Yinova Center
37 West 17th Street, Suite 300
New York, NY 10011
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Brain Power: Using Chinese Medicine to Stay Focused

Do you suffer from brain fog or a cloudy mind? Are you forgetful and absent minded? Do you sometimes feel detached or unfocused? If you do, you’re not alone. Here at Yinova, a lot of our patients tell us that they worry about their brain power and ask if Chinese medicine can help improve focus and memory.

In Chinese medicine the kidney system is related to brain function, so many of the herbs used to improve concentration are also kidney tonics. However Chinese medicine differentiates forgetfulness from a cloudy mind. If you feel foggy and heavy headed your Chinese diagnosis would more likely be related to damp which is a Chinese way of discussing poor fluid metabolism and mucus accumulation.

We use acupuncture and Chinese herbs to treat all sorts of issues related to mental function and because everyone is different we recommend getting a proper Chinese medical diagnosis from an experienced practitioner who is able to prescribe you a formula specially tailored to your circumstances. Most of our Yinova formulas for brain fog are adapted from these formulas.

  • Bu Nao Wan (Cerebral Tonic Pills) – is a common formula used for memory problems related to weakness in the kidney system.  Several herbs in the formula such as Wu Wei Zi (Schizandra) and Suan Zao Ren (Zizyphus) have been used for hundreds of years to calm the mind and help with focus.
  • Gui Pi Tang (Restore the Spleen Tea) – This is a formula that is commonly given to patients for whom anxiety or over-thinking leads to memory problems.
  • Shen Ling Bai Zhu Wan (Ginseng, Poria and Atracylodis Pills) – This is a good choice for people who suffer from cloudy mind due to poor fluid metabolism and damp.

Here is the advice we give our Yinova Patients who want to be more focused

  • Drop some bad habits – Smoking, drinking alcohol and taking recreational drugs all affect memory. We’re happy to help
    you with cravings as you drop your bad habits.
  • Acupuncture activates the brain Studies show that acupuncture can have an effect on brain function. Some of our patients find that a course of 6 treatments is all they need to find their focus.
  • Find some fish oil – Omega-3 is found in the brain in the form of DHA and works with a number of enzymes used for coordinating brain mechanisms.
  • Hydrate – The brain like the rest of your body is mostly made up of water so dehydration is an often overlooked cause of poor brain function.
  • Herbs for a healthy mind – as well as the formulas we discussed above the following herbs can help memory and focus.
    • Ginko Biloba – Over the past decade there have been 125 studies into the effects of ginko and most of them conclude that it increases blood flow to the brain and so improves memory and mental clarity.
    • Salvia – this herb, which is part of the sage family, has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to increase blood flow. Modern research bears this out and according to a 2003 UK study conducted by the Human Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at Northumbria University, young people who received an extract of Salvia essential oil showed improvement in word recall.
    • Acorus – known as Shi Chang Pu in Chinese herbology this herb transforms damp is works well for people suffering from a heavy head and a cloudy mind.
    • Reishi mushrooms are a powerful adaptogen and have been prized for thousands of years throughout Asia for their ability to bring calm and help concentration.

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