Updated February 25, 2020
As many of my friends, family and clients know, I have had my brain challenges. The good news is that my brain now functions better than it ever has in the past and I intend to make sure it stays that way. My brain and I are a work in progress, just like a play dough creation. Some people’s brain challenges are visible while others are well hidden. Either way, there may be times when your brain may have some setbacks. Do not despair or lose hope. Wherever you are on your brain recovery, the information and strategies that I share about my recovery can help you. Brain neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to adapt and change. The brain is plastic at all ages (think playdough)
so we can continue to learn and create changes in our brains and nervous systems throughout our lives. You can change your brain by implementing strategies that increase brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which plays an important role in neuronal survival and growth, serves as a neurotransmitter modulator, and participates in neuronal plasticity, which is essential for learning and memory. As you read on you will find research about essential oils that promote the increase of BDNF naturally. While a healthy, active lifestyle is a main contributing factor for increasing BDNF naturally, there are many researched botanicals, foods and herbs that also naturally promote increased levels of BDNF.
My past periods of depression and compromised brain function were the result of various factors including, body and brain pollution from toxins, toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT), stress and stress sensitization, and lack of life balance and resilience. As a teenager I pumped leaded gasoline at my father’s gas station. I started to suffer from depression at that time. While investigating my depression equation later in life, when I once again suffered from depression after off gassing of a new house, I made the environmental pollution connection. You can read about how I was affected by all of these in my blog posts and website ‘about‘ page. I am grateful for the information, guidance and natural strategies that have helped to restore my brain and body health.
With the looming statistics for depression, dementia (which my mother suffered from) and Alzheimers, and the deep compassion I feel for anyone who has brain challenges; my focus moving forward is on preventing mental decline as I age and helping others to do the same.
What did it take to restore and improve my brain to better health? What am I doing to protect my brain?
- Learning and understanding the impact of brain and body pollution
- Dealing with brain and body pollution is a primary ‘must do’ using natural and added detoxification aids (whole body detoxification method using Botanical Spa Therapy)
- Avoiding brain (including blood brain barrier) compromising factors
- Avoiding and testing for (muscle response testing for health protection) all foods and products that could potentially contain toxins including toxic personal care, house and laundry products
- Understanding, avoiding and testing (muscle response testing for health protection) foods that are potentially health/brain challenging:
- According to the Blue Zones, In the blue zones region of Ikaria, Greece, dementia among people over 85 is rare — over 75 percent less common than it is in the United States. (About half of Americans over 85 years old show signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The NutritionFacts video breaks down the science of why dementia is much lower among people who eat a Mediterranean-style diet.
- According to the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research Food and Mood Centre “There is a good body of evidence to suggest that a healthy dietary pattern, such as the Mediterranean diet, promotes brain and mental health, and it is made up of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, and fish.”
- The the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research Food and Mood Centre reports that “We are learning more each day about the connection between the gut, inflammation and brain health. What goes on in the gut, as well as the inflammatory response that might follow, can disrupt the processes in the brain that help regulate our mood”
- In the Nutrition Facts Video, Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Depression, Dr. Michael Gregor states: “The most anti-inflammatory diet is a plant-based diet, which can cut C-reactive protein levels by 30% within two weeks, perhaps because of the anti-inflammatory properties of antioxidants.”
- According to Nutrition Facts (https://nutritionfacts.
org/topics/mental-health/) “chicken has been linked to a variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions. Arachidonic acid, found at particularly high levels in chicken and eggs, produces inflammatory compounds that may affect our brains. Chicken has low levels of omega 3 fatty acid, a vital nutrient for the brain. Toxoplasma brain parasites from meat have been linked to schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. Glycotoxins—found primarily in chicken, pork, beef, and fish—increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. High consumption of fish has been associated with an increased risk of mental disorders, lower testosterone (which can lead to depression), and chronic fatigue syndrome and depression.”
- Timeline of Alzheimer’s disease – https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-24-history-and-causes-of-alzheimers-disease.html
- Adapting a healthy plant based diet and avoiding processed foods. I also eat wild caught fish and organic free range eggs.
- Drinking filtered water
- Ongoing assessing, restoring and maintaining of life balance
- Regular walking in green spaces
- Regular yoga and tai chi exercises
- Meditation and meditation music while visualizing my calm, happy place- this has been extremely beneficial during times of distress and while sleeping.
- Prayer – visually handing over my basket of concerns for me, my family, my clients, the needs of the world, daily to my higher powers, my God, for healing, protection and guidance.
- Grounding – my daily affirmation “I choose to remain cool, calm and grounded in spite of everything (or specific)” while visualizating my Wisdoms from a Tree painting. Seeing myself grounded by deep roots and swaying like the branches of a tree in the midst of life’s challenges. I am a greater support for myself and others if I remain grounded and resilient. This also prevents feelings of anxiety and distress and an itchy HPA stress response.
- Maintaining a healthy life balance. Maintaining a realistic priority list and healthy boundaries, allowing me the down and relaxation and ‘not available’ time I need to offset life’s stressors and challenges.
- Learning about the neuroplasticity of the brain. Regular reading of health promoting books, especially those about brain health and recovery. You can find my recommended reads in my book, plus Dr. Norman Doidge’s amazing books below which have been such an eye opener.
- The Brain that Changes Itself – this is a paid affiliate link below. Click on the book to learn more about what is inside.
- The Brain’s Way of Healing – this is a paid affiliate link below. Click on the book to learn more about what is inside.
- Practicing mind body healing strategies including affirmations, visualizations and meditation. You can find my recommendations in my book.
- Adding in of natural supportive strategies including essential oils with healing properties. You can find my recommendations in my book and My Green Medicine Cabinet.
The preceding information may seem daunting. It took me 10 years of research and trial and error strategies to make major gains in my health. I now feel healthy, energetic and more resilient. I have condensed all of the information and resources that brought me to ‘my healthier brain and me’ and you can use my holistic protocol (self help guide), website and blog post to achieve your “healthier brain” and ‘healthier you’. It works! Each new client receives a copy of my book and uses it as a guide to help them restore, maintain and improve their health.
10-10-14-essential-oils- dementia/)is an online community dedicated to advocacy, education and supporting those whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimers.net was created by people touched by Alzheimer’s, to give caregivers and those with Alzheimer’s a place to share our passion for change and a cure for the disease.
Mayo Clinic on aromatherapy for dementia –
Pub Med, US National Library of Medicine – “WE FOUND AROMATHERAPY AN EFFICACIOUS NON-PHARMACOLOGICAL THERAPY FOR DEMENTIA. AROMATHERAPY MAY HAVE SOME POTENTIAL FOR IMPROVING COGNITIVE FUNCTION, ESPECIALLY IN AD PATIENTS”.
Research Gate – in Psychogeriatrics 9(4):173-9 ·
December 2009 with 553 ReadsDOI: 10.1111/j.1479-8301.2009. 00299.x · Source: PubMed “In conclusion, we found aromatherapy an efficacious non-pharmacological therapy for dementia. Aromatherapy may have some potential for improving cognitive function, especially in AD patients.” https://www. researchgate.net/publication/ 43079177_Effect_of_ aromatherapy_on_patients_with_ Alzheimer’s_disease
Alzeihmer Society – “There is some evidence that aromatherapy may be effective in helping people with dementia to relax, and that certain oils may have the potential to improve cognition in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Research has specifically highlighted the potential benefits of the use of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) to improve cognition and mood in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and lavender oil to reduce occurrences of aggressive behaviour in dementia.”
News – Medical Sciences:
“Japanese scientists have isolated active compounds in several plant medicines. These techniques helped the scientists identify and isolate active compounds found in Drynaria rhizome, a plant medicine that can improve memory. It has been proven to reduce disease characteristics in mice models with Alzheimer’s disease.
A 2012 study shows that rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), a common plant used to distil essential oil, can also help improve cognitive performance in healthy adults. Also, rosemary can boost brain performance.
In another study in 2013, scientists found that rosemary may enhance the ability to remember events. Also, it helps people keep future tasks in mind. Since memory loss is one of the hallmark symptoms of dementia, this function could make rosemary oil and important component of therapy to combat dementia.
Scientists also found that six essential oils, namely thyme, rose, clove, eucalyptus, bergamot and fennel, are capable of suppressing the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme. The effect is similar to that of resveratrol, one of the important compounds that gives red wine its health benefits.
Of all the essential oils, thyme produces the highest reduction in COX-2 levels by about 75 percent. The other essential oils reduced the COX-2 level by 25 percent. COX-2 is an inflammatory enzyme that has been also linked to the development of AD” https://www.news-medical.
Alzeihmers & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzeihmers AssociationAnti-Alzheimer’s disease effect of essential oil from aerial parts of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge –
Neuroquantology – Progress of Essential Oils in Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease –
Modulatory effects of aromatherapy massage intervention on electroencephalogram, psychological assessments, salivary cortisol and plasma brain-derived neurotrophic factor – A 4-week-aromatherapy massage program significantly improved all psychological assessment scores in the Stat-Trait Anxiety Index, Beck Depression Inventory and Short Form of Psychosocial Well-being Index. Interestingly, plasma BDNF levels were significantly increased after a 4 week-aromatherapy massage program. Alpha-brain wave activities were significantly enhanced and delta wave activities were markedly reduced following the one-time aromatherapy massage treatment, as shown in the meditation and neurofeedback training. In addition, salivary cortisol levels were significantly reduced following the one-time aromatherapy massage treatment”. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229914000582
Moving forward, my brain protection and improvement strategy includes the essential oil brain protection blend below as well as aromatherapy massage. Read the research information above to determine which oils you feel you should add to your personal blend:
My Dementia and Alzeihmer’s and Healthy Brain Neuroprotective Blend
- Frankincense – 4 drops (according to research abates age related dendritic regression in the hipppocampus, anti-cancer )
- Clove bud – 2 drops (according to research reverses memory and learning deficits, anti-cancer)
- Rosemary – 5 drops (according to research improves cognitive performance, abates age related dendritic regression in the hipppocampus, anti-cancer)
- Copaiba – 2 drops (according to research is neuroprotective)
- Melissa – 5 drops (according to research is neuroprotective, anti-cancer – glioblastoma)
- Lemongrass – 4 drops (according to research is neuroprotective)
- Lavender – 4 drops (according to research is calming)
- Add the preceding drops to a 10 ml roller ball bottle and top up with Fractionated Coconut Oil or a mix of grapeseed/olive oil. Apply to the toes (brain reflexology points) and brain stem twice daily.
Get started using essential oils with neuroprotective properties for a healthier you and healthier brain!
Check with your regular healthcare provider before using essential oils or other recommendations found on my website, books and blog – there may be contraindications due to medications, health conditions or other factors.
Wishing you optimum health and happiness!
Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P. Holistic Wellness Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa officinalis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/