic acid 400 mg.; Lipoic acid 50 mg. and CoQ10 30 mg. 4. Then consider the Gingko Biloba 30 mg. to 240 mg., according to the need of the individual. Frequently tested effective dose for age-related loss of short-term memory is a total of 120 milligrams daily, divided into three doses of 40-milligram pills. However, a higher dose, such as a total of 240 milligrams daily is considered more effective in the cases of dementia. But it's not necessary to take the highest dose right away. One may start with a lower dose and then work up to a higher dose if needed. 5. Some recommend adding Ginseng, Gotu Kola and even Phosphatidyl Serine (PS) 100-300 mg.


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