The Myth of Brain Tonics by Pallavi Bhattacharya SignUp
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The Myth of Brain Tonics
by Pallavi Bhattacharya Bookmark and Share
 

The SSC and HSC examinations in March in Mumbai heightened the parents’ ambition to see their children excel actually prompting them to rush to the chemists to buy brain tonics. Sheefali Mathur, mother of an SSC candidate told The Asian Age, “I was worried about my child in the beginning of the year as she failed to score good marks in the test series. Looking at her inability to memorize important lessons during the examination, we consulted the doctor who prescribed an Ayurvedic medicine.”

Lured by the advertisements of specially the Ayurvedic brain tonics promising no side effects the sales of brain tonics have increased manifold in Mumbai. Confirms Santosh Ghorpade, pharmacist of Rolex Chemists in Marine Lines, “Previously only one or two bottles of the Sankhapushpi Baidyanath syrup were sold every month. During exam time two bottles were sold in a week. Parents with high school children were the buyers. Since brain tonics are mainly Ayurvedic a prescription is not needed to procure the medicine.” Brain tonic manufacturers claim that these medicines improve memory and enhance learning ability by increasing protein kinase activity and new protein synthesis, relieves the mind from strain and stress, decreases diversion of attention and distraction and makes the mind sharp and alert.

No medical research has proved that these brain tonics really work. Rather than getting into brain tonics it is necessary for parents to have a more positive and lighter approach towards their children’s exams. Instead of stressing on marks they should stress on the holistic overall development in the child’s personality, social skills and performance as an all rounder.
– Dr. Zirak Marker


Kabra SG of Medline however has a different perspective; “Manufacturers of "brain tonics" claim that tonics improve children's performance in examinations. Not only are the research findings debatable, but there are other considerations that do not support use of supplementation to increase reasoning performance. The tonics, which contain an excess of vitamins in the daily requirement, are excreted in the urine rather than being stored in the body. Vitamins are also costly and are available to only 30% of the India's population. Production of vitamins such as B-12, B-1, or B-2 are in excess of the amount required if there were vitamin deficiencies. The assured benefit of consuming extra vitamins and minerals is in lining the economic pockets of tonic manufacturers and traders with money.”

Agrees Dr.Zirak Marker, consultant child / adult psychiatrist and psychotherapist, “No medical research has proved that these brain tonics really work. Rather than getting into brain tonics it is necessary for parents to have a more positive and lighter approach towards their children’s exams. Instead of stressing on marks they should stress on the holistic overall development in the child’s personality, social skills and performance as an all rounder. Parents should not show their anxiety and stress with regards to the examination in front of the child. Prolonged use and high dosage of herbal brain tonics may have side effects. The herbal mood enhancer St.John’s Wort is known to increase clotting time in a person’s blood.”

There however are parents in Mumbai who don’t administer brain tonics to their children. Says Manjusree Roychowdhury, mother of a teenaged girl who took the HSC examination this year, “Advertisements of brain tonics have not prompted me to buy them as I have no assurance that these tonics are beneficial. I never had brain tonic as a student and will never give it to my daughter during her exams. To alleviate stress I chat with my daughter during study breaks and turn on soothing music for her.” 

27-Mar-2005
More by :  Pallavi Bhattacharya
 
Views: 1564
Article Comment hi, i am in sy bca (software engineering) previously i was also not aware of such tonics and my parents never pressurized me for marks or ranks i was a good learner and student and always a ranker in my class but my performance started getting worst from my 10th std now i am finding difficulties to score even 50% and i have started taking brain tonics can you help me regarding my bad academic performance and also i do take part in extra curricular activities and tried to win it and i was able to do that but the same way i think i can do this time atleast 50% in my studies but i am not able to do that .
bhavisha
11/22/2013
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