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Herbal Remedies - Improve Your Memory With Rosemary and Ginkgo Biloba

The Ginkgo Biloba Tree

The Ginkgo Biloba Tree

It's natural as we get older to find that we can become a little forgetful. You might forget where you left your keys or why you just walked into the kitchen. Memory loss like this may increase with old age for a number of reasons. As you get older, your brain can react a little slower due to neurons becoming damaged by a lack of oxygen or blood supply. Prescription medication can cause memory problems as can stress, depression and emotional problems. There are many medical causes for memory loss including diabetes, high blood pressure (increasing the risk of stroke), dementia, drug and alcohol abuse, vitamin B12 deficiency and amnesia. If you are worried about your symptoms, or if your memory loss is seriously affecting your lifestyle, then seek medical advice.

There are many ways to help improve your memory and concentration, including a healthy diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables and omega 3 fatty acids (found in oily fish, walnuts, flax seeds, cloves and oregano), regular exercise which improves circulation helping the oxygen supply getting to the brain, and by remaining social and keeping the brain active. If you don't use it you will lose it as the saying goes! There are some good tips for boosting the memory here.

There are also a number of herbal remedies that you can prepare easily at home that can help improve the function of the brain, increasing your ability to concentrate and to retain information, thereby improving your memory!

Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary - Rosmarinus Officinalis

Rosemary is traditionally known as the "herb of rememberence" and for good reason. It contains compounds that relax the digestive tract and can increase the effects of essential enzymes in the brain, helping to improve memory and concentration. It has also been shown to reduce stress, mild depression, and help with nervous exhaustion, all factors that can effect your memory.

Rosemary is an evergreen shrub that's easy to grow. It prefers a sunny spot in poor soil, and sprigs can be harvested all year round. It can also be bought fresh and dried in supermarkets, and is available as an essential oil.

Jan van Bijlert (circa 1597/1598–1671)

Jan van Bijlert (circa 1597/1598–1671)

Rosemary Wine

This is a very enjoyable way to take rosemary to improve your memory and it can help the symptoms of mild dementia, although it will not cure it!

You will need:

1 bottle of good quality wine (Southern French or Californian wine is best for the high alcohol content and warmth of the sun)

5 sprigs of fresh rosemary

  • Bruise the rosemary and place in the bottle of wine
  • Re-cork and shake every day for 2 weeks
  • Once ready, drink one small wine glass a day after dinner.

Rosemary tea or infusion

This can be drunk as tea or as an infusion added to the bath, so the smell can lift your mood.

You will need:

About 30g fresh rosemary (or 15g dried)

500ml boiling water

  • Wash and chop the rosemary if using fresh, place in a glass bowl
  • Poor over the boiling water, cover, and leave to stand for 8 - 10 minutes
  • Strain through a sieve (lined with muslin if you have some)
  • Drink as a tea the same day (it can be reheated if desired)

Rosemary infusion can also be gargled to freshen breath! Use it several times a day and store in the fridge. Rosemary is also a delicious aromatic herb to add to meat dishes, and grown in the garden it can help ward off mosquitoes.

The leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba

The leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba

The ginkgo biloba, or maidenhair tree, is thought to have been around for over 225 million years, since the age of the dinosaurs. The dried leaves contain substances that work as a Nootropic by improving circulation to the brain, altering the availability of neuro-transmitters and enzymes which control the brain chemistry, and increasing oxygen supply. It improves concentration, short term memory and reaction time in the middle-aged to the elderly. If you are on prescription medication then check with your doctor of pharmacist before taking ginkgo, as it could interfere with it's effectiveness or safety.

Ginkgo biloba is a slow growing deciduous conifer that likes full sun and well drained soil. Harvest the leaves in the summer and then dry before use. Alternatively ginkgo extracts and preparations can be purchased from health food stores.

To dry the leaves:

Place on a baking sheet in an oven on it's lowest setting and the door slightly open for about 5 hours. Alternatively, hang in a well ventilated, dry environment for about 2 weeks. Hang the sprigs upside down so the oils inside all run to the leaves.

Ginkgo Biloba Tea

You will need:

2 tsp dried leaves per cup (if using fresh leaves they are less potent, use 5 leaves)

1 cup freshly boiled water

  • Add the ginkgo leaves to the cup of boiled water
  • Leave to steep for 10 minutes
  • Strain and drink immediately
  • Drink this tea once or twice a day.

Ginkgo biloba is also useful for circulatory disorders such as vertigo and leg cramps and it can help with asthma by opening up the bronchial passages, reducing inhaler use. Remember to check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are planning to use ginkgo for any medical complaint as it can interfere with prescription medication.


Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on January 13, 2017:

Love your hub. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbal teas.

Keisha Hunter from Kingston, Jamaica on May 09, 2015:

Great hub! It's just a pity i didn't know the use of rosemary as a child in the country when it was plentiful.

Jennifer Stone (author) from the Riverbank, England on September 24, 2012:

Thank you vespawoolf, I didn't know that about ginkgo! Thanks for reading! All the best, Jen

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on September 23, 2012:

Thank you for this useful information and the photo of the beautiful ginkgo tree. I didn't know that rosemary could aid in memory and will try making tea more often! We use ginkgo often and started when we visited Cusco again a few months back. At over 3,000 meters of altitude, travelers often get altitude sickness. But if you start taking ginkgo 2 weeks before the trip you won't get altitude sickness. Believe me, it's worth it! I've also noticed the herb helps my memory. Thanks again for this information.

Jennifer Stone (author) from the Riverbank, England on June 16, 2012:

Thank you unknown spy, I really appreciate your feedback!

Life Under Construction from Neverland on June 16, 2012:

never seen rosemary here in our place but we have ginko biloba. Very well written Jennifer, your hub is amazing!

Jennifer Stone (author) from the Riverbank, England on May 11, 2012:

Stessily, thanks again for your feedback and for taking the time to read my hubs. It's important to me especially from other people who are as passionate about herbal remedies as I.

Kind regards with a friendly smile, Jennifer

stessily on May 11, 2012:

Jennifer, Rosemary is for remembrance! And so is ginkgo biloba, that's for sure. They both make invigorating teas. Herbal remedies are a longstanding passion for me, so I appreciate the care with which you've shared this information.

Kind regards, Stessily

Jennifer Stone (author) from the Riverbank, England on April 19, 2012:

Thanks cnatraininginfo, the wine is nice and easy to prepare and to get the ingredients! Thanks for stopping by :-)

cnatraininginfo from California on April 19, 2012:

Its amazing about the rosemary wine I had no idea that rosemary was used that way. Great hub vote up!

Jennifer Stone (author) from the Riverbank, England on April 17, 2012:

Thank you Lee, herbal remedies have been a hobby of mine for a few years now, and I've always thought it important to research what these medicines actually do and how they help. Through various jobs I've had I've also had a fair bit of training in prescription medication which has made me acutely aware of how important it is for people to be educated about what they are putting into their bodies, how they can help, and when it may be dangerous! Thanks for reading and commenting, your feedback is important to me so I know if I'm making any sense at all! :-)

Lee Tea from Erie, PA on April 17, 2012:

You mentioned traditional uses of these herbs, and backed these up with scientific explanation. I'm a FAN!! Not only did you instruct people on how to use nature's medicinals (and to talk with their doctor before doing so...), but you demonstrated through both history AND science WHY these remedies are effective. A well-written, informative, and responsible hub. Thank you for making people aware of what nature can offer us with convincing and detailed information.

Jennifer Stone (author) from the Riverbank, England on April 17, 2012:

Thanks for the feedback greatstuff, I'm glad you found it useful!

Jennifer Stone (author) from the Riverbank, England on April 17, 2012:

Hi RTalloni, thanks for your comment and I have absolutely no objection to the link! :-)(In fact I'm flattered, thanks!) I'll check out your hub on memory now!

Mazlan A from Malaysia on April 17, 2012:

Good and informative hub. I used to take Gingko Biloba in capsule form, it's been a year now since my last dosage, will have to start again. Voted useful and shared

RTalloni on April 17, 2012:

A nicely done yet concise look at these benefits of rosemary and gingko biloba. Would like to link this hub to mine on memory if you have no objection--thanks!

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