Your brain never stops working. Even when your body is at rest or asleep, your brain remains active.
With age and information overload, the brain becomes overstimulated and exhausted—you may feel fussy, tired, and not as sharp as you once were.
Luckily, you can mitigate these symptoms and improve performance with brain health supplements.
Together with healthy lifestyle practices, they boost memory and focus, combat mental fatigue, and improve brain health. This can help prevent neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s, the sixth leading cause of death in America.
Read on for a deep dive into the herbs that bring maximum benefits to your brain.
Herbs for Brain Health and Function
Herbs are healing plants, and humans have been tapping into their many uses for thousands of years.
They are more popular than ever, especially in the West, because their effects are being researched by medical experts.
If you’re new to Ayurvedic healing and don’t know what type of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plants you can benefit from, we’ve compiled a list of mind-supporting herbs that can positively impact your mental clarity and function.
According to a 2013 study, Ashwagandha (withania somnifera) can inhibit the formation of beta-amyloid plaques. These extracellular deposits clump between neurons and disrupt cell function to the point where brain cells die.
Additionally, its antioxidant and adaptogenic properties enhance the body’s resilience to stress, repel free radicals, and act as a mood stabilizer in depression.
Ashwagandha also slows, stops, removes, or reverses neuritic atrophy (loss of nerve cells) and synaptic loss (loss of connectivity between these networks). It can help with treating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s while ensuring longevity.
Apart from its mental health benefits, Ashwagandha can enhance athletic performance, increase fertility in men, reduce blood sugar, and promote restful sleep.
Bacopa (bacopa monnieri), also known as Brahmi, is a water-loving herb prized as a nootropic. It alters the levels of serotonin, GABA, dopamine, and acetylcholine, which calm the central nervous system. It has a positive impact on mood, memory, and focus.
A 2012 research study conducted over 12 weeks indicated that bacopa has neuroprotective properties, which enhance attention and memory and support cognitive performance. As mild cognitive impairment (MCI) leads to Alzheimer’s, ingesting it could give you better odds. Another study showed that bacopa lowered cortisol levels, which could help with anxiety, stress, and depression.
Besides its mental health benefits, bacopa can protect against cell damage, reduce inflammation to help the body fight diseases and infections, and lower blood pressure levels.
3. Chinese Club Moss
Chinese club moss benefits are the reason for its popularity in wellness circles.
For starters, it contains huperzine A, a chemical used to improve memory, learning, and mental abilities. It blocks the action of acetylcholinesterase and increases the levels of acetylcholine, a compound that functions as a neurotransmitter to promote ease in learning and cognitive abilities.
The compound is abnormally short in supply in those battling neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, making Chinese Club Moss a valuable addition to their routine.
There is also evidence that it may have anti-inflammatory properties, eliminate excess water in the body, and help maintain a good emotional balance.
Ginkgo biloba has been an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries, and for good reason.
This anti-aging herb supports the body in many ways, prime among them is the ability to stimulate circulation in the brain and CNS. It also increases blood flow by dilating blood vessels. This can help improve memory, concentration, and thought processes, and it may also help with symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Ginkgo also improves cognitive function and enhances working memory. It works wonderfully alongside conventional medicine to treat neuro disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
In addition to its mental health benefits, Ginkgo helps improve heart health, support vision, and treat headaches and migraines.
5. Gotu Kola
Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is a rejuvenating herb from the parsley family.
In addition to being a great addition to any spiritual and self-care regime, gotu kola is a nervine with neuroprotective and neurodegenerative properties that protect the brain from damage. This explains why it’s often called “the herb of longevity.”
To top it off, it promotes neurite-dendrite growth and prevents oxidative damage. It can be an effective remedy for those with Alzheimer's because it reverses markers of oxidation in cells, revamps the nervous system, and improves memory domain. Tack on its anti-inflammatory benefits, and you’ve got a complete solution to overall wellness.
6. Mucuna Pruriens
Mucuna pruriens (Velvet Bean) is a tropical legume. It is a good source of phytochemicals like levodopa (L-Dopa), the precursor to dopamine that can help in the treatment of Parkinson’s, mainly by controlling bradykinetic symptoms. This makes it a natural substitute for the pharmaceutical L-Dopa.
Benefits of mucuna pruriens also include improvement in sperm motility and concentration by showing a positive action on the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis. It has antivenom properties against snake bites with the help of glycoprotein in the bean. It is also involved in immunity and other physiological functions, as it generates antibodies.
If you feel that your brain could use a little boost to function at the highest possible level, incorporating one (or a combination) of these herbs into your wellness routine can work like a charm. However, keep in mind that these natural herbs are not miracle workers—it takes time to work their magic on you, so be consistent (and persistent!) when taking them.
If you’re looking for a nootropic that jolts your brain awake, try BrainEssence™. It is an exquisite blend of acetyl-L-Carnitine and some of the best herbs for brain health, including bacopa monnieri, gotu kola, and mucuna pruriens. It will amp up your cognition and brain health while supporting your energy, focus, problem-solving abilities, memory, and mood.*