Memory entails retention of the knowledge of an event and the power to recall. There are some 600 million nerve cells in the brain united together with numberless fibres into countless combinations which constitute what we call our memory. The fibres connecting the cells are known as association fibres; they provide the link between two objects and their knowledge. Sound memory depends on the rational grouping of ideas of things in the mind, so that one may call upon the other. The man who ponders most over the occurrences of his daily life will, other things being equal, has the best memory. But no training will make up for a deficiency of nerve cells and, association fibres, which are inborn characteristics.
Causes and Symptoms: Memory may be impaired by concussion of the brain or by certain diseases. Old age or senile degeneration of the brain and its cells may lead to loss of memory. Temporary loss of memory, in which the patient forgets even his own identity, may be the result of an injury. These instances are, however, multiplied in film and fiction more thin in reality.
Medicines & Prescriptions: Ayurveda has remedies which can improve the power of retention and recall of events, which are, in essence, what we know as the capacity for memory. The drug Brahmi is popularly used for improvement of memory. Both its varieties, Matsyaksi (Bacopa monnieri) and Mandukaparni (Centella asiatica) are equally useful in Promoting memory. An ounce of the juice of the plants is given to the patient on an empty stomach twice daily. Brahmi is boiled in cow's ghee and the ghee attains the qualities inherent in the drug. A teaspoonful of the ghee is given twice daily to the patient on an empty stomach; if he is emaciated, the medicine is given with a glass of warm milk and sugar.
Another remedy commonly used in cases of weak memory is the root of Vacha. One teaspoonful of the powdered root of the plant is given twice daily with honey and cow's milk. Almond oil and preserve of amla are also useful.
Diet and Other Regimen: A nourishing diet with lots of fruits and vegetables should be taken.
The patient should remain free of worry and live amidst pleasant surroundings and companionship. According to yogic procedures, meditation for some time also helps in improving the memory.