There is so much to do and remember these days, it is little wonder premature memory loss is not uncommon.

Many of us find prolonged stress and too much work causing lack of concentration, memory loss and even personality changes.

Dramatic alterations in memory and neurotransmitters are found in senile dementia, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

The fundamental cause of dementia is reduced circulation in the brain due to thickened arteries.

As a result, some brain cells die, taking some of the memory and concentration with them.

The neurotransmitter chemicals dopamine and serotonin can also be affected.

Smoking and other drugs can speed up the onset of memory loss, as can prolonged anxiety, grief and negative emotions.

Some very expensive drugs have recently come on the market for the treatment of senile dementia.

The effects are variable but can help prevent the progression of loss of memory and concentration.

Some herbal formulations also claim to improve memory.

I have been looking at the evidence for some of the Ayurvedic herbal formulations used to improve memory, concentration and personality. They are described in ancient Ayurvedic medical texts and have been used in India for centuries.

Smriti Rasayans (memory rejuvenators), as they are called, include indigenous Indian herbs like Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri), which is taken by millions of people in India to promote good memory and circulation.

Recent extensive clinical and experimental trials in postgraduate medical and drug research institutes in Lucknow, Benares and Madras show that Brahmi "not only arrests further loss but also slows down the process of subsequent reduction in senile dementia".

The herb has been shown to arrest memory loss due to normal ageing.

Brahmi is a fascinating herb which has been said to improve brain and peripheral circulation, improve mood, promote positive personality and behaviour and to help reduce fits in epilepsy.

Along with another herb called mucuna pruriens, it has also been shown to help Parkinson's disease.

Intensive studies are being carried out in medical institutes in the USA and India to evaluate this.

This herb is an economical option for the treatment and prevention of memory loss and dementia and is very safe, without any side effects.

Based on traditional claims and evaluated clinical evidence, an Ayurvedic formulation is available which is prescribed extensively in India for dementia.

It is important, however, to consult an Ayurvedic doctor for advice before you start taking this herb.

Additionally, an holistic lifestyle with exercise, yoga or Tai Chi, wholesome living, pranayam or deep breathing exercises, a healthy vegetarian diet and emotional stability are also essential for preventing premature ageing.