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Herbs and spices are packed with antioxidants that help protect your brain cells from aging and defend against the damage caused by toxins.
Herbs and spices are packed with antioxidants that help protect your brain cells from aging and defend against the damage caused by toxins.

Health, Dr. Mao, Santa Monica, Columnist

Simple Brain Boosters From Your Pantry: Dr. Mao's Wellness Central

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Posted Jun. 16, 2013, 9:03 am

Dr. Mao Shing Ni / Mirror Columnist

Are you feeling foggy in your mind as spring leads into summer heat? This Brain and Vision Blend recipe will enhance your cognitive function and brighten eyesight with tasty antioxidant herbs and spices.

Read on to learn how the spices in your cupboard – such as cloves, rosemary, sage, and turmeric – can improve your health and longevity!

Brain and Vision Spice-and-Herb Blend

The herbs and spices in this blend are packed with antioxidants that help protect your brain cells from aging and defend against the damage caused by toxins. 

This recipe – among nine other herbal blends for common conditions – comes from my new book “Secrets of Longevity Cookbook.” 

Simply mix in equal amounts:

– dried rosemary

– dried sage

– dried mint

– turmeric

– ground cinnamon

– ground cloves

– garlic powder

There’s no need to measure these spices and herbs precisely, but I recommend using equal amounts of each spice in dried and ground forms.

You can use a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder (that you use only for herbs and spices) to grind these.

The consistency of the finished spices should be a dark powder.

Store the blended spices in an airtight, glass jar to protect the volatile oils for six months to a year.

Add this blend to your meals just as you are finishing cooking the dish – about one minute before you turn off the heat.

Sprinkle in your soups, stir-frys, fish and veggie dishes, and bean and grain dishes.

Spotlight on four brain & vision boosting herbs

These herbs have plenty of health benefits in store for you!

One caveat: if you are on medication, speak with your physician to make sure these herbs aren’t interfering with your treatment. 

Cloves contain antioxidant compounds. 

Don’t put this cold season companion spice in the back of your cupboard just yet!

Cloves are an amazing source of antioxidants and abundant phenol compounds, which help combat toxins and the gradual damaging processes that result in cell aging.

Support for cellular health translates to a younger brain and healthy eyes.

Also, research suggests that a compound found in cloves called eugenol functions as a platelet inhibitor, which may help protect you from stroke associated with blood clots. 

Rosemary protects from free radical damage. 

Rosemary is also extremely high in the anti-inflammatory substances and antioxidant compounds that protect your bodily tissues from free radical damage.

One antioxidant, carnosic acid, has been singled out for its ability to promote eye health and to protect the tissues of the brain.

More research is being conducted to investigate this antioxidant’s promising role in the prevention of degenerative brain issues like age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s.

On its own, rosemary can be a helpful digestive aid for settling your stomach.

This is a great herb to grow in your kitchen window, whether you want to cook with fresh needles, or hang upside down to dry out and add to a spice and herb blend. 

Sage advice for brain and vision health. 

Clary sage was once used by the Romans as an eyewash to clear the vision.

Native Americans put white sage seeds into their eyes and rolled under the eyelids to cleanse the eyes.

You may not be putting seeds in your eyes anytime soon, but there are many benefits to including sage in your diet, far beyond its delightful flavor.

Research has found that sage contains acetylcholinesterase-inhibiting compounds that appear to reduce some of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

With its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, sage combats the inflammation that is often linked to cognitive decline, and it has been suggested that sage can also improve memory.

Drink sage tea on its own for a brain and vision boost, or sprinkle this spice blend into your dishes.

Turmeric’s curcumin combats plaque. 

This tasty, orange spice appears frequently in curry dishes, and boasts anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-tumor properties.

 A chemical called curcumin is being studied for its positive effect on the brain.

Recent research points to curcumin as an inhibitor of toxic beta-amyloid plaque; in fact, this substance may even help break down and remove this plaque from the brain, which is great news for those susceptible to Alzheimer’s.

The anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin help reduce cholesterol levels and optimize insulin function, which both promote the healthy functioning of brain cells. 

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit

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