Memory entails retention of the knowledge of an event and the power to recall. There are some 600 million nerve cells in the brain united together with numberless fibres into countless combinations, which constitute the memory. The fibres connecting the cells are known as association fibres. They usually provide the link between two objects and their knowledge. Sound memory depends on the rational grouping of ideas of things in the mind, so that one may call upon the other.
The man who ponders most over the occurrences of his daily life will have the best memory. But no training will make up for a deficiency of nerve cells and association fibres, which are in born characteristics.
Causes and Symptoms
Memory may be impaired by concussion of the brain or by certain diseases. Old age or senile degeneration of the brain and its cells may lead to loss of memory. Some of the common causes and symptoms of memory loss are:
Depression and Stress: The more people are depressed and stressed, the more they will be diverted from their focus and attention which eventually leads to memory loss. When someone is anxious or tensed, his mind is over-stimulated or distracted and the consequence of such condition affects one's ability to remember.
Sleep Deprivation: Adequate sleep is very important for the enhancement of health and memory. Getting too little sleep or waking frequently in the night can lead to fatigue which interferes with the ability to consolidate and retrieve information.
Head Injury: Temporary loss of memory, in which the patient forgets even his own identity, may be the result of a head injury. Head injury can cause both short and long term memory losses. These instances are, however, multiplied in film and fiction more than in reality.
Smoking: Excessive smoking can lead to memory loss. It harms the memory by reducing the amount of oxygen that gets to the brain.
Nutritional Deficiency: Lack of vitamin B1 and B12 can affect memory.
Medicines and Prescriptions:
Ayurveda has remedies, which can improve the power of retention and recall of events. Recalling is the essential work of memory and Ayurveda try to improve it. The herb Brahmi is popularly used for improvement of memory. Its varieties, Matsyaksi or Bacopa monnieri and Mandukaparni or Centella asiatica, are equally useful in promoting memory. An ounce of the juice of the plants is given to the patient on an empty stomach twice daily. Brahmi is boiled in cow milk ghee and the ghee attains the qualities inherent in the drug. A teaspoonful of the ghee is given twice daily to the patient on an empty stomach. If he is emaciated, the medicine is given with a glass of warm milk and sugar.
Another remedy commonly used in cases of weak memory is the root of Vacha. One teaspoonful of the powdered root of the plant is given twice daily with honey and cow's milk. Almond oil and preserve of amla are also useful.
Diet and Other Regimen:
According to research, the brain gobbles up around 20 percent of daily calorie intake. Therefore, a nourishing diet with lots of fruits and vegetables should be taken as a brain-healthy diet can help in keeping the memory and intellect sharp. Consuming seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as healthy fats from fish, nuts and whole grains is helpful for the memory. At the same time, avoiding saturated fats and junk food is also important.
The patient should remain free of worry and live amidst pleasant surroundings and companionship. According to yogic procedures, meditation for some time also helps in improving the memory. Another important remedy can be mentioned as to memorize long poems. By doing this the patient will get tremendous result.
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