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Alternative Therapies for the Head Injury Survivor

Therapeutic Herbs and Supplements

By Robert Brown, M.ED

    Prescription drugs that improve memory and other cognitive functions may not exist.
If a deficit of memory is among the residual effects of the TBI, following are some herbs that can be of therapeutic value, research: Gotu Kola, Siberian Ginseng, Ginkgo biloba, Wild Oats, Fo-Ti, Peppermint Leaf and Rosemary leaf.

Amino acids are important in the production, availability and utilization of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides

Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter that performs several important functions in the brain, among which are helping memory to take place, facilitate muscle coordination, manufacture of cell membranes and metabolization of fats and cholesterol. An adequate supply of Acetylcholine is required for the impulses to take place between nerves, muscles and organs. Choline and Vitamin B5 are the major precursors for the natural biosynthesis of Acetylcholine. Logic dictates that these nutrients should be an important part of any TBI recovery program. Choline and B5 can be added to the nutrients taken with the noon meal. Acetylcholine is also available in supplement form and can be taken in place of Choline. Research both and decide which may be best for you.
    Nutrients may be the only way to go in the actual treatment of memory and other cognitive function deficits.
Other nutrients that are important in the improvement of cognitive processes including learning and memory are, (research): DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol), Phosphatidylserine, Vinpocetine, Pyroglutamate, Tryosine, Pyridoxine, Acetyl L-Carnitine, Galantamine. All of these nutrients are naturally occurring substances. Information on where to find and use them is readily available in bookstores and health food stores. Knowledge is the most important tool in helping an individual to recover from a TBI. Knowledgeable individuals in the successful treatment of TBI-related deficits can be found, but are rare. As an advocate, you will become knowledgeable and successful in the use of alternative therapies and the individual for whom you are advocating will be the better for it.

If anger management, anxiety, frustration or depression are some of the residual effects of a TBI, the following herbs are among those that will have therapeutic effect, (research): Kava Kava, St. Johnswort, Passionflower, Gotu Kola, Schezandra, Siberian Ginseng, Wild Oat Seed, Stinging Nettle, Calamun Root, Prickly Ash Bark. All of the herbs listed are natural and if used properly, can be very effective.

The following naturally occurring nutrients will also have a therapeutic effect in managing anger, anxiety, frustration, confusion or depression, (research): Pregnenolone, Tryosine, L-Phenylalanine, 5-HTP, Acetyl L-Carnitine.

Pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for the treatment of deficits in cognitive functioning may be ineffective. A drug prescribed to help an individual think more clearly and be less confused can be marginally effective and can also cause the individual to become more paranoid, anxious and agitated. Drugs to facilitate an improvement in cognitive reaction time can be amphetamines which can negatively affect intelligence. Drugs to treat seizures can cause an individual to experience a profound lack of cognitive energy and some anti-seizure drugs have been linked to cognitive functioning degeneration. Prescription drugs may not exist that can help to improve memory. Modern medicine does not have a good inventory of prescription pharmaceutical drugs that can effectively treat the symptoms caused by TBI. Doctors who will prescribe alternative therapies for TBI symptoms are very rare. Individuals who have suffered TBI need advocates that care for them and can help them receive effective treatment and therapy. Alternatives work well and will help. Become knowledgeable.

About this Contributor: Robert Brown, M.ED, ia a behavior specialist, teacher, rehabilitation services coordinator, and author. Brown has more than 10 years experience working with people with traumatic brain injuries (including stroke), 13 years post secondary teaching, 30 years experience studying, using and helping others to use alternative health practices.

Note from Robert Brown: I am experienced and successful in working with people that have suffered a TBI. I am knowledgeable of many of the (conventional) therapies and many alternative therapies that can be effectively used in the treatment of injuries to the brain. You can become a knowledgeable effective advocate for an individual that has suffered an injury to their brain. This is critical if the individual is you and you are advocating for yourself.

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