In Ayurveda, clarity of the mind, awareness, and neurological channels is key when it comes to our memory functioning properly. Mind channels that are free from obstruction and a mind that is not confused leads to us experiencing things as they actually are. This, in turn, means our memory will function as it is supposed to, allowing us to properly recall our past rather than regressing into forgetfulness or ignorance.

So, how do we get mental clarity and defend our self against a deteriorating memory?

Ayurveda sets out various ways for us to optimise our memory and mental health throughout our lives. And as Ayurveda is ideally a preventative medicine, it shows us ways of maintaining this health so we don’t fall into disrepair. Dementia and mental disturbance don’t come about overnight, and there are protocols for us to follow to protect ourselves.

Step 1: Keep the Channels Clear 

Ayurveda, first and foremost, needs to know that our channels are working properly. This begins with our digestion.

  • Is the food we eat being properly metabolised?
  • Are we eating foods that suit our system? 
  • Are we eating proper combinations of food?

If the answer is no to any of these questions, then there is likely toxicity circulating in our digestive system. This leads to a toxic sludge lining our channels, meaning nutrients are not being absorbed, and we are not getting rid of waste as we should be. 

Ayurveda knows that we all have our weak areas, and our constitution, aka prakruti, or innate combination of doshas, points towards these weaknesses. When our digestion is out of whack, these weak areas get weaker, and then the doshas get dislodged and start causing havoc.

Now, we can see how the trajectory towards imbalance begins… 

This imbalance could eventually lead to a muddled mind and memory. 

We keep imbalance at bay by doing panca karma therapy (which is the hardcore Ayurvedic cleansing that needs to be done at a good clinic, is not for everyone, and can take up to 30 days) and seasonal cleanses, knowing what foods suit us, and what we should be avoiding. 

Step 2: Rejuvenate with Herbal Support 

Once we are confident our digestion is on track and there is no sludge lining our channels, we can dig and work a little deeper. 

  • Rasayana: This is the art of rejuvenation. After we’ve cleansed, we need to rebuild healthy tissues and cells. There are various ways of doing this, but taking a daily dose of Chyawanprash is an easy way of doing this at home. 
  • Protecting the body and mind from dryness: Vata dosha is at the root of most mental disorder (including anxiety), and vata is dry. Dryness is akin to depletion. As we get older, we are prone to getting drier, and a primary quality of memory impairment is dryness in the brain and mind channels. Ghruta or ghee, is Ayuvreda’s favourite fat and has this magical quality called sukshma. In Sanskrit, sukshma means subtlety, and any substance that has this quality can penetrate into the microchannels. Ghruta or ghee, with all its moisturising brilliance, can pass the blood-brain barrier, leading to the nourishment of these cells and channels of the nervous system. It is a wonder medicine for the mind and memory. Ghee is even used to treat Epilepsy, which is a neurological disorder leading to seizures and blacking out. 
  • Herbs to support the nervous system, brain, mind and memory: Ayurveda has a wealth of herbs that help nourish our neurology and, therefore, memory, including: 
    • Brahmi (Bacopa monniera) may be my favourite Ayurvedic herb, with leaves that look like a brain; it’s a wonder balm for the mind. It regulates the nervous system, allows our mind to remain clear and bright, helps us focus, supports our digestive system, and helps keep our channels clear. It can even improve our meditation. I would advise you to speak to an Ayurvedic practitioner before taking it, though, to work out the appropriate timing, medicinal combination, and amount. 
    • Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) also has brain-like leaves and is a wonderful tonic for the mind. It is also a diuretic and cooling herb that is a prime tonic for pitta (pitta can lead to frustration and a hot head, so this can help regulate).
    • Ashwagandha (Withania somniferia) is also a medhya or brain booster. It is said to rejuvenate the mind, support the memory, and enhance cognition and intellectual function. Again, I would suggest seeking professional advice to know how to take this herb. 
    • Although these herbs are available individually (for example, in capsules or powder form), it’s much easier to consume them together in a supplement like PIOR Living Mind. This rejuvenative botanical formulation contains four classes of organic and wild-harvested herbs and is specifically designed to enhance memory and overall cognitive function.

      Note: Ayurveda recommends taking ghee with the above herbs in order for these medicines to travel deeper into our bodies and nervous system. 

      Step 3: Yoga and Self Practice

      Astanga Yoga is the Sanskrit term for the Eight Limbs of Yoga. These eight limbs set out how we can deeply take care of our body and mind. They include self-discipline and practice, movement or asana, breathwork (aka pranayama), and meditation.

      Learning how to cultivate a deep practice of this mind and body support system is the ultimate tool for maintaining a great memory. I suggest joining an asana yoga class and getting thorough guidance via an excellent teacher of pranayama breathing and meditation. Mantra therapy is also the means to maintaining a trouble-free mind.

      By Selina Van Orden 

      Selina Van Orden is an Ayurvedic Physician based in the UK, for more information or to book a consultation please visit
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