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Dementia Su B

There’s an enormous amount of research going on into the various forms of dementia right now.

According to NHS statistics, one in three people over 65 will develop it, and that means we’ll see a huge increase in the next couple of decades as the baby boomer generation moves into this age range. There is no cure, so it’s up to all of us to minimise our risk.

It’s been known for quite a while that using your brain helps to preserve brain power, but recent studies have shown that playing a musical instrument gives you some protection, and so does knowing more than one language. And other studies have shown up some new risk factors, like having dizzy spells, having strange dreams and having had a stroke. Sometimes poor circulation to the head is an obvious factor, but there are so many questions still to be asked, and answered.

On the herbal front, Ginkgo and Rosemary are particularly useful for boosting circulation and quelling inflammation, as well as improving cognitive functioning. We’ve known for a long time that regular moderate exercise helps, and a good varied diet with plenty of vegetables, but new studies have confirmed the importance of oily fish, nuts and seeds.

Turmeric, of course, has come in for a lot of attention, but other herbs and spices play their part too. I’d predict that various foods and herbs will come under scrutiny in the near future, and that the gut bacteria will be found to have a correlation with brain health as well. As always, new answers lead to new questions. In the meantime, there are plenty of useful guidelines here, and they boil down to the usual messages about a healthy lifestyle.

There are no guarantees, of course, but we owe it to ourselves - and to the younger generation who will have to care for us – to do our best to stay well in body and in mind.

EDITOR: Su has an excellent Herb Handbook available to buy directly from her website or from Amazon.

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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