There are a lot of herbs that you can incorporate into your daily life to boost your brain health and improve your overall health. Using herbs can help with mental fatigue, improve memory and help reduce age-related mental issues. Let’s find out which herbs are good for brain health.
Brain health depends on a lot of factors like sleep, exercise, diet and stress levels. Improving these areas of your life will help keep your brain healthy. Consuming certain herbs has also been proven to improve brain health and cognitive function.
Best Herbs For Brain Health
Salvia officinalis, commonly known as sage is a very fragrant herb. It belongs to the same family as rosemary and has rosmarinic acid, which is believed to be one of the key elements that improves brain function.
Research suggests that it consuming sage has an impact on many biological processes that affect cognition and brain health like inflammation, oxidative stress and neurotrophins. There is also evidence that sage improves cognition in adults.
Studies are being conducted to observe its beneficial effects during the early stages of Alzheimer’s and sage essential oil could help treat dementia too.
Sage can be added to tea or used to enhance the flavor of several food items like chicken, turkey or butternut squash.
Rosemary has been considered important for brain health in traditional medicine for hundreds of years. It was considered most effective for improving memory, helping you focus and preventing mental decline with age.
Rosemary has been proven effective in helping with age-related mental decline. A study shows that in the right doses it has a beneficial effect on brain function in seniors. Rosemary essential oil is helped improve mood and cognitive abilities in healthy adults.
Dried rosemary adds a great flavor to dishes and it can also be used in tea for a refreshing effect.
Lemon balm is a type of mint and is widely known for its medicinal and cosmetic benefits. It is also used as an ingredient to add a little zing to dishes.
Traditionally, it was used for its soothing effect to help with anxiety, balance the nervous system and help with indigestion.
A recent study showed that it has promising results in treating patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Lemon balm extracts have a direct impact on receptors in brain tissue.
Lemon balm is great for mental fatigue as it has a soothing effect on the body and helps you focus.
Turmeric has been a part of traditional medicine in Asia for many centuries. It is very well known for its medicinal properties and is especially good for boosting immunity.
Turmeric is rich in curcumin, which is an antioxidant that gives turmeric its anti-inflammatory properties. This is beneficial for both brain health and general wellness.
Animal studies have shown that it helps improve spatial memory and reduces damage caused by oxidization. It also boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is an essential hormone in the brain.
Research shows that low levels of Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) contribute to depression and Alzheimer’s and that increasing curcumin consumption can help fight these conditions.
Turmeric can be added to almost all curries and gravies. It is not spicy and has a unique flavor. Most curry powders already contain turmeric. You can also add it to chai tea.
Ginkgo biloba has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat dementia and is believed to have a beneficial effect on brain health. It was believed to improve circulation and blood flow to the brain, thereby enhancing cognitive ability.
More research is needed to determine its exact effectiveness in improving cognitive function, but a study has shown that it does help reduce cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s patients.
A review of research on ginkgo biloba also showed that ginkgo extract was effective in slowing mental decline in patients suffering from neuropsychiatric symptoms, cognitive decline and dementia.
Ginkgo biloba trees are very hardy and one of the oldest species on the planet. It is mostly used as an extract and has been used for ‘brain tonics’ for thousands of years.
Ginseng is a very popular Asian medicinal plant. Its effectiveness has made it famous all over the world. There are 2 kinds of ginseng: American ginseng and Asian ginseng.
Ginseng contains ginsenosides, which have anti-inflammatory properties and inhibit cell apoptosis. While more research is needed on the subject, existing studies show that ginseng can be effective in preventing and treating neurological diseases.
Studies have also found that it has neuroprotective properties that act against neuron death, environmental toxins and free radicals. It also reduces blood glucose levels and improves cognitive abilities.
There are a large number of ginseng products available today, but you need to read the fine print to make sure that they actually contain ginseng. Most people use ginseng extract to get their daily dose of this beneficial herb.
Gotu kola has an extensive history of being used for brain health both in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. It is known for its ability to help achieve mental clarity and was used to make tonics for better brain health.
Scientifically known as Centella asiatica, it is being studied for its effects on the human brain. An animal study showed that it helped slow down mental deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Elderly participants in a randomized controlled trial reported better mood and showed better cognitive performance and improved working memory after taking a gotu kola extract for 2 months.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests that it is effective in dissipating mental fog and improving memory. However, it doesn’t work overnight, it needs to be taken consistently for a long period of time to show results.
Crocus sativus or saffron as it is known commonly is actually the pistil of a flower. It is used both medicinally and as an ingredient in many cuisines around the world. Saffron is traditionally used in Indian, Greek, Persian and Egyptian cultures.
It was traditionally believed to improve liver function, brain health and was considered especially beneficial for women’s health.
Research shows that saffron is indeed effective in promoting healthy mental aging and boosts brain health, mood and overall focus. It also helps manage the symptoms of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.
Studies also show that it has a significant effect on the nervous system and it promotes learning and better memory. It also showed evidence of significant neuroprotective properties.
Spearmint is a type of mint like the name suggests. It is also known as Mentha spicata and has been used as an ingredient in almost all cuisines in the world.
It is known for its refreshing effect and is thus used extensively in products like mouthwash and face wash. Spearmint is also effective in aiding digestion and promoting relaxation.
Studies also show that it is effective in improving memory. Specifically, it improved spatial memory and working memory in patients who had an age-related decline in memory.
Ashwagandha is an herb commonly used in Ayurveda for better brain health and to promote healthy aging. It is an adaptogen and has anti-stress properties. It needs to be taken over a period of time to be effective.
Studies show that people who took it for 8 to 12 weeks improved memory and focus, were more alert, had better sleep quality and their mental ability improved overall.
It also helps improve cognitive function, which suggests that it could be useful in treating dementia. It also reduces oxidative stress, which is a key factor in the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Bacopa is also known as Indian pennywort or water hyssop. It is a succulent and has been used in Ayurveda as a nootropic. It is believed to improve cognitive function and brain health.
Studies show that it promotes learning and also improves memory. It also shows potential to be used for the prevention of age-related cognitive decline and memory loss.
A study of subjects between the age of 45 and 65 shows that bacopa is also helpful in improving the retention of fresh information.
Lion’s mane isn’t really a herb. It is a mushroom, but it does have certain properties that work like adaptogens to improve the health of your body and mind.
It has been extensively used in Chinese medicine to boost neurological health. This mushroom contains ericenones and erinacines which help generate new brain cells. Studies also show that it is good for improving brain function and preventing memory loss.
What Herbs Are Good For Brain Health: Wrapping Up
We don’t realize it, but there are a lot of ingredients sitting in our kitchen that are great for improving our brain health. Stress-induced damage and age-related mental decline are almost impossible to avoid and contribute to many mental disorders.
Regularly including these herbs in your diet can help keep these diseases at bay and keep your brain functioning well despite other factors like stress or age.
Mental decline is very hard to treat and there is still no cure for diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia, so it is best to boost your brain health with these everyday herbs and prevent these diseases.