While stress is normal and healthy in small amounts too much stress or prolonged stress can trigger physical, emotional or mental symptoms. This can set the body up to experience many symptoms with one of which is brain fog.
There are essential brain chemicals that are activated under stress, and when these stress chemicals (hormones) cortisol, adrenaline and/or noradrenaline are present for too long or in excessive quantities, they overwhelm and exhaust the brain. And this is where brain fog enters the picture.
Symptoms of brain fog can include difficulty concentrating and focusing, unclear thoughts, short-term memory problems, difficulty reasoning logically, difficulty processing information, and difficulty following instructions
Some herbal brain hacks than you can use to help manage stress and reduce brain fog are:
Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi)
Brahmi has been used traditionally for hundreds of years in Ayurvedic medicine to assist with memory, learning, and concentration. It is known in Ayurvedic medicine as a Medhya Rasayana herb – used for rejuvenating the mind and intellect. Bacopa monnieri is also known as water hyssop and by the Sanskrit name Brahmi, which means ‘expands consciousness.’ It has antioxidant properties and may also help reduce mild anxiety.
Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha)
Ashwagandha has a tradition of use in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as a Rasayana herb – a rejuvenating tonic to help maintain stamina, strength, and vitality. Known as winter cherry and Indian ginseng, Withania grows naturally in India and Nepal. Withania somnifera has also been used traditionally as a nerve tonic for nervous exhaustion, especially due to stress.
Schisandra chinensis (Schisandra)
Schisandra has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries, where it is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. The name Schisandra in Chinese (Wu Wei Zi) means five taste fruit, and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the five tastes are sour, bitter, sweet, spicy and salty. Schisandra may also help to improve mental performance and concentration.
Other Strategies That May Help The Overwhelmed Brain
- Breathing in through your nose for the count of 4 heartbeats then out through your mouth for the count of 8 heartbeats. Repeat this for 5 minutes on a regular basis.
- Rest is essential for the overwhelmed and tired brain. Prioritise your sleep and aim for 7-8 hours per night, more if you don’t wake to feel refreshed. If you have trouble falling asleep talk to me about other herbal options that could help.
- Nourish your body with healthy food.
- Never skip meals, especially breakfast.
- Exercise regularly.
- Spend time in nature.
- Avoid unhealthy habits and behaviours, e.g. caffeine, alcohol, drugs, excess screen time.
- Practice intermittent social media fasting.
- Avoid big decisions and life changes during times of stress.
- Practice mindfulness to quieten the mind, i.e. meditation and journaling.
Brain fog is your body's way of telling you something needs attention, and if stress is not the contributing factor then there may be other circumstances that can lead to brain fog such as blood sugar imbalance, unhealthy gut microbiome, brain inflammation, missing nutrients, hormonal shifts, thyroid and medication side effects — all of which I can address in clinic to shift your brain back to health.
The herbs suggested above are available in a product called MeMax Plus by ICL Health available at ION Herbals Naturopathic and Iridology clinic.
If you’d like more information or support, contact me at the clinic anytime, or book online.