By Nick Polizzi | Guest Writer
Sometimes we take our brains for granted. They do a lot more than just figure stuff out and hold memories for us – though that’s plenty right there!
The brain is the command centre of the body, keeping all systems functioning. Every movement of your body starts in your brain. For example, it’s signals from your brain that cause your legs to walk when you want them to.
All our bodily organs are constantly receiving directions from our brain, most of which we don’t even notice.
All the emotions – love, anger, fear, annoyance, enthusiasm, gratitude – live in the brain…
So the healthier our brains are, the happier we feel.
So without further ado, here are 2 powerful ways to nourish your brain!
Four Herb Brain-Booster Tea
The routine of making tea is in and of itself healing for your brain. For thousands of years, the simple process of brewing and drinking herbal brews has been cherished — and science now knows why.
Studies show that this practice releases happy endorphins that calm down your body’s fight or flight response. But the real health benefits come from brewing tea infused with medicinal herbs — such as today’s tonic recipe for your noggin.
One of the first plants that comes to mind for brain-healing tea is: ginkgo biloba.
Ginkgo biloba (one of the oldest tree specimens on the planet!) is known to increase energy and concentration by stimulating blood flow to your brain while simultaneously protecting it with powerful flavonoids. This punchy plant also fights inflammation all over the body and can be extremely helpful if you have a family history of neurodegenerative disease.
Gingko biloba is pretty mild in flavour — even though it’s sometimes used as a digestive bitter — so I tend to add other tasty brain-boosting herbs to a ginkgo tea, like lemon balm and tulsi.
If you want to give Ginkgo Biloba a try, it’s widely available here.
Four Herb Brain-Booster Tea
- 1 tbsp Ginkgo biloba (you can find it in tea bags as well)
- 1 tbsp Lemon Balm
- 1 tbsp Tulsi
- 1 slice of fresh ginger
- 1 slice of lemon
- 1 tsp of honey
- Add all herbs to a tea pot – except ginger
- Pour 4 cups of water over them
- Bring to a simmer and steep for at least 5 minutes
- Pour into cup
- Add ginger, lemon and honey
For optimal brain health, this is a great healing elixir to drink every day.
Daily Mindfulness Meditation Practice
Meditation is easy and free, and there’s tons of research out there about how fabulous it is for our brains.
Studies have shown that, over time, meditation:
- increases grey matter in the brain, which is linked to overall intelligence and “processing power”
- shrinks the fear and anxiety centres in the brain (the amygdala)
- improves memory and the ability to focus
- helps to keep the brain sharp as the body ages
Meditation is also a powerful stress reliever… as many people experience right away! It has the amazing effect of simply making you feel calmer and happier in the moment.
That’s probably why, all over the world, humans have practiced meditation for thousands of years!
Have you ever meditated? It’s so easy. You can try it right now and see for yourself how it changes your brain.
One of the simplest techniques is called mindfulness meditation. There are slight differences in how different teachers will teach this method, but here is a stripped-down version that works just fine.
You might want to use a timer, and set it for 5, 10, or 20 minutes, depending on how long you’d like to meditate. (I personally do one 20-minute session per day on most days, and it feels great!)
- Sit down and get comfortable. Try and keep your back straight as possible, but don’t be a ramrod! You can sit on a chair that has back support, or a mat on the floor, or outside on the grass in a quiet place. Some people like to sit with legs crossed, and some prefer a chair with their feet on the floor. More advanced meditators may choose the lotus position. Whatever works!
- Take one or two deep breaths to relax yourself and prepare to enter meditation.
- Close your eyes. That’s important.
- Notice the movement of your breath as it enters and exits your nose. If you want, you can focus on the spot where it leaves your nostril. Keep your attention gentle. You don’t have to concentrate hard. If you lose track of your breath, that’s okay. Just return your attention easily to the breath if you notice you’ve forgotten about it.
- Let your thoughts flow as they will. If anything, this is the tricky part. You do not have to “stop your thoughts.” In fact, if you try, you might notice that you cannot stop your thoughts. Thoughts just happen. The trick is to not get too entangled in them. Just let thoughts arise and pass by. Don’t try to control them, but don’t actively “follow” them either. After a while, you’ll notice that the thoughts just seem like so much chatter. You’ll feel detached from your thoughts, especially if you can maintain that gentle attention on your breath. You’ll be an observer of your thoughts.
- When you’re done meditating, open your eyes slowly and take another deep breath. Then start with some gentle movements in the hands and feet. Don’t jump up from your chair or rush to do the next thing. Give yourself some moments to reorient.
So how do you feel?
Is meditation wonderful or what?
Of course, there are other ways too that we can and should care for our brains on a regular basis – like regular exercise, good diet, and a proper amount of sleep.
Meditation and Brain Booster tea are two easy resources that bring out the very BEST in our brains, with joy and pleasure!
Stay Curious, Nick Polizzi.
About the Author
Nick Polizzi has spent his career directing and editing feature length documentaries about natural alternatives to conventional medicine. Nick’s current role as director of “The Sacred Science” documentary and author of “The Sacred Science: An Ancient Healing Path For The Modern World stems from a calling to honour, preserve, and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of the indigenous peoples of the world.