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Bacopa (lunuwila)  …the smart drug –

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by Emme Haddon

Nootropics, from Greek, meaning “mind-turning”, promote both brain function and brain health, protecting against cognitive decline, whilst boosting mental and physical performance. Often referred to as ‘smart drugs’, they can either be synthetic or natural herbal extracts which improve concentration, memory, motivation, attention and promote creativity.

The new millennium ushered in an era of mass brain fascination. In the early 2000s, Ryuta Kawashima’s Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain, sold over a million copies in Japan and in 2006 Nintendo’s Brain Age game, advertised with the slogan “Getting the most out of your prefrontal cortex”, sold 120,000 copies in its first three weeks of availability. In 2008, Reuters called brain fitness the “hot industry of the future.”

In 2011, Bradley Cooper starred in Limitless, a movie about a man who takes a special pill and becomes smarter and more capable than anyone else on Earth. The film mainstreamed the idea of ‘genius in a bottle’ that was taking hold among Silicon Valley biohackers and human optimization zealots.

Today the nootropic market is responding to the demand for a “real Limitless pill” from students, programmers, young bankers, entrepreneurs, athletes and senior citizens with products such as BrainGear which promises “a clearer brain today” and “a stronger brain tomorrow,” and KeenMind which supports memory, concentration and learning retention, to stay focused and productive.

A Google search on the best nootropics will bring up Bacopa monnieri, either as an ingredient in a “nootropic stack“, a smart drug containing a combination of brain-boosting ingredients, or as a natural, adaptogenic, nootropic herb which boosts brain function and mental performance. Bacopa monnieri, commonly referred to as bacopa or water hyssop in English, is one of two extremely powerful nootropic herbs, rather confusingly, known as “brahmi” in Sanskrit – the other being gotukola.

Bacopa is known to improve spatial learning, the ability to process information, the ability to retain information, the speed of processing of visual information, memory, learning rate and attention. The bioactive components of bacopa are known to play a significant role in neuroprotection. It is particularly useful in age-related memory impairment and also helps reduce the symptoms of the neuro developmental disorder, ADHD, such as restlessness, poor self-control, inattention, and impulsivity whilst improving cognition.

Numerous double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials studies have demonstrated multiple anti-Alzheimer’s Disease mechanisms: it has been shown to reduce amyloid plaque A?40 & A?42 levels in the brain by approximately 60%, inhibit tau-mediated toxicity, reduce ROS and neuro-inflammation, and improve cognitive and learning behaviour.

It has also demonstrated neuroprotective potential against other disorders including epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Bacopa acts as a vasodilator and increases the blood circulation towards the brain with an upsurge in vital nutrients, energy, and oxygen, and mitigates the inflammatory responses and modulate neurotransmitter concentrations in the brain.

Bacopa, known as lunuwila in Sinhala, is a perennial creeping herb that grows in damp soils and marshes in Sri Lanka, India and many other warm, tropical parts of the world. In Sri Lanka it is frequently served in sambols and curries and is available as a fresh cut leaf vegetable in many supermarkets. It is highly revered as an Ayurvedic “medhya rasayana“, a herbal therapeutic that boosts memory, restores cognitive deficits and improve mental function.

It has been used for centuries in many Ayurvedic adaptogenic herbal formulations which support the physical function of the brain and nervous system and to treat conditions such as lack of concentration, anxiety, stress, poor cognition, epilepsy, and loss of memory. It has a bitter – sweet taste and cooling action that balances the pitta dosha and brings strength, tone, and rejuvenation to the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems.

It is used in the treatment of gout, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions; for bronchitis, sinusitis, excess mucus and phlegm; and rejuvenates and treats skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, abscesses, ulceration and reduces the appearance of scars. It is also a popular hair tonic used to repair damaged hair follicles and to promote hair growth.

In addition to it benefits as a nootropic, research suggests that bacopa’s active class of compounds, bacosides, may also have cancer-fighting properties. Test-tube studies have shown bacosides to inhibit the growth of breast, skin, colon and brain tumor cells. Bacopa helps regulate blood sugar levels, particularly in patients with diabetes, has also been shown to suppress the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, molecules that stimulate an inflammatory immune response, and inhibits enzymes which play key roles in inflammation and pain. The antioxidant compounds of bacopa strengthen the immune system against bacterial and virus infections and other pathogens.

The nootropic market was valued at USD 2.42 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 6.29 billion by 2028 with entrepreneurs, professionals, senior citizens and students, looking for something to give them the edge needed to perform at their best. The bacopa market size was valued at $315 million in 2019, and is forecast to reach USD 1.08 billion by 2028.

With an increasing ageing population, competition in the workplace and school, there is a huge market potential for bacopa, alone or in combination with other adaptogens and nootropics such as gotukola, tulsi and ashwagandha.



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Fashion’s new order

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From fashion weeks without shows to brands abandoning the traditional schedules, Covid-19 has thrown the industry into a state of flux.

by Zanita Careem

As the pandemic spread and its impacts grew, business world-wide shifted their priorities. The virus has crept almost into every industry including the fashion industry.

It was a hard toll on the industry; fashion weeks got cancelled and major retail departmental stores closed for weeks and months.

The fashion industry is likely to see a shift from consumer spending in large department stores and choosing independent shops. The reason is because social distancing is a necessity. The pandemic slowdown affected the industry, the new normal made consumers to show down their purchases. The designers saw a huge shift in consumer behaviour, affecting the fashion designers and retailers alike.

To evaluate the impact of Covid-19 on the industry we caught up with some of the reputed designers whose names are synonymous with fashion. Senake de Silva said the future is bleak and until things go back to normal, (but how long) it will it take months or perhaps years. Even if we recover it will never be the same again. “We might get back to 70 per cent of what the industry was by next may be,” Senake said.

The Sri Lankan apparel industry was one of the most significant contributors to the country’s economy. “We even had the first ever Sri Lankan apparel fashion show at the then Hotel Oberoi. It was possibly the very first time that a top French Couturier was in Colombo,” recollected Senake.

Sri Lankan apparel categories include sportswear, lingerie bridal wear and swimwear. These were of high quality and were exported to many countries. Recently the industry was affected by regular disturbances of the Covid-19. Fashion shows were cancelled, designers had no work. Fashion industry is one of the primary employers too. With supply chain broken and sales down and unsold stock in retail outlets we had to face major crises. This was all against a backdrop of consumer habits changing and attitudes shifting to consumptions said Lou Ching Wong. We cant compare ourselves to the west said Lou Ching .

Despite the lock-down, major cities in Europe had their fashion shows. The luxury brands like Gucci, Prada, YSL, Armani and Chanel to name a few. But here at home with complete closure, there were no shows or glamour events.

Sri Lankans have now started to reassess and re-prioritize what they spend money on. This resulted in fashion trends slowing down with designers left with nothing. Major fashion brands and retailers have been cancelling orders, including products made and waiting to be sent to stores. The reality is that we are forced to stay at our homes and many of us are financially burdened by lay-offs and the desire to buy new clothes is a distant dream. How long can you think the domestic fashion industry can sustain without sales? “We work in a very high circle and the fact is there are no demands so, I am not sure this will be sustainable. And unfortunately we are not like a Western economy that can afford to payout salaries.”

The industry is going to take a long recovery time. The only positive, if at all is hopefully to be able to use it to recalibrate the lifestyles that suit our people said Lou Ching Wong.

“The virus has left me vulnerable confronting an obliteration of sales, wage loss and employee lay-offs,” Ramani Fernando, a fashion icon and beautician said. “However, we are slowly but steadily working towards providing services to our customers under strict health guidelines. Now things are changing and I find many brides advancing their dates and calendars are filling up. However, I feel this crisis could present an opportunity to rethink of the industry.”

For Dinesh Chandrasena, an internationally recognized designer and a leading creative educator, the future seems bright!

“The fashion design and apparel manufacturing industries like all other businesses have been continuously evolving despite the Covid-19 pandemic. We, like the other industries, have been finding methods and systems to not just survive but actually maintain a positive business movement. I have worked in the fashion industry in Los Angeles since the mid-1990s and I have many colleagues who speak about their plans and strategies. I notice that the long term systematic outcomes that they work towards, are based on utilizing these uncertain times to re-evaluate and re-structure their immediate sphere in order to maximize efficiency while still underlining creative excellence”.

“As a creative practitioner and educator, I look at everything with a ‘glass half full’ mentality and believe it is up to us to find, create, and enhance methodologies that would bring a successful turn to these times” Dinesh said.

The designers expect fashion to come back in a big way, after the pandemic. They believe that people will return to the world in glamorous, trendy outfits once more. ‘Fashion is a pendulum’ goes an adage. It goes from one extreme to another and that will happen again here too.

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Yohani has attracted many Bollywood singers

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Yohani de Silva popularly known as Yohani is as Sri Lankan singer, songwriter and rapper. Her song “Menike Mage Hithe” has completely exploded on the internet and had gone crazy visual. From social media to celebrities, everyone is obsessed with the peppy number. For the universal ‘Menike Mage Hithe’ is a 20-20 Sinhala by Satheeshan Ratnayake. The tract went viral after Sri Lankan singer’s version released in May. This song has created such a buzz, that it can be heard everywhere now.

Popularly known as Yohani,she was born on July 30, 1993 in Colombo.

She is extremely popular on Tick Tok and is also the first Sri Lankan female singer to have 2.46 million subscribers on You Tube Even celebs like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Tiger Shroff and Maduri Dixit among others, couldn’t stop themselves from grooving to the addictive to the beat of the song. Many reels are also been made on this song of Yohani, and Amitabh Bachchan also shared one of his reels on his song on Instagram.

She did her schooling at Visakha Vidyalaya and graduated from Sir John Kotelawela Defence University. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Logistics Management.

Following the first Drive-in-Concert was produced by Show Town Entertainment and this concert created history as it was the first of its kind in Asia and the tenth worldwide. She shared the stage with great artists such as Bathiya and Santosh, Umariya and some others.

Yohani was now accepted as a Cultural Ambassador to India. Several TV channels in India interviewed her and said she is one of the latest Cultural Ambassador to appear in India’s National TV channel. Her song ‘Menike Mage Hithe” won the hearts of millions of people in India from celebrities to the public.

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NIGHT MARKET, Street Food and Musical Fiesta with a Cause

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The second edition of the Nightmarket, an outdoor fair organized by Dilmah’s MJF Foundation will be held at its Centre in Moratuwa on Saturday, October 30th from 5:30pm onwards, the organizers said in a news release.

“The theme this month revolves around Halloween and provides an opportunity to support small local businesses and first time entrepreneurs impacted by the pandemic. A family oriented fair with something for everyone, this month’s Nightmarket promises to provide fun, family entertainment in a socially distant manner,” it said.

“Held at the MJF Centre in Katubedde, next to the K-Zone, the event promises live musical entertainment, food stalls, educational stalls and a “not so-Spooky” night tour of Sri Lanka’s first urban arboretum. A seasonal movie for children is also part of the line-up. The event will also feature Dilmah Conservation showcasing their publications and their educational series around beekeeping and home gardening.

“In addition to supporting business, the fair also hopes to support veteran and aspiring musicians who have been affected by the lockdown. The stalls feature a range of products from clothing, foodstuff, services, natural products, and jewelry featuring both first time and experienced vendors.”

“Nightmarket is an opportunity for those entrepreneurs that grew out of hardship – it gives them a chance to engage with consumers, listen to them and learn how to sell products that are aligned with the market.” said Dilhan C. Fernando CEO of Dilmah and Trustee of the MJF Foundation. “It supports entrepreneurship a subject that is close to my father’s heart and his philosophy of making business a matter of human service” he said.

All stalls are provided at no cost; the only guidelines for participants is that the product must be an original item produced by them or others with a sustainable background. As a zero waste event, all stalls are required to adhere to the stringent guidelines around sustainable packaging and waste.

Visitors will also receive a glimpse of the services provided at the MJF Centre which offers free IT courses, a culinary school, other vocational training, after school programmes for children, English classes for youth, sewing and cookery classes for adults, programmes for senior citizens and education and therapy for children and youth with disabilities.

For further information or to book a stall please call 070 1888 323 or email info@mjffoundation.org

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