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Botanical Brain Balms

Dilston Physic Garden’s director and curator are publishing a book on plants for the brain – ‘Botanical Brain Balms: Essential plants for memory, mood and mind’ with Filbert Press UK and publishers in the U.S., France and Germany.

‘The benefits of a plant-based diet to physical health are well-known and scientific research now shows that plants can improve mental health too. Many leaves, roots and berries contain ingredients that boost cognitive skills and alleviate common problems like stress, fatigue and mood swings – without the side effects of conventional drugs.
In this authoritative guide, experts in herbal medicine and neuroscience recommend plants for a wide range of problems. They explain the science behind how they work and suggest easy remedies and exercises that are pleasant to take and make part of your daily routine.
Beautifully illustrated, Botanical Brain Balms is packed full of safe and natural ways to improve the way you think and feel.’

“A great book and the one I’ve been waiting for – scientific, accessible and eminently useable.” Bunny Guinness

Sage, Rosemary & Melissa to boost memory

This pilot clinical trial was carried out with the Bodyworks Centre in Hexham and Dilston Physic Garden and is published in the journal Phytomedicine.

At a glance:

The results showed that a medicinal tincture (an extraction of the plants in alcohol) of sage, rosemary and melissa given for 2 weeks improved word recall by over 50% in under 63 year old’s.

Summary:

A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled pilot trial of a combined extract of sage, rosemary and melissa, traditional herbal medicines, on the enhancement of memory in normal healthy subjects, including influence of age

N.S.L.PerryR.MenziesF.HodgsonP.WedgewoodM.-J.R.Howes,H.J.Brooker, K.A.WesnesE.K. Perry

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate for the first time the effects of a combination of sage, rosemary and melissa (Salvia officinalis L., Rosmarinus officinalis L. and Melissa officinalis L.; SRM), traditional European medicines, on verbal recall in normal healthy subjects. To devise a suitable study design for assessing the clinical efficacy of traditional herbal medicines for memory and brain function.

Methods

Forty-four normal healthy subjects (mean age 61 ± 9.26y SD; m/f 6/38) participated in this study. A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled pilot study was performed with subjects randomised into an active and placebo group. The study consisted of a single 2-week term ethanol extract of SRM that was chemically-characterised using high resolution LC-UV-MS/MS analysis. Immediate and delayed word recall were used to assess memory after taking SRM or placebo (ethanol extract of Myrrhis odorata (L.) Scop.). In addition analysis was performed with subjects divided into younger and older subgroups (≤ 62 years mean age n = 26: SRM n = 10, Placebo n = 16; ≥ 63 years n = 19: SRM n = 13, Placebo n = 6).

Results

Overall there were no significant differences between treatment and placebo change from baseline for immediate or delayed word recall. However subgroup analysis showed significant improvements to delayed word recall in the under 63 year age group (p < 0.0123) with Cohen’s effect size d = 0.92. No adverse effects were observed.

Conclusion

This pilot study indicates that an oral preparation of SRM at the selected dose and for the period of administration is more effective than a placebo in supported verbal episodic memory in healthy subjects under 63 years of age. Short- and long- term supplementation with SRM extract merits more robust investigation as an adjunctive treatment for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and in the general ageing population. The study design proved a simple cost effective trial protocol to test the efficacy of herbal medicines on verbal episodic memory, with future studies including broader cognitive assessment.