The list of substances that can affect the mind runs long, from currently illegal substances like LSD, to more commonplace stimulants like caffeine. Research continues to enhance our understanding of these chemicals do to the brain. For example, the pendulum seems to be swinging back toward a safe, therapeutic use of LSD to treat anxiety, addiction, and some other issues.
But you don’t have to sneak around for illegal drugs to boost brain power. Plenty of natural herbs and nutritional supplements deliver real mental improvements.
If you want to choose herbs and supplements with more solid supporting data, I recommend a site like Examine.com. Examine does a great job of consolidating the research to show you: the number and quality of studies that support the claims made, the degree of impact the herb/supplement made in achieving a desired result, and the consistency of results across studies.
Before getting into the details, the standard disclaimer needs to be stated. Gnostonic is not a medical service. You are advised to consult a qualified health professional about proper use of the herbs and supplements based on your health condition.
Herbs To Help Your Mind
Bacopa monnieri is an Ayurvedic herb that is believed to improve cognition by reducing anxiety. Multiple studies have shown it effective in boosting memory. Bacopa can take time to produce results. Studies that followed usage for 8-12 weeks revealed the greatest degree of impact. Taken in powder form, it is known for having an unpleasant taste if not sufficiently mixed with more palatable ingredients.
Ginkgo biloba has been used for centuries as a traditional Chinese medicine. The more proven benefits associated with ginkgo include aspects of cognitive performance and memory. It may have enhanced effectiveness when combined with ginseng.
Panax ginseng offers improved cognitive function. It is believed to do this by minimizing the effects of fatigue. When taken with ginkgo, it may enhance memory formation.
Huperzine-A is derived from herbs in the Huperziceae family. It is understood to work by preventing the “learning neurotransmitter” (acetylcholine) from being broken down.
Rhodiola rosea’s effectiveness is also associated with decreasing the impact of stress and burnout. Cognitive improvements connected to rhodiola use generally depend on the reduction of fatigue. Well-rested users noted little if any improvements.
L-theanine comes conveniently packaged in tea alongside caffeine and a few other beneficial components. Theanine works to increase relaxation without sleepiness. The combination of theanine and caffeine creates a focused alertness that often means tea gets combined with other cognition-boosting ingredients.