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How To Clear Brain Fog and Fatigue with Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

The concept of brain fog is associated with the feeling of being tired, less sharp, and a mentally sluggish. Though it does not have a formal medical definition, most people are familiar with its symptoms. As the world continues to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, about 1.3 million people in the UK are struggling with long Covid. This is when Covid symptoms last longer than four weeks. Along with heart palpitations and shortness of breath, another common symptom of long Covid is brain fog and fatigue. Thankfully, there are a number of options to treat these feelings of tiredness and fatigue. Read on to learn more about Chinese medicine for brain fog.

Causes of Brain Fog and Fatigue

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM views brain fog as a lack of Qi and blood.

The kidneys both produce and store fluids which are referred to as essence or Jing. In addition, the kidneys also govern the vascular system, heart, and brain. Since the kidney essence works to modulate the brain, when that is not happening properly, the brain will not be receiving sufficient amounts of energy. The result is poor cognitive function which is more commonly known as brain fog and tiredness. In fact, many who struggle with chronic kidney disease also report feelings of mental impairment.

Another side effect of poor kidney function is dampness. If the kidneys are not working well, they will not be able to properly circulate fluids which can lead to phlegm. Phlegm in TCM is characterised by its heaviness and it is associated with slowing down bodily functions. If phlegm accumulates in a particular part of body for a long time, it would result in infection and disease.

The spleen also plays an important role in brain function. The spleen uses essential nutrients from food to generate Qi and blood. It governs thought and other brain activity. When insufficient blood flow throughout the body, the brain lacks the appropriate amount of Qi and blood, the result can be a reduction in brain function along with feelings of brain fog and fatigue.

Long-COVID Brain Fog : It is not just caused by mental fatigue, but also caused by lack of oxygen supply to our brain. In TCM, it is important to stay on top of kidney function and take steps to strengthen the blood and Qi, improve oxygen supply.

TCM views brain fog as a lack of Qi and blood
The kidneys both produce and store fluids which are referred to as essence or Jing, it governs the vascular system, heart, and brain.
When insufficient blood flow throughout the body, the brain lacks the appropriate amount of Qi and blood, result in reduction in brain function along with feelings of brain fog and fatigue.

Chinese Medicine for Brain Fog

In Chinese Medicine, common brain fog treatments include both acupuncture, acupressure and integrating herbs in your daily routine. 

Acupuncture 

Acupuncture for brain fog has been used in TCM for thousands of years, acupuncture has been shown to reduce cognitive impairment. A study out of the Department of Psychology and Psychiatry at the Nanjing Medical University in China used acupuncture to treat breast cancer patients who reported brain fog as a side effect of chemotherapy. The study found acupuncture has an effect on brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels (BDNF). The BDNF gene is responsible for creating proteins that are found in both the spinal cord and brain. This protein helps nerve cells to thrive and mature. Patients were treated with acupuncture daily for five straight days over two 4-week periods. Those patients reported a reduction in cognitive impairment over the course of their treatment.

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Acupressure 

Stimulating certain acupressure points may help to improve brain activity.

  • Acupressure Point DU20: Stimulating DU20 can relieve arterial pressure and cerebral abnormalities. To locate, fold the ear forward and draw a line from the fold to the top of the head.
  • Acupressure Point KI1: Kidney 1, also known as KI1, is located about a third of the way down on the foot between the bottom of the second toe and heel. Applying pressure to this point will stimulate kidney energy and can result in improved memory.
  • Acupressure Point DU26: Stimulating DU26 can result in a restoration of consciousness. D26 is located right below the center of the nose above the upper lip. Apply pressure to these points for three minutes each day to improve the symptoms of brain fog and tiredness.
Acupressure Point DU26: Apply pressure to these points for three minutes each day to improve the symptoms of brain fog and tiredness.
Acupressure Point KI1: Applying pressure to this point will stimulate kidney energy and can result in improved memory.

Herbs to Reduce Brain Fog

Traditional Chinese Medicine uses a variety of herbs that are helpful in reducing brain fog and fatigue.

  • Astragalus for brain fog and fatigue

Known by its scientific name Astragalus membranaceus, TCM practitioners refer to this herb as Huang Qi. It is a of heteropolysaccharide that is derived from the stems and dried roots of a flowering plant which is native to Asia. Certain extracts from this herb have been shown to provide protection against some neurodegenerative diseases. A study by the Department of Pharmacology at Anhui Medical University showed great improvement to both memory impairment and learning thanks to the use of Huang Qi.

  • Ginkgo Biloba for brain fog and fatigue

 Extracted from the dried leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba tree, this herb is used to reduce the symptoms of cognitive decline and vascular dementia. Studies have reported that Ginkgo Biloba can improve working memory in those struggling with brain fog. It works to improve a variety of cognitive processes in people of all ages.

  • Red Sage (Salvia) for brain fog and fatigue

 Sometimes referred to as Red Sage or Dan Shen, Salvia miltiorrhiza is an antiviral herb that is native to China. It works to increase the blood flow and improve circulation to the brain. It invigorates the blood and works to clear dampness by encouraging urination. Dan Shen even works to regenerate and repair brain tissue.  

  • Reishi Mushroom for brain fog and fatigue

 Often called Ling Zhi or by its scientific name of Ganoderma Lucidum, reishi are dark mushrooms which feature a woody texture. They are so effective that they are sometimes called the “herb of spiritual potency”. Studies have shown that when incorporated as part of a daily diet, reishi mushrooms are an effective brain fog treatment as they can improve cognitive abilities.

Conclusion

Chinese medicine for brain fog offers a number of natural, drug-free options to help improve the symptoms of fatigue and tiredness. Acupuncture is effective in reducing cognitive impairment. Acupressure can be done at home in as little as three minutes a day. In addition to these ancient practices, there are a number of medicinal herbs that will also help to alleviate brain fog. If you are looking for relief from sluggishness, fatigue, or even just feeling tired and run down, speak with your healthcare practitioner about using Chinese medicine for brain fog.

Products in this Article

Astragalus

Astragalus herb supplements (Huang Qi) has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. This powerful herb can be added to your daily routine to strengthen the immune system, increase stamina, strength, and vitality. 

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Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a widely used and top selling herbal tablet. Ginkgo biloba herb is extracted from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree and is known for its memory and concentration boosting benefits. 

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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