Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you probably run through a mental checklist every morning. After all, you wouldn’t want to forget anything important (like your beloved cell phone, perhaps). You’d be left frantic and frazzled if you did have a momentary memory lapse, which is precisely why keeping your brain moving as swiftly as your weekday schedule is so important. Lucky for you (and your precious iPhone), herbs have a leg up in cognitive health.
Long known to support physical fitness, certain herbs can also help brain function and emotional well-being. Throughout history, there have been a number of herbal remedies for mental acuity, but these are the nine most highly regarded:
- Ginkgo biloba – By promoting healthy circulation and offering antioxidant protection, this herb is known for supporting memory and overall brain function. Ginkgo is one of the most common herbs prescribed by European health practitioners.†
- Spearmint (Mentha spicata) – This gentle, aromatic stimulant promotes healthy energy levels. You’ll most often find spearmint in the form of tea leaves, which makes for an invigorating morning brew.†
- Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) – Siberian ginseng is classified as an adaptogen, because of its ability to adapt based on the body’s calls for coping. Mostly found in Asia and Russia, this slow-growing shrub’s roots are often ground into powder for easy supplementation in capsules or as tea.†
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – The smell of this herb is said to help promote a sense of calm. Ancient Greeks wore laurels of rosemary in their hair when taking examinations to improve their memory. It may come as a surprise, but this herb is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and potassium – all of which play a role in healthy brain function.†
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) – Yes, licorice is an herb – a sweet and energizing one at that! A potent deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) supplement will naturally provide antioxidant power from flavonoid and isoflavonoids. Still to this day, it’s one of the most widely used herbs in Eastern alternative medicine.†
- Prickly Ash (Xanthoxylum americanum) – The bark of the Prickly Ash tree harnesses the health benefits. North American tribes used the herb to stimulate saliva and soothe upset stomachs, as well as to help stimulate the body. The subsequent stimulation can promote blood flow for a rejuvenating effect.†
In addition to these herbal supplements, add crossword puzzles, math problems and reading for pleasure to your to-do list. These are all great exercises to create a healthy mind and feeling of accomplishment.