10 Herbs for the Brain You Need to Know About
What Herbs Can Help with Mental Clarity, Memory and Overall Brain Health
Everyday errands, workload, poor lifestyle choices, chaotic schedules and fast way of living are just some of the reasons our brain functions may decrease with time. More and more people experience cognitive decline and lose focus faster than ever before. Also, people are convinced that they suffer from various disorders, but the truth is our brain works for us every day and we should pay it back by supporting it with a healthier lifestyle.
Herbs can be very beneficial to your brain health, and they are great natural brain boosters. Some will boost your energy, focus, memory, and reduce stress level. Herbs have a long history of usage since pharmaceuticals weren’t prescribed and developed as they are today. Various plants and their components are suggested in traditional and alternative medicine to increase cognitive functions and lessen poor cognition and memory loss which can lead to Alzheimer’s. Chinese traditional medicine is one of the most important to mention in this treatment. They would combine two or more herbs or use only one concretely prescribed for a specific disease.
Benefits for Whole Body
Herbs are one of the purest forms of medicine. They own natural ingredients that can help us treat a variety of issues, such as:
- Herbs support our immune system through flu season and boost it in general.
- Herbs can be seen as natural drug for menopause. Menopause is a period of drastic change in a woman’s life, and it can bring many symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, weight gain, etc.
- Herbs boost our circulation, thus providing us with necessary natural nutrients that help our muscles, tissues, and organs to function properly.
- Herbs improve our concentration and sharpen our memory.
- Herbs can help us with stress relief which we face daily.
- Herbs boost our energy without having to drink too much coffee every day.
10 Herbs To Improve Brain Health, Mental Energy and Focus
In traditional Chinese medicine, ginkgo biloba seeds are used for healing purposes in comparison to dietary supplements which contain extract from plant leaves. Ginkgo is one of the greatest natural brain boosters, which improves the overall function of our brain. It is believed to be very successful in treatment of dementia (Alzheimer’s) raising the blood flow to the brain and by containing a variety of flavonoids. When it comes to improving brain functions, ginkgo biloba can treat or prevent the following:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Preserves memory
- Encourage stroke recovery
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
It is commonly used in Ayurverda and traditional Chinese medicine. Monks and Yogis from the Far East used it for centuries to boost their concentration during meditation. Also called herb of longevity, Gotu Kola has been considered to fight stress and to make the mind calmer and sharper. It has compound results on our mind by increasing neurite-dendrite growth, focusing on central areas of brain.
Some studies reported that Gotu Kola could be beneficial for:
- Mental stress
Traditionalists will use it to treat brain fog and memory loss (it can help with Alzheimer’s symptoms). Like any other herbal medicine, Gotu Kola must be taken regularly to show results.
Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus)
Rosemary is widely used as culinary herb that fights bad breath and gastrointestinal stress. It comes from the mint family, and it is a brain tonic that has been used for centuries by herbalists. In ancient times, Greek scholars used it to boost their memory before exams. Recent studies showed that rosemary oils and its properties can slow down Alzheimer’s. Its essential oils are also used in aromatherapy for nursing pain and increasing hair growth.
Besides these usages rosemary can mostly help with improvement of brain functions. In one study, scientists used small doses of this herb to lessen or stop cognitive decline in senior population. Taking or inhaling the plant can help:
- Boost memory
- Boost alertness
- Improve mood
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Migraine Treatment
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
It is a “sister plant” of rosemary since it contains rosmarinic acid, which is believed to be great for brain health. Arab physicians from the 10th century claimed that sage can convey immortality, while Greeks used it in many medical conditions.
Certain phytochemicals that are found in sage can help with decreasing inhibitory and noninhibitor neurons in our brain, thus lessens amyloid plaques which is one of the causes of Alzheimer. Other benefits of sage are:
- Protecting the brain from damaging toxins
- Helps with memory loss
- It can promote learning
- It can increase the general cognitive functions of the brain
Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is a type of sage that can be used as a herb or essential oil to ease stress, free the mind and elevate mood.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is also called Indian Winter Cherry and is associated with India, Africa, and the Middle East. For hundreds of years Ashwagandha has been used by Ayurvedic physicians and is known as the “queen” of Ayurveda traditional medicine treating:
- Anxiety and stress
- Memory loss
- Concentration issues
This plant has a great antioxidant effect and supports the response of our immune cells to external bodies in our blood system. Those foreign bodies can cause various diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and mental illness such as Schizophrenia. Ashwagandha can help treat and prevent them. Research shows that taking Ashwagandha for 8-12 weeks can improve mental well-being. You can take it as a pill, powder, or extract.
Mentha Piperita is perennial herb and a combination of hybrid plant called Mentha Spicata or spearmint, and Mentha Aquatica or watermint. It comes from the Mediterranean and is grown in Europe and North America. Over the centuries this plant has been used as medicine and culinary herb.
When it comes to traditional and alternative medicine, we can use peppermint for the nervous system and flu and headaches. Peppermint is known for increasing your brain energy without using your energy reserves from the body.
You can make peppermint tea from fresh leaves, use essential peppermint oil, or just crush fresh mint leaves to lift your mood, lessen stress and clear your mind.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. For centuries it has been used as curry ingredient coming from India. Statistics show that India has the lowest dementia rates in the world which we can connect with great usage of curcumin.
The main bioactive ingredient in turmeric is believed to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Low levels of BDNF can cause several brain diseases like dementia or depression. It also enhances neurological function and fights mental weariness in something called brain fog, an illness that diminishes memory and focus.
Bacopa (Bacopa monniera) or Brahmi
This water-loving plant got its name from Hindu God Brahma related to great intellect and all “creative forces”. It is mostly used in India, Nepal, Taiwan, and Thailand. For centuries it was used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve intellect and fight mental weaknesses.
Brahmi contains saponins and bacosides, which correlate with brain neurotransmitters, thus raising the level of serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This activity can be beneficial for:
- Mood – fights anxiety and depression.
- Memory – it triggers brain’s chemicals which protect neurological cells and lessens the possibility of Alzheimer’s.
- Cognitive process
Cacao Nibs (Theobroma cacao)
History didn’t precisely suggest when this bean was discovered, but it is known that Maya believed it was found by gods. So, in its earliest form, Maya used cacao beans as a ritual beverage shared in ceremonies like marriage and betrothal. Cacao was also used for medical purposes such as reducing fever, decreasing heart strength, boosting appetite and in kidney treatments.
Nowadays, we connect cacao beans to chocolate consumption, which everyone loves. It is believed that chocolate can help you to better memory and mood. Cocoa nibs and cocoa powder are rich in antioxidants, iron and magnesium, which all improve our brain’s cognitive function.
- Antioxidant features of cacao powder improve blood flow in our brain
- Magnesium lessens symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Iron is crucial to our red blood cells.
Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
This plant originated in India and its other name is basil. Tulsi is a plant connected with the great Indian god Lord Krishna. Every house in Vrindavan plants these trees in elevated position because this will repel negative energy. Indian people used Tulsi for two purposes, religious and medical. It is a prime plant or elixir of life that promotes longevity and body balance.
This sacred plant works as a great antioxidant, and it lessens the level of cortisol in our brain, which can cause stress and anxiety. Tulsi has a great ability to fight stress and relieve our mind by making it ‘light.’ By bringing hormones back in balance, this sacred plant combats many brain issues like insomnia, fatigue, depression, weight gain, memory decrease etc.
Order Herbs for Brain at Makari Wellness
Makari Wellness and its founder Michael Woodworth offer a holistic way of treating and slowing various diseases and disabilities. With 15+ years of experience, Michael helped many people who fought stroke, neuropathy, fertility, nerve pain, diabetes, and other illnesses. He is a trained and licensed acupuncturist with all relevant certificates, specializing in herbal and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Makari Wellness works in two locations, San Diego and Oceanside, but we offer telemedicine consultations for patients outside California.