A nootropic refers to a substance that, when ingested, increases cognitive functions of healthy individuals. This effect is either temporary or long-term. come in many forms including drugs, supplements and nutraceuticals. The use of nootropics, especially in developed countries, only started to gain widespread consumption in the 20th century. However, people have already been using herbal nootropics extensively in ancient medical traditions since thousands of years ago.
Ginseng has been consumed in Asia and North America for thousands of years. This is the main reason why there are more research about it than other herbal medicines. Scientists currently identified 11 ginseng species. Note, however, that when talking about ginseng as a nootropic, it specifically refers to Asian and American Ginseng. They are also popular as Panax Gineng and Panax Quinquefolius, respectively. These two ginseng species contain “ginsenosides”, composed of several active ingredients. They work together in controlling hormone secretion. This further regulates your bodily functions.
Well-known as a whole-body health promoter, Ginseng can increase mental capacity and boost cognitive functions. One of its most significant mental health benefits is easing mental fatigue. Most people in this modern world suffer from it due to various factors like stress, and visual and sound pollution.
Another of its important functions is boosting memory. It does so by promoting the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the brain. A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacy proved that single doses of 400mg of Ginseng can improve mental health.
On small dosages, it does not have any side effects. However, if taken in large quantity, expect to experience headaches, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, high blood pressure and rashes.
Ginkgo is a popular herbal medicine. Many proved that it has excellent cognitive enhancing properties. Often called the “brain herb”, it’s one of the most popular herbal nootropics in the world. It even holds the title “the best natural nootropic” in the US for a few years in a row.
Ginkgo contains an antioxidant chemical called “terpenoid”. This increases blood flow to the brain through vasodilation. Another major chemical it contains is “flavonoid”, which reduces brain inflammation. As a result, Ginkgo contributes to reduced anxiety and increased concentration level.
Ginkgo is safe when consumed orally by healthy adults. However, as it can reduce blood sugar level, those with hypoglycemia and diabetes should consult their doctors before using it. Additionally, Gingko can change blood pressure level. This makes it necessary for those taking substances designed to control blood pressure to take Ginkgo with caution.
Bacopa is useful in Ayurveda medicine because it helps increase brain power and thought clarity. It may not have a fast acting effect on improving cognitive functions. However, if consistently consumed for a long period, it will have positive effects on learning and visual retention of information. It is also effective in retaining memory.
Bacopa enhances neuron communication by promoting the growth of dendrites (nerve endings). This function helps in increasing the rate of recall and memory formation, making learning more efficient.
During your first intake of Bacopa, side effects, like dry mouth, indigestion and fatigue may occur. However, expect them to disappear as your body gets used to it. However, there are insufficient studies on its effects on pregnant women. This makes it essential for expectant mothers to avoid it during their pregnancy.
Herbal nootropics are becoming popular because they are safer than their synthetic counterparts. You can also expect minimal side effects from them. Also, they are as effective as laboratory synthesized nootropics. You can safely stack them to specifically target your preferred result. These include improved memory, better sleep, enhanced learning, and much more. With the increasing demand in the herbal nootropics market, researchers will most likely conduct more research about these in the future.