Memory and focus decline have been long considered standard side effects of aging, defied only from time-to-time by wise elders with memory and wit as sharp as a tack. We often wonder what the secret is, and whether there are ways to prevent cognitive decline, degenerative disease, and memory loss.
Science has shown that chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and free radical accumulation in the body are all contributors to cognitive decline and disease, leaving us feeling sluggish and forgetful. But, there are ways that we can combat these common stressors to help keep our cognitive health in top shape, future-proofing our minds against decline.
Improving our memory and focus levels could be as simple as making subtle changes in lifestyle and nutrition. Regular exercise, proper rest, and keeping hydrated are all ways to protect and enhance our cognitive health.
What we consume, research shows, also has a profound impact on our cognition.
Can Herbal Remedies Improve Memory and Focus?
Herbal remedies have been used and studied in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. Many have been found to be effective in improving focus, enhancing overall mood, and are now known to have a nootropic effect on the brain.
But, how do herbs help to improve our cognition? There are many medicinal herbs which have been shown to help prevent inflammation, protect the brain from oxidative stress, and have rich antioxidant properties (which fight free radicals and help protect our brain cells). The resulting benefits include sharper focus, improved memory, and better cognitive performance.
Aging may be inevitable, but utilizing natural remedies to improve focus and memory is an excellent way to protect one of your best assets: your mind.
Here are some of our favorite herbs that can help to improve cognitive performance and boost memory:
7 Medicinal Herbs to Improve Cognitive Performance
Ashwagandha, also referred to as ‘Indian Ginseng’, is a popular adaptogenic herb that has gone mainstream for its ability to help manage stress and anxiety.
Ashwagandha has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This incredible herbal remedy is able to protect the body against oxidative stress, and is known to have an overall soothing effect on the body by promoting balanced, calm energy.
Another benefit of ashwagandha is that it is able to help enhance cognition and potentially improve memory.One study, examining the effects of ashwagandha supplements in human subjects with mild cognitive impairment, showed that daily intake of Ashwagandha was able to improve memory, attention, and overall information-processing speed.
The antioxidant content of ashwagandha is believed to have potential cognitive health benefits, and may have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain.
On top of this, ashwagandha contains a bioactive compound called withanone, which can be found in ashwagandha roots. Studies have shown that this compound may be effective in mediating several markers of Alzheimer's disease.
Asian Ginseng Root
A powerful herb for promoting healthy minds and memories, Asian Ginseng Root is recognized for its high antioxidant content, cognitive benefits, and potential to promote longevity. A Superior Herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ginseng is highly sought both as a culinary ingredient and as a natural medicinal supplement.
The benefits of Asian Ginseng Root on cognitive health are rooted both in ancient medicine and modern-day science. Ginseng has been shown to be effective in memory improvement, prevention of degenerative brain disease, and for mitigating the effects of depression and anxiety. Compounds found in Ginseng may be able to protect the brain against damage caused by free radicals in the body, and may help to prevent mental fatigue.
Used in our breathing room and gut feelings formulas, incorporating ginseng root in your daily routine could help banish brain fog and promote mental clarity.
Yes. you read that right - the very cinnamon sitting at the back of your pantry could help to improve your brain health! Incorporating this sweet spice in your daily diet could have direct, multifaceted benefits on brain health: cinnamon has been shown to enhance memory and help to prevent cognitive decline caused by degenerative disease.
Cinnamon has been shown to have neuroprotective benefits, which means that it can protect cells in the brain from damaging oxidative stress. Studies have shown that cinnamon could help to improve memory and attention span, and it has been shown in animal studies to help mitigate the negative impact of Alzheimer's disease.
Cinnamon’s brain benefits derive from its excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Cinnamon has additionally been shown to help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, giving us even more reason to love this natural nootropic.
There are many creative ways to add cinnamon to your everyday routine; it can be added to your morning coffee, sprinkled on side dishes, and even incorporated in spicy dishes for a sweet contrast.
Cordyceps mushrooms aren’t your average fungi. With a rich history in Traditional Chinese Medicine, these adaptogenic mushrooms are wide ranging in their benefits and applications in herbal medicine.
Cordyceps mushrooms have been shown to help prevent aging, improve overall energy levels, and reduce inflammation in the body. They have also been shown to have neuroprotective properties, preventing damage to brain cells. Cordyceps have even been shown to improve learning and memory, thanks to their polypeptide complexes.
Another brain benefit of cordyceps mushrooms is their ability to reduce inflammation in the brain. Animal studies have shown that this can have an ‘antidepressant like effect’, helping to improve overall mood. Cordyceps additionally reduce inflammation in the brain, improving cognition.
It’s no wonder we use cordyceps in three of our modern plant remedies: Balancing Act, Breathing Room, and Got Game. Combined with other traditional Chinese herbs, the benefits of cordyceps can help anyone’s health regimen go from ordinary to extraordinary.
Another fungi gaining popularity across many wellness circuits is Reishi Fruiting Body (Ling Zhi). Reishi is a powerful adaptogen known for benefits like immunity and sleep support, anxiety relief, and potential to improve longevity.
Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, reishi mushrooms have been shown to have potential neuroprotective effects on the brain, and could help to promote spatial learning and memory.
Reishi additionally has strong antioxidant properties that can help to fend off free radicals and prevent cellular damage in the brain.
The effects of Reishi mushrooms on cognition are so profound that we use them in our new Sharp Focus formula, which blends reishi with ingredients like Asian Ginseng, Lion’s Mane, and Chinese Licorice Root to boost focus, mental clarity, and memory.
Because it is difficult to harvest and obtain, saffron is among the world’s most expensive spices. Saffron is known for its beautiful coloring, fragrance, and unique, earthy taste. The value of this herb goes beyond its palatability; saffron is commonly used for its medicinal properties and brain-boosting benefits, too.
The positive effects of saffron are extensive: this herbal remedy is known to be a powerful antioxidant, and is rich in crocin, crocetin, and safranal. Research shows that the compounds crocin and crocetin may help to reduce inflammation, protect the brain against damage, and enhance memory.
On top of these benefits, saffron has been shown to have mood-boosting effects that could even help prevent depression and anxiety. In short, saffron is capable of keeping our brains sharp and can help to keep our minds at ease.
Turmeric is a common cooking spice used in eastern cuisine, and is found in many Indian dishes. While delicious in curry, turmeric is more than just a tasty herb - this spice has been shown to have strong adaptogenic properties and anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
The primary active compound in turmeric is called curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic, low-level inflammation can have a damaging effect on our health (potentially leading to diseases like Alzhiemer’s). Turmeric is helpful for keeping inflammation in check and helping to prevent degenerative brain diseases.
Curcumin may also help to increase levels of BDNF in the body, a protein that plays a critical role in promoting memory, learning, and overall brain function. Whether you start enjoying more Indian food or begin taking turmeric supplements, this common cooking spice is great for calming inflammation and boosting overall brain health.
Supplements to Enhance Focus and Improve Memory
While you can add most of the above herbs to your daily diet as whole ingredients, the easiest way to get the brain-boosting benefits of cognition-boosting herbs is by adding herbal supplements to your daily routine.
Are you ready to work smarter, not harder, when it comes to your brain health? Many of these top brain-boosting herbs can be found in our herbal superblends, curated with the best holistic ingredients to boost your natural wellness from the inside out.
Our cognitive supplements contain multiple plant-based ingredients, blended to improve efficacy and combine benefits. Instead of sourcing multiple super-ingredients on your own, we take care of the work for you by curating herbal superfood blends.
Banish brain fog by incorporating herbs for memory and focus into your routine. With time and consistency, you’ll notice a profound effect on your overall energy, vitality, and cognitive function!