The Story Behind The Formula: Brain Juice
- Published on: 07 September, 2018
- Last update: 03 November, 2020
As you guys know, I created my new line of JUICE herbal formulas to help bring plants into the everyday routines of those who need them most. My goal is to show people how amazing they can feel with consistent use of the herbs that are here to make our lives better daily – rather than only reaching for herbal medicine when you’re symptomatic.
Because of our current medical model, we associate “medicine” solely with those who are sick. And that makes sense, because we’re quite good at managing disease, right? We’ve made some incredible advancements in the last century, all of which have their place.
But my question is, what happens in the time leading up to that disease? All too often, subtle patterns that were recognizable years in advance are caught far too late, because the treatments we focus on are designed to treat a problem that has fully progressed. So many people feel something isn’t right, but are brushed off because on the surface everything looks “normal.” I believe we’re missing a huge opportunity here to nourish, prevent, and repair — to fill in the gap between health care and sick care. I want to show people that herbal medicine is preventative medicine, and the little steps you take each day matter.
THE STORY BEHIND THE FORMULA
I wanted to focus on this aspect of prevention as I introduce the tincture that is most personal to me: BRAIN JUICE.
Cognitive decline, specifically Alzheimer’s disease, is something that runs strong in my family. My mother watched as it took the life of my grandfather, and I’m now watching my mother go down the same path.
Because of this, brain health is something that has become extremely important to me. I am well aware that if I start now with brain-protective measures and lifestyle changes, I have a much better chance of beating the odds.
I created brain juice for both myself and my mother… as well anyone else out there who is either experiencing cognitive issues or wants to get a head start on brain protection with plant medicine.
Ever since my mom’s progression began, I’ve been searching for a supplement that will give her a greater sense of normalcy and clarity, even if those moments are fleeting. My dad gives her coconut oil shakes, choline, b12 and everything else that comes standard with a holistic brain support protocol. The problem is, she is not the biggest fan of chugging MCT oil and doesn’t always stay compliant with her long list of nutrients.
I wanted to make something just for her that would be insanely easy to take, that would taste good, and would check several of the boxes that her others supplements target in case she missed any. I wanted to make her proud and gift her with something that would help lift her brain fog and give her the vitality & motivation to keep going. As I mentioned, it’s difficult to do more than manage a disease once it has significantly progressed, but that’s where herbs can come in for relief, comfort and quality of life support.
Another important aspect for my mother is increasing her circulation (and thus the blood flow that gets to her brain), because she’s also not very keen on exercise due to the depression aspect that comes with all of this. As you’ll see in the list below, several of the herbs I chose specifically increase peripheral circulation, thus improving the amount of oxygen, blood flow and nutrients that get delivered to the brain – similar to what happens with exercise. This helps you feel invigorated, more alert, and able to focus with more concentration. On top of this, I added ginseng, which is a “spleen Qi” adaptogen in Traditional Chinese Medicine meaning it increases energy and fights chronic fatigue. My teacher says the “ginseng person” is one who is chronically exhausted, mentally and physically, and is prone to not wanting to get off the couch. Because ginseng is warming and stimulating, fights depression, and helps with energy and motivation, I added this to the blend to help with her outlook, vitality and motivation so that she is able to exercise more and reap the benefits that come with.
BRAIN JUICE + EXERCISE
In terms of my own brain plan, this formula is just as much for me as it is for her. After dealing with adrenal burnout this year due to pushing myself too hard, my cognition definitely started to suffer. My first step was focusing on sleep so that my brain was able to regenerate properly overnight, and that helped immensely. My next step once I had some energy back was committing to a solid exercise routine that I could stick to, which for me is walking 4-5 miles daily at a track near my house. I do this walk while listening to education podcasts in order to stimulate my mind, and I take brain juice right before my workout.
Why brain juice + exercise? Well, think of it as the perfect “stack.” Both the ginseng in brain juice formula and the act of exercise increase something called BDNF, or brain derived neurotrophic factor. BDNF is often called “miracle-gro for the brain,” as it allows the brain to quite literally grow and modify its cellular infrastructure to allow neurons to fire more easily. Early researchers found that if they sprinkled BDNF onto neurons in a petri dish, the cells automatically sprouted new branches producing the same structural growth required for learning. BDNF improves the function of neurons, encourages their growth, and protects them against the natural process of cell death.
Increasing BDNF is how you keep your brain young and sharp.
Taking brain juice before a workout is a win-win. It not only contains ingredients that increase BDNF, but those same ingredients help you with the motivation and energy to complete the BDNF-increasing exercise in the first place. If exercise alone helps you learn and function better, imagine combining it with a synergistic formula that enhances those effects! This is my favorite way of using this blend, as it gives me energy and focus not only for my workout but for the whole day.
(Other ways to increase BDNF include eating more sea salt & blueberries, exposing yourself to cold/heat stress such as a sauna, getting adequate daily sunshine, intermittent fasting, and cognitive stimulation such as getting into a flow state by writing or reading a great book!)
THE HERBS + THE BENEFITS
My three goals with this formula were to: increase BDNF, enhance peripheral circulation in order to bring more oxygen and nutrients to the brain, and improve cognition and memory. Here’s how each herb in the blend accomplishes those goals!
1. Fresh Ginkgo Biloba Leaf
Did you know that today, European physicians prescribe ginkgo more often than any other herb or drug? This is because it enhances health in three major ways: by improving circulation and oxygen metabolism , by preventing cell damage by free radicals , and by reducing blood clotting. Ginkgo is the best treatment known to the herbal world for inadequate blood flow to the brain caused by weakened blood vessels or impaired circulation. Restricted blood flow to the brain is extremely common among the elderly and is characterized by memory loss, decreased alertness, headaches, and depression. Ginkgo also improves circulation throughout the body, including the brain, by increasing the tone and elasticity of the blood vessels, and that increased cerebral blood flow apparently improves cognition.
2. Gotu Kola
Gotu kola is an herb with a long history of brain building. In Ayurvedic medicine, this herb is called “brahmi”, which means “god-like” or “god-mind,” a reference to its anti-aging properties and to its use as an aid to focus during meditation. Gotu kola strengthens memory, concentration and intelligence, promotes longevity, and nourishes the voice, physical strength and complexion. It is a nerve tonic, rejuvenative (especially for elders), brain tonic, and connective tissue tonic.
This common kitchen herb has a LOT more to share with us than seasoning. The terpenes within rosemary have been shown in recent years to inhibit neuronal cell death induced by a variety of agents (both in vitro and in vivo). Rosemary also helps to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved with memory that is particularly significant in preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Carnosic acid, present in the leaf, has been shown to fight free radical damage in the brain. Energetically it is warming and stimulating, which invigorates blood flow and helps you feel alert!
4. Red Ginseng (Asian)
Ginseng is the king. I added just the right amount to this formula as to not overstimulate your system, but rather awaken your inner fire and motivation. This ingredient is especially helpful for those who are in need of more mental and physical energy, as well as those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome or depression and anxiety. Incredibly, ginseng not only increases BDNF, but also protects against the decreased BDNF expression when you’re exposed to stress. It has a modulating and normalizing effect on the nervous system (including our beloved HPA axis), and improves endurance and athletic performance. Overall it is a killer nootropic that improves overall mental clarity and function… probably my favorite herb in the blend!
HOW TO TAKE BRAIN JUICE
I take 1 full squeeze of the dropper bulb 2-3x a day as needed. I usually consume the first dose 15 minutes before my workout, and if I need an extra boost I’ll take my second as I sit down at my desk to begin work. You can add it to your preworkout drink, use it as a natural study aide, or simply keep it in your “herbal first aid kit” for the days when you’re tired/stressed and can use some extra support. It’s an incredible tool to have on hand as you’ll never know when you need it!
I hope you absolutely love this formula and I can’t wait to introduce the rest.
If you’re interested in buying Brain Juice, check it out here!