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Nootropics: Top 5 Herbs that Promote Brain Health

As we transition from summer into fall, September is a great month to check in with your cognitive health, regardless of whether or not you’re headed back to school. Whether you’re looking to improve focus and concentration, enhance memory or protect your brain from decline, herbal medicine has a lot to offer.

Ayushi Raina
Rosemary Herb on the table
Rosemary Herb on the table

September is a wonderful month to check in on your cognitive health as we move from summer to fall. Herbal medicine has a lot to offer, whether you want to boost focus and attention, improve memory, or preserve your brain from aging.

What are Nootropics?

Nootropics are becoming increasingly popular and for good cause. These are herbs or nutraceutical compounds that aid in memory, concentration, focus, and learning while also preventing and reducing cognitive decline. Nootropics can also help in the improvement of mood, sleep, and mental wellness.

Five of my favorite nootropic herbs are listed below:

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is not only one of our favorite culinary herbs, but it's also beneficial to the neurological and cerebrovascular systems. Rosemary is a strong fragrant herb that is also high in terpenes, phenolic acids, and flavones. It's a fantastic herb to use as we start to move into the cooler months since it's warming and a little bitter.

Rosemary helps with cognition, memory, and alertness, giving us a refreshing sensation. We may use rosemary in a variety of ways in our daily lives. Rosemary essential oil may be diffused or just inhaled in a room (I like it with peppermint and a touch of lavender). Rosemary can be used fresh or dried in cooking, steeped in olive oil or vinegar, or mixed with salt to make the herbal seasoning. Rosemary tea is a great afternoon pick-me-up, and rosemary tincture and capsules are also available.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

The neurological system benefits greatly from lemon balm. It has a soothing effect and improves alertness while also supporting the mood. It helps in the improvement of cognitive efficiency. Lemon balm is a calming herb that helps us to ground, re-center, and tune in. It uplifts the mood and aids in the protection of the aged brain. Lemon balm is delightful and magical in any form, including infusions, herbal syrups, tinctures, cordials, capsules, and fresh herbs.

Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri)

Brahmi and water hyssop are other names for Bacopa. It's bitter and stimulating at the same time. Bacopa is classified as a Rasayana in Ayurveda, which means it is a regenerating plant that promotes energy and longevity. Bacopa has nervine, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cerebral tonic, neuroprotective, and nervine properties.

Bacopa is an excellent herb to consume on a daily basis to help with brain clarity, retention, problem-solving, and learning speed. It's a fantastic herb for people who have problems sitting still and focusing on the work at hand, or for those who are intellectually overstimulated to counteract mental weariness. In the short term, bacopa helps with amnesia, while in the long run, it improves memory.

Bacopa grows low to the ground and prefers moist soil, making it more prone to contamination. When supplementing with bacopa, it's critical to pick clean, high-quality bacopa (I like Gaia Herbs). Bacopa can be consumed in the form of a pill, tincture, or dry plant.

Gingko (Gingko biloba)

Gingko is high in flavonoids and proanthocyanidins, making it a potent antioxidant. It has vascular tonic and neuroprotective properties. It has somewhat bitter and cooling energy. Gingko leaves feature a unique bi-lobed symmetry suggestive of the brain, which is a typical illustration of the theory of signatures, in which form or appearance elucidates function. It protects the brain from oxidative stress and the aging process as an antioxidant. Gingko aids to enhance memory and attention while also supporting cerebrovascular health. Gingko extracts, liquid extracts, and dry powdered herbs are all available in high-quality standardized extracts.

Gotu Kola (centella asiatica)

Gotu kola is a revitalizing tonic for energy and memory that has a long history of usage in Ayurveda. It is chilling and drying in terms of energy. Gotu kola also promotes vascular health and may be used to repair or rejuvenate hair, skin, and nails both internally and topically.

Brahmi is another name for Gotu kola (which might be confusing! another compelling reason to memorize and double-check scientific names).

It aids in memory and cognitive function enhancement. Gota kola is available in tincture, powder, and capsule form.

This is not a complete list. Peppermint, saffron, sage, lion's mane, and holy basil are all good nootropic herbs. Are you interested in learning more about nootropics or other methods of supporting cognitive health? Follow Krishi Jagran English Portal and stay updated.

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