Integrative or adjuvant therapy plays a significant role in treatment. dementia. It contributes to a more rapid and lasting effect of the main course of treatment, and also some of its methods give the patient moral satisfaction and aesthetic pleasure, create a feeling of inner harmony. This article will discuss some of these medicinal plants and their components used for the treatment of demented patients.
Reliable scientific data on medicinal plants
Ginkgo biloba used in medicine for a thousand years. The scientific literature often mentions that Ginkgo biloba has a beneficial effect on people with dementia, and may also be useful as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (an enzyme involved in the transmission of nerve impulses) eg, donepezil (aricept). You must carefully consider the course of treatment before prescribing this drug. You can not use the drugs of this plant, if you have a hypersensitivity to the family Ginkgoaceae. An allergic reaction may also occur if it occurs on mango peel, poison ivy, oak, and cashew. Due to the increased risk of bleeding, do not use anticoagulants (aspirin, warfarin). If surgery is to be performed, then two weeks before it is necessary to stop taking Ginkgo. Patients should be very careful, as its seeds are poisonous. This plant can cause skin irritation and itching. It should not be prescribed in additional doses during pregnancy or breastfeeding. In several clinical trials, evidence was obtained that Ginkgo has a positive effect on cerebral insufficiency syndrome. It is believed that this syndrome is due to a decrease in blood flow to the brain due to blockage of blood vessels by atherosclerotic plaques. In this disease, patients experience decreased attention, confusion, confusion, decreased physical performance, increased fatigue, headache, dizziness, depression and anxiety. Some scientists have suggested that Ginkgo relieves these symptoms significantly. But before making an unequivocal conclusion, this fact must be repeatedly confirmed by qualitative research.
Sage It has long been proposed as a possible drug to improve memory and cognitive abilities. An experimental treatment was carried out with this plant, which gave good results. But more research is needed to confirm these findings and determine the optimal doses. Contraindications to its use is allergy or hypersensitivity to various types of sage and, in general, to the family Lamiaceae (mint). People with hypertension (high blood pressure) should appoint it with great care. Also, the essential oils of sage or its infusion is undesirable to prescribe to patients with epilepsy, pregnant and lactating women.
Estimated scientific data
Bacopa monnieri, or rather, the extract of its leaves, also called “Brahmi”, is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine (traditional indian healing) to strengthen memory, relieve pain and treat epilepsy. Although this plant’s extract has been used for a long time in Ayurveda, there is not a single high-quality clinical trial that proves its positive pharmacological effect. Two methodically weak experiments found evidence that Bacopa has a positive effect on human cognitive functions. However, in order to prescribe this drug, better and more independent research is needed. Bacopa may interact with medications such as calcium channel blockers (used for arrhythmias and high blood pressure), thyroid preparations, phenytoin (dilantin) and drugs that are processed in the liver. Use with great care along with medications that are exposed to the enzyme. Cytochrome P450, and with sedatives. It is also undesirable to prescribe this medicine during pregnancy and hypersensitivity to Bacopa Monnieri and to substances in its composition or to any member of the family. Srcophulariaceae (nornicles).
Inaccurate scientific data
Auxiliary treatment of people with AIDS-dementia complex also includes some treatment methods, the effectiveness of which is ambiguous.
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA). Initially, the effect of ALA was studied in experimental treatment of cognitive disorders provoked by nerve fiber damage in patients with HIV infection. However, at the moment, the effect of this substance is not scientifically proven and requires additional research. Do not use this medication for allergies to it, for diabetes and thyroid disease, with a deficiency of thiamine and alcoholism, and, of course, during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Astragalus, If you believe the few clinical trials available, you can improve the mental performance of children with low IQ. But it must be remembered that this plant was used as part of a combination therapy, and it is difficult to attribute any one of the common effects to it. Accordingly, we need more reliable data on the effect of Astragal on the body. It also cannot be used if asthma attacks or astragalus, peas, and other related plants have appeared in the past. In the appointment of this plant should exclude the use of aspirin, herbs or food with a similar effect. Astragalus is contraindicated in the presence of an inflammatory process in the body, with fever, after a stroke, organ transplantation and in the case of the development of autoimmune diseases (HIV AIDS). Stop taking the drug two weeks before and after the upcoming surgery, visiting the dentist or conducting diagnostic procedures with the risk of bleeding. You should not risk if you have a blood clotting disorder, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, lipid metabolism and kidney disease.
Ayurvedic Herbs widely used in India for various diseases. According to some reports, these herbs can improve memory and mental abilities in adults. Other researchers suggest that herbal medicine Maharishi Amrit Kalash (IAC) can restore the attention and vigilance of an elderly person, and thus negate some of the negative aspects of aging.
Ayurvedic herbs should be used with extreme caution, as they have a very strong effect, and some of their constituent substances can be harmful if used in large doses and for a long period of time. Some herbs imported from India are reported to contain high levels of toxic metals. These herbal preparations can interact with other herbs, medicines, and nutritional supplements. Before use, consult a qualified physician. It is undesirable to prescribe these herbs for peptic ulcer and asthma. During the course of treatment, avoid ingestion of acidic foods, milk, alcohol and heavy physical exercise. Ayurvedic herbs can adversely affect the body in traumatic injuries, acute pain in the latter stages of the disease and in the presence of surgical interventions.
Beta carotene – It is an antioxidant that positively affects the human intellectual development. Upon receipt of this drug in the body for a long time, there is a positive growth of cognitive functions and memory improvement. Do not use if there is hypersensitivity to beta-carotene, vitamin A or any other products containing these substances.
Black tea. Some preliminary studies have shown that caffeine, tea and coffee improve short-term and long-term memory. It remains unclear whether tea is beneficial in these conditions. There is conflicting evidence that drinking black tea can improve mental performance, attention, and the ability to absorb new information. Black tea contains a very strong stimulant – caffeine. Some people may have an allergic reaction to caffeine or tannins. There may also be a skin rash or urticaria. People suffering from diabetes, the use of black tea is harmful. Caffeine abuse during pregnancy may increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Very high doses of this substance potentiate the appearance of congenital developmental abnormalities in children. In addition, caffeine is passed to the baby through breast milk, which leads to sleep disturbance (insomnia, anxiety). It is known that babies who daily receive 500 mg of caffeine with their mother’s milk have heart rhythm disorders. Regular consumption of tea causes anemia in children, an iron metabolism and irritability.
Cranberry. Its juice can generally improve memory and other intellectual abilities of a person. A series of well-planned clinical trials are needed to confirm this putative effect. It is best to use sugarless cranberry juice. Doctors recommend drinking 100% juice.
Cranberry is contraindicated in allergies to it, blueberries and other plants of the species. Vaccinium. Sweet cranberry juice can increase the blood sugar level of diabetics. Use caution in the presence of kidney stones and do not abuse during pregnancy.
Ginseng. Its mechanism of action is not well understood and is under study. According to a few studies herbal, which includes ginseng, can be effective in dementia with a variety of clinical manifestations. In addition, the use of ginseng has a positive effect on intellectual activity, logic, ability to concentrate attention, learn and solve mathematical problems. Improvements have been observed in healthy young people as well as in aged people. It is reported that when using ginseng with Ginkgo Biloba, the effect is increased several times. Although, the risk of negative consequences is not excluded. Therefore, doctors recommend not to abuse this herbal preparation and, best of all, to conduct several short courses of treatment with a moderate improvement in mental performance. You need to abandon ginseng therapy if you have had an allergy to it or other plants from the Araliacea family in the past, as there are documented cases of serious skin-related life-threatening complications.
Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatic) It is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a rejuvenating agent, which can also increase the intellectual level, memory, and, in a way, even contribute to the restoration of brain nerve cells. Recently, a certain amount of experimental work was carried out, which included the administration of combination products containing Gotu Kola to patients, but the effectiveness of such treatment was minimal. This drug is contraindicated for high cholesterol levels in blood, cancer, diabetes, pregnancy and allergies to Gotu Kola, Madecassic Acid or Asian Acid.
Grape seed oil (not fragrant) is very popular in aromatherapy as the basis for creating essential oils. Grape seed oil, compared to lavender oil and thyme oil, is more effective for treating an agitated state in patients with dementia. But this fact is not fully proven.
This remedy should not be used together with blood thinning drugs such as warfarin, aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or antiplatelet agents. Also, be careful if you suffer from bleeding disorders, or if you are receiving medications that increase the risk of bleeding. Do not combine grape seed oil with drugs that get into the liver and are exposed to the enzyme cytochrome P450. Another caveat – refuse this remedy if you suffer from high blood pressure and a stomach ulcer to avoid intracranial bleeding.
Green tea. Its useful qualities are similar to the properties of black tea, which is associated with the content of one stimulating substance – caffeine. Side effects also coincide, in addition, green tea adversely affects the kidneys.
Guarana – Medicinal plant originally from South America. When taken orally has a stimulating effect on the brain. Guarana is also used in the sports world to improve endurance and reduce athlete fatigue. According to clinical studies, this plant does not affect the patient’s cognitive abilities and does not have a calming effect in case of excessive patient aggression. Caffeine, which is part of Guarana, improves the body’s reactivity, but is unable to simultaneously stimulate human memory. Excessive intake of drugs made from this plant can trigger the development of a severe allergic reaction not only to caffeine, but also to tannins and any plants of the family Sapindaceae. This medicine is not recommended for hypertension, psychological or mental disorders, liver failure, arrhythmias, breast diseases, renal dysfunction, diabetes mellitus, mitral valve prolapse, iron deficiency, gastric and duodenal ulcers, blood clotting disorders, glaucoma and elevated risk of osteoporosis. It is necessary to exclude its reception during electroconvulsive therapy (Ect) and during pregnancy.
Iodine – A very important trace element that is part of the thyroid hormones. These hormones, in turn, are vital for the normal development and functioning of the brain and cognitive properties. Clinical studies, during which schoolchildren of 10 – 12 years of age regularly consumed oil containing ionized iodine with food, proved the positive effect of this substance on human performance and intellectual level. But iodine treatment of dementia is currently not yet approved by the Ministry of Health and is under study. An overdose of iodine can provoke very serious violations in the human body, which in some cases can pose a serious danger to life. People with hypersensitivity to this trace element should refrain from taking it. You can not combine this drug with Lugol, a highly concentrated solution of potassium iodide (SSKI) or prescribe to people suffering from bronchitis, tuberculosis, hyperkalemia (high blood potassium) and pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs). When using iodine preparations, precautions should be taken, since they can cause irritation or burn of superficial tissues in contact with skin. In renal failure and intestinal obstruction, sodium iodide may cause side effects. In pregnancy and breastfeeding, on the contrary, small doses of iodine can be of benefit to the mother and the developing fetus. In the period of preparation for childbirth, during and after the birth of the child, antiseptic solutions of iodine are also unsafe.
Jasmine. It is believed that the inhalation of the fragrant aroma of these colors may to some extent contribute to the improvement of human memory. A very interesting fact was experimentally discovered. The patients were in rooms where the smell of jasmine was present. After that, they were asked to describe in detail the situation in the room and, what struck the researchers, they could not remember everything exactly. But as soon as the patients could smell the jasmine, memories of that room began to rise in their memory. But on the basis of this study it is impossible to make a definite conclusion about the benefits of jasmine in dementia. In addition, jasmine is not suitable for all patients. For example, pregnant and lactating women, people suffering from chronic allergies, may inadequately respond to this smell. In no case can not be taken inside the essential oil of jasmine. It is very toxic to humans.
Jojoba oil traditionally used in the perfume industry as the basis for the production of perfumes. It can also be part of massage oil and many other cosmetics. Jojoba oil has many beneficial properties: softening, moisturizing, soothing and protective effect on the skin and hair. Contraindications are the same as for jasmine.
Kat (arabic tea) – This is a species of evergreen shrubs of the Bereglet family. For centuries it has been used as a means of stimulating the central nervous system. It was revealed that it also improves cognitive abilities, but due to the occurrence of numerous side effects, its use is limited. More research is needed. According to some reports, the use of this plant for a long time can lead to physical addiction to it. In addition, in some countries the use of these drugs is officially banned precisely because they can cause psychological dependence. Kat can interact with Amoxicillin, Ampicillin and psychogogic drugs and cause undesirable effects. Very carefully take with high blood pressure, heart palpitations (tachycardia), depression or motor tic (Touretta syndrome). It can not be assigned to people suffering from glaucoma or mental illness, as well as women in the position. Drivers of vehicles and people of other professions requiring increased attention, it is important to warn of possible negative consequences.
Lavender. Some scientists argue that this plant contributes to a positive shift in the mental abilities of older people. Lavender can be used in different ways: aromatherapy, massage. The extract of these flowers has a beneficial effect on people who are tired at work. In such cases, it is advised to apply lavender essential oil to the skin in places where the pulse is felt.
This helps to calm the person and gives him strength for further work, according to some data, even prevents a decrease in brain activity during stressful situations. However, the inclusion of this tool in the treatment of patients with dementia did not give the results that everyone expected. Therefore, the benefits of aromatherapy with lavender oil are questioned. In addition, like any essential oil, it can cause an allergic reaction. Lavender is also contraindicated in coagulation disorders, digestive disorders (anorexia, bulimia), with anemia, convulsions, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Melissa officinalis still known in Europe under the name lemon balm, is widely used as a national sedative. There are studies that prove the positive effect of Melissa on overly excited and irritated people, as well as those suffering from progressive deterioration of mental abilities. Some scientific sources say that lemon balm contributes to improving mood, maintaining intelligence and raising self-esteem. Undoubtedly, like many other medicinal plants, lemon balm cannot be used as the main therapeutic agent. Take this medicine by mouth in the form of an extract or tea. Melissa, relative to other herbal preparations, is well tolerated by patients and can be administered for a long time (according to some data, up to 8 weeks). In addition, it can be applied topically in the form of a cream. An approximate course of treatment is 10 days. The side effects of this route of drug administration are minimal. Contraindications to this medication are Graves disease, combined use with thyroid preparations, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Particular caution should be followed for patients with glaucoma (as melissa extract can increase eye pressure) and vehicle drivers.
Macrobiotic Diet or, more simply, vegetarianism is a very popular theory of complex treatment of patients with dementia. Such a diet involves eating dietetic foods: whole grains (especially brown rice), vegetables, fruits, legumes and seaweed. The effectiveness of this diet is actively discussed in the world of medicine. According to some doctors, vegetarianism not only does not benefit people suffering from dementia, but in some cases can aggravate their condition. With this diet, there is a risk of nutrient deficiencies, but this can be avoided by creating a balanced diet. Vegetarian food favorably affects people with cancer. However, this diet is not suitable for children, pregnant and lactating women, so it can provoke the development of a deficiency of various trace elements in the body, such as iron deficiency anemia.
Omega-3 fatty acids according to some data may be useful for the prevention of the development of cognitive impairment and dementia. Like the above medications, Omega-3 fatty acids are not suitable for people suffering from chronic allergies and bleeding disorders, hypotension (low blood pressure). It is necessary to cancel the drug for two weeks before the operation. There is an internationally established protocol, which recommends limited consumption of this useful element for pregnant / lactating women up to 170 grams per week and young children up to 57 grams per week. To do this, you can include in your daily diet foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, for example, sea fish. But you have to be careful in choosing the type of fish, as some representatives of the inhabitants of the deep sea may contain a high level of methylmercury (toxic compound) and a reduced amount of essential fatty acids (dose less than 12 grams per week). Women who are trying to become pregnant are advised to eat fish that are high in fatty acids (total dose up to 14 grams per week) and the minimum amount of methylmercury. These types of fish include marlin, orange Australian ruff, perch, fresh tuna and others.
Policosanol – A new herbal remedy derived from sugar cane, the effectiveness of which for lowering cholesterol levels has been clinically proven. An alternative to using this drug to improve brain reactivity was also considered. But until now, scientists have not come to an unequivocal conclusion, and therefore, in order to be widely used, it is necessary to conduct a series of more reliable studies. This drug can not be used in conjunction with aspirin and other anticoagulants. During the course of treatment, the patient’s condition should be monitored: whether there are signs of hypersensitivity to this substance and / or whether the blood pressure rises.
Fern Extract Polypodium leucotomos, also referred to as Anapsos, was used to treat many diseases. This plant grows on the territory of South America and Europe. South American species Polypodium leucotomos also known as calagula. Concerning the effectiveness of this herbal remedy for mentally ill people, the opinions of researchers diverged.
Like any other representative of herbal medicine, Anapsos better to use separately from other herbal preparations. Special care must be taken when prescribing this drug to patients suffering from heart disease and hypertension, allergies, pregnant and lactating women. People of a heavy profession must be warned of possible temporary incapacity.
Rhodiola north. Studies show that this plant has a positive effect on memory, mental activity and the ability to learn. The administration of rhodiola extract can adversely affect the health status of people suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and neurological or psychiatric disorders.
Rhubarb along with other medicinal plants effectively slows down the process of memory impairment associated with age-related changes. But some representatives of the research community argue that it is necessary to distinguish between the effect of rhubarb on the memory and separately on the aging process. If you are hypersensitive to this plant or to other members of the Buckwheat family, it is necessary to forbid its reception. The course of treatment should last no more than two weeks, because with a constant intake, tolerance in the large intestine to this medicine, renal melanosis, pathological changes of smooth muscles, which cause permanent diarrhea and, as a result, significant loss of trace elements, can develop. The use of rhubarb is contraindicated in intestinal atony, Crohn’s disease, dehydration, exhaustion, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, liver failure, intestinal obstruction. It is also undesirable to receive it in case of irritable bowel syndrome, menstruation, preeclampsia, renal failure, ulcerative colitis and problems with urination. Avoid direct contact with rhubarb leaves, as it can cause contact dermatitis. Be especially careful to prescribe if a person suffers from a blood clotting disorder, chronic constipation, cardiac diseases, osteoporosis, or if he has kidney stones. Do not prescribe to dehydrated children under the age of 12 years. It is not advised to take rhubarb extract with antipsychotics and other similar preparations, herbal infusions and nutritional supplements (including calcium, iron and zinc).
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) in the composition of adapted nutritional supplements is necessary to maintain the normal functioning of the brain in the elderly. It is believed that taking vitamins helps to improve cognitive functions and reduce depressive tendencies in patients taking tricyclic antidepressants (Vitamin B2 levels are often reduced in these patients.). Since riboflavin is limitedly absorbed by the intestinal mucosa and is not able to accumulate in the body, it is considered absolutely safe for humans. Therefore, it is prescribed even for pregnant and lactating women. Following the generally accepted recommendations, the daily dose of riboflavin for women in the position of more than non-pregnant, and is 1.4 mg per day (1.6 mg when breastfeeding). But you should limit its use if you are allergic or hypersensitive to this vitamin.
Soy. Until now, there is no definite evidence that the inclusion of soy products in the diet of women in the postmenopausal period can improve the intellectual well-being of the patient. It must be borne in mind that some patients may experience an allergic reaction to this product (it is more often manifested by a rash or respiratory failure). Soy, as part of the normal diet of pregnant women, has traditionally been considered safe. But this product should not be abused, as the effect of high doses of soy isoflavones on the human body is not well understood. There is a recorded case of rickets (vitamin D deficiency) a child whose mother fed him soy milk. People who suffer from chronic intolerance to cow’s milk may develop intestinal disorders (colitis and persistent diarrhea). Soy isoflavones are known to have the same side effects as estrogens, for example, an increased risk of blood clots. The use of soy products is recommended for patients with hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast, ovarian or uterine cancer. In contrast, with some other hormone-sensitive diseases, such as endometriosis, this product is more harmful to health than will help. Patients who take medicines that thin the blood (Warfarin), should consult a doctor or pharmacist before including soy in your diet.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) involves the use of herbal for the treatment of any diseases. The impact of Chinese medicine on people with dementia has not been studied enough. According to some reports, a certain combination of medicinal herbs has a positive effect on the work of the brain and the daily activities of patients.
Turmeric. It has been experimentally proven that it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and is also capable of reducing the level of beta-amyloid and, as a result, the formation of plaques in brain tissue. However, the effectiveness of turmeric in relation to intellectual abilities is questionable. It must be remembered that patients suffering from disorders of the immune system, blood diseases, liver failure, diabetes mellitus, hypoglycemia or calculous cholecystitis (gallstones), it is forbidden to prescribe this medicine. Use of turmeric should be prevented during pregnancy and lactation, as well as two weeks before and after surgery.
Vitamin E It has been proposed as an additional therapy to treat and slow the development of dementia. Its action is based on antioxidant properties. In addition, there is evidence that people with dementia have a reduced vitamin E content in the body. But in general, this theory is not very popular. In addition, vitamin E can cause bleeding, especially in sensitive people who take anticoagulants (Coumadin). Contraindications to the use of this medication are the same as for vitamin B2.