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According to Ayurveda, the lymphatic system (or the rasa dhatu) is the first system of the body to be treated. It acts as the body’s major plumbing system to drain waste and carry the body’s immune response to and from every individual system of the body.
A new study has discovered that when people sleep, special lymph channels in the brain called the “glymphatic system” actually open up and drain dangerous neurotoxins from the brain into the cerebral spinal fluid. (1-4) The study suggested it takes about 6-8 hours of sleep to complete the brain drain plumbing process, which is compelling evidence that getting the correct amount of sleep matters.
The study found that the glymphatics are like hidden caves that open during sleep, and, much like the body’s lymphatic system, they drain toxic waste and proteins out of the brain. The study found that copious amounts of neurotoxins are drained during the natural sleep cycles.
The most well-known neurotoxin, called beta-amyloid plaque, is drained through these glymphatics of the brain. The problem is that studies show that the less you sleep, the less these glymphatics can work and the more beta-amyloid accumulates in the brain. The catch-22 is that the more beta-amyloid that accumulates in the brain, the worse you sleep and the worse your memory can become. (5) Beta-amyloid plaque has been indicated in numerous cognitive and memory concerns that are only now starting to be more fully understood. (6-8)
According to Ayurveda, these glymphatics are an understood system and called “tarpaka kapha,” which is the aspect of the kapha dosha that literally drains toxins from the brain into the cerebral spinal fluid. If these channels become congested, the mood can shift, memory can become compromised, and the brain can become foggy. The cause of this imbalance can be emotional trauma or the cumulative impact of stress, lack of sleep, and digestive weakness.
There are many strategies for addressing this imbalance, including nasya – the sniffing of herbalized nasya oil into the sinuses, (9) balancing blood sugar (see my free Blood Sugar Secrets for Health and Longevity eBook), (10) and herbs such as Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri), a known brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which supports healthy brain cells, stable mood, and normal memory function. (11) Another great herbal supplement to consider is Brahmi (Centella asiatica), found in LifeSpa’s formula Brahmi Brain, which has been found to support healthy cerebral microcirculation, mood, sleep and memory. (12)
Is your brain draining properly?