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August 3, 2017
Never forget!
YOU are a spirit-a unique pattern of energized matter that has been created
in the image and likeness of the Creator
Who uses a SOUL-which is the Psyche-the mind and the emotions
To express who and what You are as a Spirit through the physicality of the
The Body and the Soul are tools of the Spirit.
With this in mind, let us examine the Brain and how herbs and foods affect
its various parts and functions
The Five Parts of the Brain

Your brain has many different parts that work together. We're going to talk
about these five parts, which are key players on the brain team:

1. cerebrum (say: suh-REE-brum)

2. cerebellum (say: sair-uh-BELL-um)
3. brain stem
4. pituitary (say: puh-TOO-uh-ter-ee) gland
5. hypothalamus (say: hy-po-THAL-uh-mus)

The Biggest Part: The Cerebrum

The biggest part of the brain is the cerebrum. The

cerebrum makes up 85% of the brain's weight, and it's easy to see why. The

cerebrum is the thinking part of the brain and it controls your voluntary
muscles — the ones that move when you want them to. So you can't dance
— or kick a soccer ball — without your cerebrum.

When you're thinking hard, you're using your cerebrum. You need it to
solve math problems, figure out a video game, and draw a picture. Your
memory lives in the cerebrum — both short-term memory (what you ate for
dinner last night) and long-term memory (the name of that roller-coaster
you rode on two summers ago). The cerebrum also helps you reason, like
when you figure out that you'd better do your homework now because your
mom is taking you to a movie later.

The cerebrum has two halves, with one on either side of the head. Scientists
think that the right half helps you think about abstract things like music,
colors, and shapes. The left half is said to be more analytical, helping you
with math, logic, and speech. Scientists do know for sure that the right half
of the cerebrum controls the left side of your body, and the left half controls
the right side.

The Cerebellum's Balancing Act

Next up is the cerebellum. The cerebellum is at the back

of the brain, below the cerebrum. It's a lot smaller than the cerebrum at
only 1/8 of its size. But it's a very important part of the brain. It controls
balance, movement, and coordination (how your muscles work together).

Because of your cerebellum, you can stand upright, keep your balance, and
move around. Think about a surfer riding the waves on his board. What
does he need most to stay balanced? The best surfboard? The coolest
wetsuit? Nope — he needs his cerebellum!

An important herbal remedy for the healthy functioning of the cerebellum

is known as choline. Choline is similar to vitamin B and can be found in
supplemental form. It is also found in a variety of food sources such as
spinach, cauliflower, eggs, and organ meats.

Brain Stem Keeps You Breathing — and More

Another brain part that's small but mighty is the brain

stem. The brain stem sits beneath the cerebrum and in front of the
cerebellum. It connects the rest of the brain to the spinal cord, which runs
down your neck and back. The brain stem is in charge of all the functions
your body needs to stay alive, like breathing air, digesting food, and
circulating blood.

Part of the brain stem's job is to control your involuntary muscles — the
ones that work automatically, without you even thinking about it. There are
involuntary muscles in the heart and stomach, and it's the brain stem that
tells your heart to pump more blood when you're biking or your stomach to
start digesting your lunch. The brain stem also sorts through the millions of
messages that the brain and the rest of the body send back and forth.
Whew! It's a big job being the brain's secretary!

When the brain stem is having problems, the sufferer might have physical
coordination difficulties along with other difficulties such as sensing,
swallowing, and speaking. So, it is important to get the herbal remedies and
nutrients crucial to its healthy function. Rhodiola (also known as golden
root, rose root, and arctic root) is one known herbal remedy beneficial to
the brain stem.

Pituitary Gland Controls Growth

The pituitary gland is very small — only about the size of

a pea! Its job is to produce and release hormones into your body. If your
clothes from last year are too small, it's because your pituitary gland
released special hormones that made you grow. This gland is a big player
in puberty too. This is the time when boys' and girls' bodies go through
major changes as they slowly become men and women, all thanks to
hormones released by the pituitary gland.

This little gland also plays a role with lots of other hormones, like ones that
control the amount of sugars and water in your body. And it helps keep
your metabolism (say: muh-TA-buh-lih-zum) going. Your metabolism is
everything that goes on in your body to keep it alive and growing and
supplied with energy, like breathing, digesting food, and moving your blood

Hypothalamus Controls Temperature

The hypothalamus is like your brain's inner thermostat

(that little box on the wall that controls the heat in your house). The
hypothalamus knows what temperature your body should be (about 98.6°F
or 37°C). If your body is too hot, the hypothalamus tells it to sweat. If you're
too cold, the hypothalamus gets you shivering.
Both shivering and sweating are attempts to get your body's temperature
back where it needs to be.

Now that we have looked at the various parts of the physical brain, let us
make a closer examination of the cognitive sections of the brain and how it
relates to health and healing

Frontal Lobe

The frontal lobe is the last portion

of the brain that fully develops and is not fully “grown” until after a person
passes from adolescence into adulthood. This portion of the brain is also
the largest. The hub of neurons that reside there are considered to be
responsible for decision making, analytical thought, language, conscious
movement and conscious thought.

An underdeveloped frontal lobe is the cause of a teenager’s notoriously

risky behavior and impulses because this part of the brain is still trying to
strengthen the existing neurons. If the neurons are weak and improperly
sending signals to other parts of the brain, then the brain cannot send
signals of potential emotional or physical harm to the rest of the body.

This is the part of the brain that is being studied the most in terms of the
use of natural medicines

Herbal remedies

1. Introduction
The traditional Shaolin Buddhism training required the practicing monks to
be fluent in Shaolin Kung Fu, Chanwu (martial arts that focus on training Qi

and Mind), and a unique healing method, Chanyi (healing approach based
upon the principle of unblocking Qi and clearing orifices). The
term Chanwuyi (Chan, martial arts and medicine) has been created to
describe the uniqueness of this training. The last author of this article is a
Shaolin monk who has been practicing Chanwuyi for over 20 years and is
renowned in China for having treated many patients with illnesses that
seemed untreatable. Some empirical studies have been conducted to
evaluate the effectiveness of this method [1, 2] and found positive effects. The
first author has also reviewed many cases and interviewed many of the last
author’s patients including late-stage cancer patients, patients with stroke
and children with mental retardation. These patients demonstrated various
degrees of improvement, including improved motor function, reduced
obsessive behavior and improved life expectancy. One of the treatment
methods used by the last author was a herbal formula developed by himself
and his master based upon the Shaolin healing principle of clearing the
orifices, according to which all openings of the body are orifices and the nose
is the most important orifice in healing illnesses. Therefore, the herbal
formula, in the form of liquid drops, is administered through the nasal
cavities for clearing this major orifice.
Initial clinical observations on the herbal nasal drop on patients with
different brain disorders, including patients with brain tumor, mental
retardation and schizophrenia, have found positive effects. This is especially
encouraging as no western drug intervention is presently available for
cognitive impairment resulting from brain disorders. Patients being
administered the herbal remedy have demonstrated 20%–80%
improvement in their conditions [3]. We have been using this herbal nasal
drop on patients with different brain disorders for 1 year, and the results are
very encouraging.

For instance, one patient who has demonstrated frontal lobe dysfunction for
almost 3 years resulting from epilepsy and stroke has received the herbal
nasal drop treatment for 4 months. At baseline, this patient demonstrated
many signs of frontal lobe dysfunction including (i) expressive difficulty (i.e.,
at most three words per conversation), (ii) impairment in comprehension
(i.e., could only execute one-component command), (iii) irritability and bad
temper (i.e., uncooperative on tasks) and (iv) blunt affect (i.e., no emotional
response to praise or reprimand). After a 4-month treatment with the herbal
nasal drop, he showed improvement in communication (COM) and social-
and-cognitive (SOC-COG) abilities, as measured by the subscales of the
Functional Independence Measure (FIM) [4]. His score increased from 5/14

to 7/14 (40% increment) in the COM subscale and from 4/21 to 7/21 (75%
increment) in the SOC-COG subscale. Specifically, after the intervention, his
verbal expression was improved and he could produce up to five words per
conversation and could execute four-component commands. Overall, his
quality of life, as measured by the Quality of Life Index (QoLI) [5], has
improved from 3 to 7.5 out of 10 points.

Initial clinical observations on the herbal nasal drop on patients with

different brain disorders, including patients with brain tumor, mental
retardation and schizophrenia, have found positive effects. This is
especially encouraging as no western drug intervention is presently
available for cognitive impairment resulting from brain disorders. Patients
being administered the herbal remedy have demonstrated 20%–80%
improvement in their conditions

While administering herbal medicine through the nose has been advocated
in the traditional Shaolin medical approach, the use of nasal administration
of drugs has received increasing attention in the Western medical literature
during the last decade. Accumulating evidence shows that administration of
drugs through the nasal cavity is especially effective in delivering drugs to
the brain [36–38]. An animal study showed that administration of a variant
form of dopamine in the right nasal cavity of mice was associated with
detection of concentration 27 times higher in the right than the left
olfactory bulb [39]. Evidence from human studies also suggested that nasal
administration of drugs facilitated the delivery of drugs to the brain. For
example, radioactivity in the brain was observed 5 min after the nasal
administration of a radioisotope in one study [40], and accumulation of
insulin was found in the cerebral spinal fluid after nasal administration of
insulin in another study [41]. One study reported that event-related
potentials in the brain were changed by nasal administration of drugs [42].

 Ginkgo Biloba
In Western medicine, ginkgo is receiving attention for its potential role in
the treatment of memory disorders and dementias, especially Alzheimer's
disease. It may also be effective in alleviating blood vessel diseases, most
notably poor circulation to the lower legs (intermittent claudication). Other
uses being studied are dizziness (vertigo) and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
The pharmacological effects of ginkgo that may be responsible for its
benefit in these disorders include antioxidant activity, inhibition of platelet
aggregation and vasodilation.
 Ginseng
Asian ginseng is native to China and Korea and has been used for many
centuries. True ginsengs include Asian ginseng and American ginseng. An
herb called Siberian ginseng or eleuthero (Eleutherococcus semiosis) is not
a true ginseng.
 Huperzine A (Qian Ceng Ta)
Huperzine A, or qian CEng ta, is an extract from Chinese club moss
(Huperzia serrata) that has been used for treating dementia and
myasthenia gravis in China. It is promoted in the US as a memory-
enhancing supplement.

1. Periwinkle (Catharanthus)

Madagascar Periwinkle or “Vinca” contains more than 400 active alkaloids.

Vinca improves blood supply to the brain which increases the oxygen and
glucose available for your brain to perform well. Vincristine, found
in Periwinkle, is known to counter the decline in intellectual and academic
abilities due to cancer-causing agents in children. The alkaloids in
Periwinkle also raise levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

2. Ginseng (Panax)

Ginseng (Asian Ginseng, Oriental Ginseng, or Siberian Ginseng) is

an adaptogenic herb used to help resist stress and boost energy,
concentration, and mood — without the negative effects found in
stimulants like caffeine. Ginseng can improve memory and attention,
lengthen mental and physical endurance, and ease anxiety. Ginseng has
been used as a natural alternative to synthetic ADHD and ADD
medications, with fewer side effects.

3. Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

Gotu Kola is used to improve memory, concentration, and mental

performance. This herb is another known adaptogen, which means it can
lower stress. Stress affects your brain’s ability to process information and
think clearly. Physical stress responses such as shallow breathing and even
frowning causes the brain to release cortisol, which is detrimental for brain.
Gotu Kola can help minimize your stress response, which in turn boosts
mental performance.

4. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)


Rosemary is known as the “herb of remembrance,” and is used in

aromatherapy for improving memory, concentration, and mental
clarity. 1,8-cineole, the chemical constituent of the plant is responsible for
this effect, and it becomes more concentrated when produced in essential

This scent of Rosemary has been shown to improve speed and accuracy in
mental tasks. In one study, the more 1,8-cineole was absorbed by a
participant through smelling rosemary the higher they scored on tests.

5. Ginkgo Biloba (Ginkgophyta)

Many studies show Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) to be beneficial for improving

memory and concentration; and can also help regenerate brain cells.

This herb improves cognitive function especially when used together with
Ginseng. In a study by David Kennedy at Northumbria University,
researchers found marked improvements to mental performance and speed
when completing tasks.

If you’re taking blood thinning medications please check with your doctor
before ingesting; Ginkgo can cause brain bleeding if the two treatments are
used together.

6. Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis)

Yerba Mate is a shrub that can be used to stimulate the mind, increase
concentration, and ease depressive moods. Studies found positive effects on
learning and memory from consuming Yerba Maté tea; reserpine, one
constituent of the tea, demonstrated the ability to improve short-term

7. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum)

St. John’s Wort is an herb often used as a supplementary treatment for

mild to moderate depression. The herb has been shown to promote

relaxation and relieve tension headaches — which in turn helps you to


8. Golden Root (Rhodiola Rosea)

Golden Root (also known as Arctic Root, Roseroot, or Rhodiola Rosea) is

another potent adaptogen that helps lower cortisol. Expert Zakir
Ramazanov notes in his book, Rhodiola Rosea for Chronic Stress
Disorder that in reducing chronic stress responses, users will experience
increased physical energy, and improvements in cognitive function.

9. Parsley and Thyme

Adding herbs like parsley and thyme to your diet it may help boost your
brainpower. This is due to a flavonoid, apigenin, found in these herbs. The
flavonoid is also found in other plants like chamomile, and vegetables
like celery and red pepper. In a recent paper published in the
journal Advances in Regenerative Biology, scientists found
that apigenin boosts neuron formation and creates strong connections
between brain cells.

10. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)

Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) also known as water hyssop, is an Ayurvedic

herb native to the wetlands of six continents. It has been utilized used by
Indians for thousands of years.

Acting as a “micronutrient” Ayurvedic therapies known

as Ramayana, which included Brahmi, were shown in studies to “retard
brain aging and help in regeneration of neural tissues” while also
“producing an anti-stress, adaptogenic and memory enhancing effect.”
In another study (using female rats), the long term consumption of
bacosides (a class of chemical compounds in the plant) was shown to
promote healthy brain aging.

Another herbal remedy used to boost function in this area of the brain is
galantamine. It works in your brain’s frontal lobe to boost the

neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is necessary for healthy cognitive

functions, attentiveness, reasoning, and memory. It is especially effective
when combined with B vitamins and choline.

Parietal Lobe
The parietal lobe is responsible for collecting the five senses – sound, sight,
touch, taste and smell – to create a total awareness of what is currently
happening. It interprets the data sent from other various data gathering
areas of the brain that cannot connect the dots individually.

The parietal lobe helps to create awareness of one’s environment: who,

what, where, and when through touch, pressure, pain, and spatial attention.

The neurotransmitter acetylcholine is of utmost importance for optimum

functioning in the parietal lobe. When considering herbal remedies for this
area of the brain, you want to focus on optimum levels of acetylcholine. For
this, there are the herbal supplements club moss, lemon balm, and snow

Occipital Lobe
Located in the back of the brain, the occipital lobe is used mainly for
collection of visual data and stimuli, which is sent to the parietal lobe for
conscious processing.

The type of information collected by this portion of the brain includes

colors, motion of objects, and visual orientation.

A study was done in Sagamu, Nigeria to determine the association between

visual problems and occipital lobe health. The study in the Nigerian
Postgraduate Medical Journal referred to a 61-year old Nigerian male
subject who complained of headaches at the front part of his head for the
previous five years. He died during the study and the autopsy showed blood
vessel problems in the occipital lobe as well as the left parietal lobe.
Healthy blood flow and the right amount of minerals are important to
optimum function in this part of the brain. Gingko biloba is an excellent
herbal remedy for promoting blood flow and you can get the essential
minerals you need through food sources or supplements high in calcium
and magnesium. Both of these minerals promote neurotransmitter levels
that are crucial to stable brain impulses.

Temporal Lobe
The temporal lobe is mainly responsible for memory and can encompass a
surprising amount of functions. These functions include recognition of
facial features, recognition of a face he or she has seen before, recognition
of objects, understanding words, and language structure.

Prosopagnosia, a brain injury to the temporal lobe, can cause an inability

among some people to remember the faces that they see. This makes it
impossible for them to recognize their family, friends or even themselves in
a mirror.

Some of the herbal remedies that are beneficial to this area of the brain are
St. John’s Wort, valerian root, gotu kola, ginseng, and rosemary. Folic acid
is also known to be beneficial and vitamin B is especially important for
healthy temporal lobe processing.


The primary structures within the limbic system include the amygdala,
hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, and cingulate gyrus.
The amygdala is the emotion center of the brain, while the hippocampus
plays an essential role in the formation of new memories about past

Joseph Troncale M.D. Where Addiction Meets Your Brain

Your Lizard Brain

The Limbic System and Brain Functioning

In 1954, the limbic cortex was described by neuroanatomists. Since that

time, the limbic system of the brain has been implicated as the seat of
emotion, addiction, mood, and lots of other mental and emotional
processes. It is the part of the brain that is phylogenetic ally very primitive.
Many people call it “The Lizard Brain” because the limbic system is about
all a lizard has for brain function. It is in charge of fight, flight,
feeding, fear, freezing-up, and fornication.

The limbic system is much more powerful than we humans credit it to be.
While seeing a patient this morning, there was wonderment on the patient’s
part about how she relapsed. She had been doing everything “right,” but she
had some time on her hands and mysteriously found herself in the liquor
store and subsequently drinking. I do not for a second think that she was
trying to be deceptive about her amnestic trip into the store to buy vodka.
After she drank, she called for help and got back into treatment, but she
was still mystified at her behavior.

What we know from a lot of research of the brain is that this type of
unexplainable behavior happens all the time, and not just to addicts. It is
just that addicts have more consequences for their actions in situations
such as this. If one were to poll individuals about “unexplainable”
behaviors, there would be a lot of stories if people would be honest. How

many times have we done something that we said we would not do, eaten
something that we said we would not eat, and said something that we said
we would not say? We all know that it is a very extensive list and it happens
every day.

The point to all of this is that 12-step recovery recognized (before the limbic
system was described) that we all have this tendency to do what we don’t
want to do and we are powerless about certain b
ehaviors. Understanding this automatic behavior allows us to surrender to
what we cannot control. It frees us to do the next right thing by staying in
the present rather than worrying about the future or being shamed and
experience guilt about the past. It takes practice. And more practice.

I always tell patients who are in recovery that if they feel like they are
emotionally “in the groove” that it is likely they are in trouble. “The groove”
is the comfortable place in your limbic brain that gets you into trouble. It is
ok to experience the emptiness of life, the pain of the moment, and the
discomfort of relationships. There is no need to anesthetize the discomfort.
Working through it is the only path to growth and sobriety.

So, what DOES work for the Lizard Brain to stabilize and recover from
Automatic Negative Thoughts and Thinking.
A thought is a presentation of information in your mind formatted in a
readily acceptable form
THINKING is allowing that thought or thoughts to play out in your mind
and then accepting the emotional and physical consequences of that
As Martin Luther said, “Having a bird fly over your head is not the same
thing as allowing it to build a nest in your hair”


1. All or nothing – These are the ANTs that infest your brain when you
think everything is good or all bad. It is the same as black or white
thinking. If you stick to your exercise plan for a month, you think you
think you are the most disciplined person on the planet. If you miss a day
at the gym, you think you have no discipline and give up and go back to
being a coach potato. A better approach is to acknowledge that you didn’t
do your daily workout and then get back on track the following day. One
slip up doesn’t mean you should give up entirely.
2. Always thinking – This is when you think in words that over generalize,
such as always, never, every time or everyone. Consider some of the
thoughts such as “I will never lose weight,” “I have always had a sweet
tooth – I will never be able to stop eating chocolate,” This kind of thinking
makes you feel like you are doomed to fail at eating right and staying
healthy. It is as if you have no control over your actions or behaviors.
3. Focusing on the negative – This ANT makes you see only the negative
aspects of situations even when there are plenty of positives. “I know I lost
10 pounds, but I wanted to lose 15, so I’m a failure” is an example of this
type of thinking. Focusing on the negative makes you more inclined to give
up on your efforts. Putting a positive spin on this same thought – “wow!” I
lost 10 pounds. I’m on my way to my goal of 15 pounds” – encourages you
to keep up the good work and makes you feel pretty good about yourself.
4. Thinking with your feelings – “I feel like my skin is never going to
clear up.” Thoughts like this occur when you have a feeling about
something and you assume it is correct, so you never question it. Feelings
can lie too. Look for evidence. In this example, schedule an appointment
with a dermatologist to find out if there’s anything you can do to improve
your skin.
5. Guilt beating – Thinking in words like “should”, “must”, “ought to”, and
“have to” are typical with this type of ANT, which involves using excessive
guilt to control behavior. When we feel pushed to do things, our natural
tendency is to push back. That doesn’t mean that guilt is all bad. There are
certainly things in life that we should and shouldn’t do if we want to have
the best body possible: “I want to eat the chips and guacamole at the party,

but I should have the raw carrots instead” or “I feel like staying in bed, but
I should do my workout.” Don’t mistake these for guilt beating ANTs.
6. Labelling – When you call yourself or someone else names or use
negative terms to describe them, you have a labelling ANT in your brain. A
lot of us do this on a regular basis. You may have said one of the following
at some point in your life; “I’m a loser”; “I’m a failure”; or “I’m lazy.” The
problem with calling yourself names is that it takes away your actions and
behaviors. If you are a loser, a failure, or lazy, then why bother trying to
change your behaviour? It is as if you have given up before you have even
tried. This defeatist attitude can be ruinous for your body.

Beware of the red ANTs

These last three ANTs are the worst of the bunch. I call them the
red ANTs because they can really sting.
1. Fortune-telling – Predicting the worst even though you don’t know what
will happen is the hallmark of the fortune telling ANT. Examples include:
“I just had a biopsy I am sure it is cancer”. Nobody is safe from fortune
telling ANTs .
2. Mind reading – When you think that you know what somebody else is
thinking even though they have not told you, and you have not asked
them, it is called mind-reading. Listen carefully to the other person before
trying to predict what they have to say.
3. Blame – Of all the ANTs, this one is the worst. Blaming others for your
problems and taking no responsibility for your own successes and failures
is toxic thinking. For example: “It is your fault I’m out of shape because
you will not go with me to exercise.” Whenever you begin a sentence with
“it is your fault…” it ruins your life. These ANTs make you a victim. When
you are a victim, you are powerless to change your behavior. Quit blaming
others and take responsibility for your actions.

Kill the ANTs – Become aware of your moment-to-moment thoughts and
consciously work with them to choose your beliefs and actions. Your goal is
to notice, challenge, and choose your thoughts before your mind believes it
and body reacts to it, and before they affect your relationships, work, and
other areas of your life. This is the practice of mindfulness.

3 steps to kill those ANTs

1. Write it down. When those automatic negative thoughts start tumbling
around in your mind, write them down to clearly identify them.

2. Investigate. Ask yourself, are these thoughts even true? Uninvestigated

thoughts can lead us to act in harmful ways.
3. Talk back. If you discover that these negative thoughts are false, talk back
to them! Tell these thoughts you know they aren’t true!
Practice these steps each time you feel automatic thoughts entering your
brain. By labeling, investigating, and then talking back to your automatic
negative thoughts, you’ll turn your mind into “an ANT ghost town.”

Surround yourself with people who provide positive

bonding – The attitudes of others are contagious. Amen writes,
“The mood and thoughts of others directly affect your limbic system. How
our deep limbic system functions is essential to life itself. Spend time with
people who enhance the quality of your limbic system rather than those
who cause it to become inflamed.”
Protect your children with limbic bonding – One study found that
teenagers who had deep limbic bonds with their parents, felt loved and
connected, had significantly lower teen pregnancies, drug use, violence, and
suicide. Amen suggests spending 20 minutes per day with a child, doing
something they want to do, during which you notice the good and do more
listening than talking.
Build people skills to enhance limbic bonds – Research has shown
that stronger emotional bonding improves the function of the limbic
system, as in mother and child or life partners. Make your relationships a
priority. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions, make it a point to
communicate and deal with problems as they arise, make time for,
appreciate, and look for the good in your relationships.
Recognize the importance of physical contact – Your limbic system
is involved in physical bonding as well as emotional. Touch is essential to
life and being deprived of human touch alters a baby’s developing brain.
Touch is similarly crucial to an adult brain and the healing power of touch
has been noted irrefutably. Touch your children or your partner. Give hugs.
Give or get a massage.
Surround yourself with great smells – Your limbic system processes
your sense of smell. Smells cause your brain to produce neurochemicals
and hormones that balance and regulate bodily systems. Pleasing smells

affect your brain and moods positively. Diffuse essential oils. Take a
scented bath. Surround yourself with flowers.
Build a library of wonderful memories – Your limbic system stores
highly charged emotional memories – both happy and sad. Depressed
people tend to recall memories consistent with their mood, which
causes the release of neurochemicals and reinforces depressive brain
circuits. By making the effort to remember positive things, you can induce
different chemical patterns and tune into happier mental states. Make a go-
to happy memory list, including vivid details down to feelings and smells.
Move your body – Physical exercise can be very healing to your brain and
limbic system. In How Exercise Helps Your Brain, I write:
Research is showing that physical exercise improves mood, memory,
attention, creativity, and learning and reduces depression, age related
decline, and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Support your limbic system – Your limbic system and brain need a diet
with an ample supply of good fats, proteins, and complex carbohydrates.
Consider supplementing. Amen recommends l-tryptophan, inositol (from
the B vitamin family), tyrosine, and dl-phynylalanine, and that you check
with your doctor before taking.
Consider limbic medications – Antidepressant medications can help
normalize limbic system activity. For best results, combine with other

HERBS for the Limbic system

The Limbic System and our sense of smell

Synthetic vs. Real I believe we are blocking off the ability for our limbic
system to evolve due to society’s economic structure. Over the years, our
Earth has been plowed up and filled with roads, buildings and man-made
structures. Cities are being built and nature has suffered. We have created a
synthetic environment. The true, pure environment of nature where flowers
bloom and trees grow tall is increasingly scarce. We are lacking Green! We
rarely smell anything real and genuine anymore, only synthetic and this is
why the limbic system has not evolved. We have not nourished it. We have
deprived it of Mother Gaia and her natural healing abilities and bombarded
it with synthetic man-made perfumes, smog, pollutions, car exhaust, etc.
We cannot grow in such an un-natural environment; this is not how we
were intended to live. We are suppressing our innate abilities by living in a

synthetic world. But alas, this is our society now and it’s not realistic for
most to escape it and take up a new home in a more natural setting.

What can we do? We can ignite the limbic system by introducing the
“real” back into our lives. Immerse yourself in nature whenever
possible. Essential oils are an excellent way to re-awaken the limbic
system. Essential oils are extracted from all different types of plants. They
can be extracted from leaves, flowers, stems, twigs, fruit, roots, and bark. A
bottle of essential oil has a life force and vibrational rate which is unique.
Essential oils are very powerful and work on all levels: the physical,
emotional and spiritual. They may be applied in several ways, the most
popular being inhalations, compresses, bath or massage.

Essential Oils for Limbic System Support


Single Oils
Frankincense — supports healthy cellular function; crosses the blood-
brain barrier.*
Melissa — Lessens stress and promote emotional well-being.
Patchouli — Provides grounding and balance emotions; can cross the
blood-brain barrier.
Rosemary — Helps reduce nervous tension and occasional fatigue*;
enhances cognitive performance, memory and mental alertness.
Sandalwood (Aloes) — promotes optimal brain function; crosses the
blood-brain barrier.
Spikenard — can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Thyme — promotes a sense of alertness.
Vetiver — Is rich in sesquiterpenes, which gives it a grounding effect; can
cross the blood-brain barrier.

NOW, let’s talk about Brain Dope. These are the chemicals your body
makes in response to thought patterns that fire through your neutral
pathways in your brain.

Some of them are negative in both cause and effect:

Hi Everyone
False negative emotions, a term coined by one of my teachers, Julia Ross, are
caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. True
negative emotions are genuine responses to challenges and difficulties that
arise in our life. They are feelings of loss, disappointment, abuse, a shame,
etc., arising from the past or present. We grow from feeling and dealing with
these types of emotions and situations. They are a natural response to life.
False negative emotions cause all sorts of problems that we want to eliminate
from our life.
You might be tipped off that you are feeling false emotions because:
1) These emotions have no identifiable cause.
2) You just feel a low level of blues, hopelessness or anxiety.
3) You have been unsuccessful in resolving depression, anxiety, sadness,
even with years of therapy.

4) You have problems sleeping through the night.

A neurotransmitter is a chemical messenger in the brain that carries, boosts,
and modulates signals across gaps or synapses of brain cells and between
other cells in the body. Most neurotransmitters are made from protein or its
subunits, amino acids. Serotonin, dopamine and GABA are
neurotransmitters that are essential for a positive, calm, happy outlook and
a sense of well-being.
When Neurotransmitters are out of balance (or when receptors on cells
responsible for receiving neurotransmitter signals are impaired) they have a
significant impact on our mood and behavior.
When we are deficient in specific neurotransmitters a number of emotional
symptoms are likely:
 Deficits in serotonin can lead to depression, aggressiveness, anxiety,
panic attacks, food and alcohol cravings, irritability and insomnia;
 Deficits of dopamine include depression, stress, mental exhaustion,
fatigue, low sex drive and low motivation;
 Noradrenaline is important for alertness, concentration and attention.
Deficits of noradrenaline have been linked to depression;
 Deficits in GABA can lead to feelings of anxiety.
Brain cells need three things to survive and be healthy:
1. Oxygen (so exercise daily);
2. Glucose (the brain uses 20-25% of all the glucose we take in as food);
3. Stimulation – Neurotransmitters help to keep your brain cells healthy
by stimulating them. Stimulation of brain cells lead to ATP production,
this is the energy that runs all the billions of functions in your body.
False Negative Emotions: What To Do
If you are deficient in a particular neurotransmitter you will experience very
specific emotions, sleep patterns and cravings. You can increase the amount
of a particular neurotransmitter in your brain by taking some amino acid
supplements. I have been doing this work with clients for 6 years with great
If you suspect you might be feeling false emotions due to imbalanced brain
chemicals, my recommendation is to start with the following suggestions
prior to embarking on a specific amino acid protocol.
1) Eat 4 oz of protein (about a chicken breast size of meat) three times per
day. Or eat 40-50 grams of protein per day of you are a woman or 50-60
grams if you are a man. Write down your menu of a few typical days’ diet,
then Google “protein content of foods” and check to see if you are getting
enough protein.

2) Make sure you are either eating a ton of veggies to get your vitamins and
minerals, or supplement what veggies you do eat with a good Multi
Vitamin. Neurotransmitters are made from protein but they need “Co-
Factors” ( B Vitamins, zinc etc.) to facilitate their cross-over to other brain
3) Take Omega 3’s (fish oil, flax seed oil) because the brain needs Omega 3
to make Neurotransmitters.
Here are some reasons, and I am sure there are more, why you may be
experiencing an imbalance of neurotransmitters:
1) Genetics- take a good look at your family members. If most of them are
anxious or depressed, this may point to a genetic deficiency in one or more
of the neurotransmitters.
2) The standard American Diet- does not supply the proper nutrition
needed to turn food into neurotransmitters and co factors.
3) Dieting or eating Disorders- you may not be eating enough protein and
vitamins because you are dieting or restricting food intake.
4) Prolonged Stress will deplete neurotransmitters.
5) Toxic substances like heavy metals, pesticides, illicit and some
prescription drugs can cause permanent damage to the nerves that make

SO-always check your chemistry before you get into your psychology.

12 Effects of Chronic Stress on Your Brain

By Deane Alban

Chronic stress increases the stress hormone cortisol and affects

many brain functions, putting you at risk for many mood
disorders and other mental issues.

Stress is an unavoidable part of modern life.

There are two main kinds of stress — acute stress and chronic stress — and
not all stress is bad for you.

Acute stress is the reaction to an immediate threat, commonly known as the

“fight or flight” response.

Once the threat has passed, your levels of stress hormones return to normal
with no long-lasting effects.

Some degree of acute stress is even considered desirable as it primes your

brain for peak performance. (1)

But chronic stress — the kind most of us face day in, day out — is a killer.

90% of doctors’ visits are for stress-related health complaints. (2)

Chronic stress makes you more vulnerable to everything from cancer to the
common cold. (3)

The non-stop elevation of stress hormones not only makes your body sick,
it negatively impacts your brain as well.

When stress becomes chronic, it changes your brain’s function and even its
structure down to the level of your DNA. (4)
The Dangers of Cortisol

Before we look at the many ways chronic stress affects your brain, we need
to talk a little bit about stress hormones.

Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) and norepinephrine are stress

hormones produced on an as needed basis in moments of extreme

They help you think and move fast in an emergency.

In the right situation, they can save your life.

They don’t linger in the body, dissipating as quickly as they were created.

Cortisol, on the other hand, streams through your system all day long, and
that’s what makes it so dangerous.

This stress hormone has been called “public enemy #1.” (5)

Excess cortisol leads to a host of health problems including weight gain,

osteoporosis, digestive problems, hormone imbalances, cancer, heart
disease, and diabetes. (6, 7, 8)

Chronic stress takes a toll on adrenal glands.

It can leaving you feeling exhausted and wired but tired. (9)

Weight gain, mood swings, poor sleep, short attention span, and memory
issues are common signs of stress due to elevated cortisol. (10)
The Effects of Chronic Stress on Your Brain
While stress and cortisol take a toll on your body, they take an equally high
toll on your brain.

Some of these brain-related stress symptoms will be obvious to you, like

memory problems, anxiety, and worry.

But most of these effects of stress on your brain are “behind the scenes.”

You don’t notice they’re happening but you will notice the side effects …

Here are 12 ways chronic stress impacts your brain health and mental well-
being along with simple steps you can take to counteract the damage.
1. Stress creates free radicals that kill brain cells.
Cortisol creates a surplus of the neurotransmitter glutamate. (11)

Glutamate creates free radicals — unattached oxygen molecules — that

attack brain cells much in the same way that oxygen attacks metal, causing
it to rust. (12) Free radicals actually punch holes in the brain cell walls,
causing them to rupture and die.

Stress also indirectly contributes to other lifestyle habits that create more
free radicals.

If stress causes you to lose sleep, eat junk food, drink too much alcohol, or
smoke cigarettes to relax, these are contributing to your free radical load.
2. Chronic stress makes you forgetful and emotional.
Memory problems may be one of the first signs of stress you’ll notice. (13)

Misplaced keys and forgotten

appointments have you scrambling, further adding to your stress.

If you find all this stress is making you more emotional too, there’s a
physiological reason for this.

Studies show that when you’re stressed, electrical signals in the brain
associated with factual memories weaken while areas in the brain
associated with emotions strengthen. (14)
3. Stress creates a vicious cycle of fear and anxiety.
Stress builds up an area of your brain called the amygdala.

This is your brain’s fear center.

Stress increases the size, activity level and number of neural connections in
this part of your brain.

This makes you more fearful, causing a vicious cycle of even more fear and
stress. (15)
4. Stress halts the production of new brain cells.
Every day you lose brain cells, but every day you have the opportunity to
create new ones.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that’s integral in

keeping existing brain cells healthy and stimulating new brain cell

It can be thought of as fertilizer for the brain.

BDNF can offset the negative effects of stress on the brain. (16)

But cortisol halts the production of BDNF resulting in fewer new brain cells
being formed. (17)

Lowered levels of BDNF are associated with brain-related conditions

including depression, OCD, schizophrenia, dementia, and Alzheimer’s
disease. (18)
5. Stress depletes critical brain chemicals causing depression.
Your brain cells communicate via chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Chronic stress reduces levels of critical neurotransmitters, especially

serotonin and dopamine. (19, 20)

Low levels of either of these neurotransmitters can leave you depressed and
more prone to addictions.

Serotonin is called the “happy molecule.”

It plays a large role in mood, learning, appetite control, and sleep.

Women low in serotonin are prone to depression, anxiety, and binge eating.
(21, 22, 23)

Men, on the other hand, are more prone to alcoholism, ADHD, and impulse
control disorders. (24, 25)

Dopamine is the “motivation molecule.”

It’s in charge of your pleasure-reward system.

Too little dopamine can leave you unfocused, unmotivated, lethargic, and

People low in this brain chemical often use caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and
illicit drugs to temporarily boost their dopamine levels.

Serotonin-based depression is accompanied by anxiety and irritability,

while dopamine-based depression expresses itself as lethargy and lack of
enjoyment of life. (26)
6. Stress puts you at greater risk for mental illnesses of all kinds.
The root cause of most mental illnesses is not yet understood.

If answers are ever found, the causes will most likely be a complex variety
of factors.

Recent research has discovered physical differences in the brains of people

with stress disorders.

Their ratio of the brain’s white matter to gray matter is higher. (27)

Stress predisposes you to developing a variety of mental illnesses including

anxiety and panic disorders, depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, bipolar
disorder, drug addiction and alcoholism. (28, 29, 30)

7. Stress makes you stupid.

Stress can cause your brain to seize up at the worst possible times — exams,
job interviews, and public speaking come to mind. (31)

This is actually a survival mechanism.

If you’re faced with a life and death situation, instinct and training
overwhelm rational thought and reasoning.

This might keep you from being eaten by a tiger, but in modern life this is
rarely helpful.

Stress impairs your memory and makes you bad at making decisions.
(32, 33)

It negatively impacts every cognitive function. (34)

8. Chronic stress shrinks your brain.
Stress can measurably shrink your brain.

Cortisol can kill, shrink, and stop the generation of new neurons in
the hippocampus, the part of your brain that stores memories.

The hippocampus is critical for learning, memory and emotional regulation,

as well as shutting off the stress response after a stressful event is
over. (35, 36)

Stress also shrinks the prefrontal cortex.


This negatively affects decision making, working memory, and control of

impulsive behavior. (37)
9. Stress lets toxins into your brain.
Your brain is highly sensitive to toxins of every kind.

The blood-brain barrier is a group of

highly specialized cells that acts as your brain’s gatekeeper.

This semi-permeable filter protects your brain from harmful substances

while letting needed nutrients in.

Stress makes the blood-brain barrier more permeable, in effect making it

leaky. (38)

This lets things into the brain you don’t want there such as pathogens,
heavy metals, chemicals, and other toxins.

Having a leaky blood-brain barrier is associated with brain cancer, brain

infections, and multiple sclerosis. (39)
10. Chronic stress increases your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
One of the most worrying effects of stress on the brain is that it increases
your risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is the #1 health fear of American

adults, even more so than cancer.

Alzheimer’s is now the sixth leading cause of death.


One in three US seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or other forms of

dementia. And it’s the most expensive disease in the country. (40)

There is no simple “magic bullet” to prevent Alzheimer’s.

Common sense advice includes eating a healthy diet low in sugar and high
in brain-healthy fats, getting physical exercise, not smoking, staying
mentally active, avoiding toxic metal exposure, and minimizing stress.
(41, 42)

It’s been found that stress, particularly stress that occurs in midlife,
increases risk of Alzheimer’s.

Anxiety, jealousy and moodiness in middle age doubles your risk of

developing Alzheimer’s. (43)

Chronic stress and elevated cortisol contributes to dementia in the elderly

and hastens its progression. (44)
11. Stress causes brain cells to commit suicide.
Stress leads to premature aging on a cellular level, causing cells in both
your body and your brain to commit suicide prematurely.

To understand how this happens, we need to take a look at a part of your

chromosomes called telomeres.

You may recall from high school biology that when a cell divides, it passes
on the genetic material to the next cell via chromosomes.

Telomeres are protective endcaps on our

chromosomes similar to the plastic tips on shoelaces.

(Telomeres are shown in contrasting colors to the rest of the chromosome

in this image.)

Every time a cell divides, the telomeres get a little shorter.

When they reach a critically shortened length, they tell the cell to stop
dividing, acting as a built-in suicide switch.

Subsequently the cell dies.

Shortened telomeres lead to atrophy of brain cells and longer telomere

length leads to the production of new brain cells. (45)

Telomere length may be the most important indicator of biological age and
disease risk.

Some researchers believe it’s a better predictor of your risk for age-related
diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer than
conventional diagnostic tools. (46)
12. Chronic stress contributes to brain inflammation and depression.
A little-known fact is that the brain has its own immune system.

Special immune cells called microglia protect the brain and spinal cord
from infections and toxins.

Unfortunately, a microglial cell has no on or off switch, so once it is

activated, it creates inflammation until it dies.

Chronic stress is one of the factors that increases the risk of activating
your microglia, thus producing brain inflammation.

It’s generally believed that depression is caused by serotonin deficiency, but

there’s a growing body of evidence that brain inflammation is the
root cause of depression instead.

This theory is called the “cytokine model of depression.”


Activated microglia produce cytokines — proteins that turn on

the inflammation response in the brain. (47, 48)

Cytokine production is linked to depression including major depressive

disorder and risk of suicide. (49)

It’s also associated with anxiety, memory loss, and inability to concentrate,
as well as some serious disorders including schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, and
Alzheimer’s. (50, 51)


Just reading that made me feel stressed out. Time to read about our HAPPY

Hacking Into Your Happy Chemicals:

Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, & Oxytocin

You might not have a money tree, but you can have a happiness tree.
Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Endorphins are the quartet
responsible for your happiness. Many situations can trigger these
neurotransmitters, but instead of being in the passenger seat, there are
ways you can intentionally cause them to flow.

Being in a positive state has significant impact on your motivation,

productivity, and wellbeing. Here are some simple ways to hack into your
positive neurochemicals:


Dopamine motivates you to take action toward your goals and gives you a
surge of reinforcing pleasure when achieving them. Procrastination, self-
doubt, and lack of enthusiasm are linked with low levels of dopamine.
Studies on rats showed those with low levels of dopamine always opted for

an easier option, and less reward/food; those with higher levels of

dopamine exerted the effort needed to receive double the amount of food.

Break big goals down into little pieces. Rather than only allowing your brain
to celebrate when you’ve hit the big finish line, you can create a series of
little finish-lines for frequent dopamine release. And it’s crucial to actually
celebrate—buy a bottle of wine, or head to your favorite restaurant
whenever you meet a small goal.

And avoid the dopamine hangover — when you slump after a massive high.
Create new goals before achieving your current one. That ensures a
consistent pattern for experiencing dopamine. As an employer and leader,
recognize the accomplishments of your team. Sending your team an
encouraging email or giving a small bonus is a “dopamine-hit” that will
increase future motivation and productivity.


Serotonin flows when you feel significant or important. Loneliness and

depression are present when serotonin is absent. It’s why people fall into
gangs and criminal activity—the culture and ‘community’ facilitate
serotonin release. Unhealthy attention-seeking behaviors are also a cry for
what serotonin provides. Princeton neuroscientist Barry Jacobs explains
that most antidepressants focus on the production of serotonin.

Reflecting on your past achievements allows your brain to re-live the

experience. Your brain has trouble telling the difference between what is
real and what is imagined, so it produces serotonin in both cases. Gratitude
practices are popular for this reason, they are reminders and mental
pictures of all the good things you’ve experienced. If you need a serotonin
boost during a stressful day, take a few moments to reflect on your past
achievements and victories.

Another way to boost your serotonin levels is to have lunch or coffee

outside and expose yourself to the sun for twenty minutes; your skin
absorbs UV rays which promotes Vitamin-D and serotonin production.
Although too much ultraviolet light isn’t good, some daily exposure is
healthy for boosting your serotonin levels.


The release of oxytocin creates intimacy, trust, and strengthens

relationships. It’s released by men and women during orgasm, and by
mothers during childbirth and breastfeeding. Animals will reject their
offspring when the release of oxytocin is blocked. Oxytocin
increases fidelity; men in monogamous relationships who were given a
boost of oxytocin interacted with single women at a greater physical
distance than men who weren’t given any oxytocin. Oxytocin is the glue that
binds together healthy relationships.

Often referred to as “the cuddle hormone,” a simple way to keep oxytocin

flowing is to give someone a hug. Dr. Paul Zak explains that inter-personal
touch not only raises oxytocin, but reduces cardiovascular stress and
improves the immune system. Rather than just a hand-shake, go in for the
hug. Dr. Zak recommends eight hugs each day.

Giving someone a gift, will also cause their oxytocin levels rise. You can
strengthen work and personal relationships through a simple birthday or
anniversary gift.


They often resemble drugs in our systems


Endorphins are released in response to pain and stress, and helps to

alleviate anxiety. The surging “second wind” and euphoric “runners high”
when running are a result of endorphins. Similar to morphine, it acts as an
analgesic and sedative, diminishing your perception of pain.

Along with exercise, laughter is one of the easiest ways to induce endorphin
release. Even the anticipation and expectation of laugher e.g. attending a
comedy show, increases levels of endorphins. Taking your sense of humor
to work, forwarding that funny email, and finding several things to laugh at
during the day is a great way to keep your endorphins flowing.

Aromatherapies: the smell of vanilla and lavender has been linked with the
production of endorphins. Studies have shown that dark chocolate and
spicy foods will cause your brain to release endorphins. Keep some scented
oils and dark chocolate at your desk for a quick endorphin boost.


As you can see the brain is the organ that translates the will of the spirit
into physical reality through the interaction of the thoughts and the
reactions of the body. This produces emotions which helps speed the
reaction of our bodies to our thoughts.

By using herbs on the inside that help to balance brain chemistry, promote
circulation and oxygen to brain tissue and cancel out the stress chemicals
that we produce in our brains when we’re upset, we can better cope and
control ourselves and our reactions to the world around us.


1) Memorize the Four Positive Hormones on what they are,

what they do in the brain, what decreases them, what
increases them and have two natural substances and two
actions that cause them to increase.
2) Memorize the ANTS list. Start looking for them in your
thought life. How do these ANTS impact you? How can
they impact the people you want to help?
3) Learn How to Kill ANTS
4) Learn how to trace a thought. I was taught this when I was a kid and it
helped me learn how to keep darkness out of my head. You simply stop a
thought pattern in the middle of it and ask: How did this get into my head?
Look back at the thought that came before it and so on until you find what
triggered it in the first place. Was it a smell? A taste? Something that
someone said? Find the trigger, write it down and bring it in for next week.