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Alternatively Speaking: Finding focus
By NATALIE MARX
Alternative medicine enthusiast Natalie Marx answers your questions: Any herbs that can help help me to concentrate?
Q. Dear Natalie, I am in my final year
of law school and I am finding it hard to concentrate on my studying.
Are there any herbs that can help with focusing the mind to concentrate?
A. Indeed there are some wonderful herbs which help
improve our performance in tasks such as our mental concentration and
focus. Both the Asian and American Ginseng are popular for their ability
to improve energy and vitality especially with regard to mental focus.
Ginseng has been proven to improve thinking and learning
levels. Many claim they have had fantastic results using ginseng for
memory and when doing mental arithmetic. I recommend adults to take 200
mg of a standardized extract between 1 to 3 times per day.
are a variety of essential oils which you can use whilst studying to
help improve your mental performance and increase concentration. Try
burning eucalyptus, peppermint, or rosemary as essential oils and you
will find that they will provide mental stimulation. This stimulation
process happens as the healing essences of the oil enter your limbic
system, thereby producing vitality to the mind. You can use an oil
burner as you study.
Perhaps one of the most common and oldest
natural cures for poor concentration is Gingko Biloba. Gingko is
particularly known for its ability to improve cognitive function. I
recommend a minimum dose of 240mg per day. For a more mild effect, you
can find Gingko Biloba in many sports drinks and energy bars in any good
health food store.
Many of my patients have found that not only
their cognitive function, but also their mood has benefited from B
vitamins. In 1996 a study made at Tufts University showed that those
(males between the ages of 54 and 81) associated with a poorer memory
had lower vitamin B12 and folate concentrations. Folic acid (vitamin B9)
also aids in the production of red blood cells, thereby improving
mental clarity. Finally, Coenzyme Q10 works to shield the nerves, speed
up the metabolism and helps maintain mental health. Significant research
is being made into using more Coenzyme Q10 in the treatment of
Q. Shalom Natalie.
Ever since I was made redundant (a few months ago) I have been
experiencing panic attacks. Are there any natural alternatives you can
offer to help? Thank you so much.
A. Many herbal
supplements and vitamins can strengthen our immune systems, making our
body’s stronger in times of stress. If you suffer from overwhelming
panic attacks then the following herbs are specifically indicated and
work to significantly reduce nervous excitability and mental over
- The root of the Kava Kava plant when diluted is
commonly used to treat a combination of nervous disorders including
panic attacks, insomnia and anxiety. The standard dose is 150 to 300 mg,
one to three times per day. It's recommended not to take this herb for
more than three months at a time.
- Valerian Root is usually
taken as an aid for those battling with insomnia and when taken in high
doses can help induce sleep. Therefore, I recommend taking it in lower
doses for effective use against panic attacks. Valerian Root works to
calm the racing mind and reduce nervous excitability. You can take
Valerian Root as a tea as and when needed.
- A less common but
magical herb to consider is Lemon Balm. Used as a relaxant it calms
nerves, reducing heart palpitations and even lowers blood pressure. You
can take 300 to 500 mg, two-three times per day.
Lavender can be
taken as a tea, spice or even inhaled as an essential oil. Lavender
promotes relaxation by calming and soothing the nerves. Although I have
not focused on nutrition to help relieve anxiety, it's important to
mention that both Calcium and Magnesium are necessary in supporting the
nervous system. They can be taken in supplement form and are found in
all good health stores.
Natalie, I recently gave birth and have been suffering from postpartum
depression; uncontrollable bouts of crying with no energy to see or
speak with anyone. My family are beginning to get concerned. I do not
like taking pills, therefore are there any aromatherapy oils that you
can suggest that will help lift me from this depression?
Aromatherapy can be extremely effective at reducing postpartum
depression. You can begin by enjoying a warm bath with a mix of four
drops of jasmine, clary sage oil, ylang-ylang, or bergamot. As you soak
in the bath for 15 to 20 minutes you will notice the essential oils
begin to soothe your nerves and also uplift you.
For those days
when you simply don’t have time to indulge with a bath, drop some of the
essential oils onto a moist sponge and rub over your body, inhaling
deeply whilst doing so. The same can be done by lighting scented candles
around your home.
I have some new mothers who have placed
aromatherapy sachets in their wardrobes and under their pillows at
night. Other useful uplifting aromatherapy oils to note are sandalwood,
lavender and citrus, each providing a calming yet positive effect. The
essential oil Neroli is particularly noted for its rejuvenating and
uplifting qualities. This flower from the orange tree has the ability to
brighten both your mood and your home when used in an oil burner.
not treat yourself to an aromatherapy massage? The benefits of a
massage for the mind and body are endless as it helps reduce tension in
the body and peace of mind as you inhale the healing aromatherapy oils.
Someone Once Said: "He who enjoys good health is rich, though he knows it not."
- Italian Proverb
This column is
brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise
is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments.
column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific
medical conditions. For more information about specific problems,
please contact a doctor.
Ask Natalie: If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer then email Natalie with your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.
runs a clinic both in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem offering a wide range of
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