Do you regularly feel fatigued or run down? Do you find it hard to focus? Do you feel like you never have enough energy? Do you struggle with anxiety, stress, and slow thinking? Do you want to kick the fog from your brain? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. In a world where everyone is on the go almost all the time, it can be a tall task trying to keep up.
Now the question is: is there a solution to these problems? The answer is yes, and it doesn’t involve taking all kinds of different medications that may result in unwanted—and sometimes serious—side effects. What is this solution? Herbs. Some herbs can provide an easy, natural way to help clear the brain fog, deal with stress, and boost your energy levels. What’s more, is that they are simple to find and come in many forms. In this article, we’ll highlight 5 of them.
With most teas, the leaves are left to sit in water and later discarded. What makes Matcha different, however, is that its leaves are ground into a fine powder that you can mix into your water. Making tea this way rather than just dipping and discarding allows you to receive all the leaf’s nutrients and not just those that happen to make it into the tea from the tea bags.
High in Antioxidants
Studies have consistently shown that just one serving of Matcha contains two to three times more epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a type of antioxidant than other green teas do. Antioxidants like EGCG are the body’s defense against oxidative stress, or free radicals, which can interact with the cells in the body and damage or even kill them.
Mayo Clinic did a study on the effects of EGCG on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). They found that EGCG lowered the leukemia cell count in one-third of the participants and reduced the size of their lymph nodes by at least 50%.
Matcha can boost your energy without giving you the jitters that coffee or other caffeinated drinks might give you. This isn’t because Matcha had no caffeine; it does (although it does usually have less caffeine than other energy-boosting drinks), but it also has an amino acid called theanine that counteracts the caffeine.
Theanine induces a state of relaxation and alertness, can increase sleep quality and can reduce stress without causing the drowsiness that usually results from the “high-crash” pattern that caffeine typically follows. One study monitored the brain waves of people who had ingested either Matcha or a placebo. The results showed that theanine significantly raised mental alertness.
2. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba is an extract from the leaves of the Ginkgo tree. It consists of over forty different components, but research has consistently revealed that two in particular—flavonoids and terpenoids—seem to be the most beneficial to the body.
Improves Blood Flow
Ever since the Chinese used it for treating blood disorders, Gingko has been known to increase vascular dilation, or, blood vessel expansion. This expansion of blood vessels allows more blood to get through the arteries and veins, which in turn, makes blood and oxygen flow more efficiently around the body. Gingko also makes blood stick together less often, which increases blood flow further.
Studies have shown that Ginkgo’s circulation-improving qualities are most helpful to those who have intermittent claudication, which is pain caused by restricted blood flow to the legs. In one study, researchers found that pain caused by intermittent claudication was reduced in people who took Ginkgo Biloba for 24 weeks. These people could also walk five times further than those who took a placebo.
When you feel fatigued or low on energy, you are at risk for an increase in free radicals, also known as oxidative stress, in your system. These free radicals can damage or even kill cells within the body when they react with them. But researchers have studied Ginkgo Biloba effects on oxidative stress extensively.
One such study tested Ginkgo Biloba’s ability to protect rat nerve cells from the free radical hydrogen peroxide. The results of the study revealed Ginkgo can help protect the nerve cells of rats from oxidative stress. Researchers have gathered from this that it would also likely effective in protecting human nerve cells from oxidative stress. And less oxidative stress means less fatigue and more energy.
3. Lion’s Mane
Lions Mane, also known as Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Tooth Fungus, and Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, is a medicinal mushroom that grows in clusters on trees. You can easily identify them by their long dangling spines. It helps the body in many ways, but most of these benefits are psychological.
Helps Create Nerve Growth Factor
Lion’s Mane is a nerve tonic, which means it helps to maintain a healthy nervous system. One of the ways it does this is by inducing nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF is essential for neuron function, development, and survival.
The NGF that our bodies naturally secrete cannot penetrate the blood-brain barrier, and thus cannot help repair damaged nerves in the brain. But Lion’s Mane has two compounds called erinacines and hericenones that can cross the barrier. This prompts the brain to create NGFs, which in turn, causes the synthesis of neurons in the brain.
The creation of NGF and synthesis of neurons that the mushroom causes can help enhance memory in dementia patients, boost motor skills in those with Parkinson’s, and heal neurological damage caused by strokes.
A study conducted on mice has found that after a week of being given feed that contained Lion’s Mane, the levels of NGF in the hippocampus of the brain increased. These results suggest that Lion’s Mane stimulates NGF synthesis.
Helps Rebuild Myelin Sheaths
Aiding in the creation of NGFs isn’t the only way Lion’s Mane helps the nervous system. It can also help rebuild Myelin Sheaths. What are Myelin Sheaths? They are fatty, white substances that surround the axons of some nerve cells and act as an insulating layer, increasing electrical resistance and the speed at which signals are sent across the cell membrane.
When Myelin Sheaths and nerve cells are damaged, it can result in central nervous system conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS). But a study on the influence of Lion’s Mane on the myelination process in vitro revealed that the myelination process began earlier and progressed faster than the controls did when Lion’s Mane was introduced to the process.
While there is a need for more research to confirm that these findings are also present in humans, the results of this study suggest that the herb’s myelin sheath rejuvenating properties can potentially be a treatment for conditions like MS.
Bacopa Monnieri is a creeping marsh herb that is native to India and Australia. It is also known as water hyssop and herb of grace. It has many benefits and has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine as a memory enhancer and to prevent physical and mental age-related decline, but there are many other uses for it.
Bacopa is an adaptogen, which means it helps the body deal with stress. The stress-relieving properties, though, likely come from its mind-fortifying abilities. When the mind is fortified to withstand prolonged stress, there will be lower levels of cortisol in the body. Lower cortisol levels are probably what also causes many of Bacopa’s physical benefits. The lower stress levels lead to a rebalancing of the rest of the body.
Bacopa has been used for a long time for its memory enhancing properties. One way it enhances memory is through three compounds: Bacoside A, jujubogenin, and pseudojujubogenin, which the body breaks down. These broken-down chemicals can easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier and bind to receptor sites. As a result, cognitive functions like memory and learning are enhanced.
Researchers conducted a study on the effects of Bacopa on cognitive function in healthy adults. In it, participants were either given a placebo or 300 milligrams of Bacopa. The researchers conducted neuropsychological testing before the study and at 5 and 12 weeks into the study.
The results showed that Bacopa significantly improved the speed of visual information processing, learning rate, and memory recall. The findings suggested that the herb may improve cognitive processes such as learning and memory.
5. Gotu Kola
Gotu Kola is known as the “fountain of life,” “the promoter of long life,” and the “ancient herb of enlightenment.” It is best referred to as a nootropic, or a brain booster that enhances brain functions such as cognition, attentiveness, and memory.
Gotu Kola contains a compound called triterpenoids, whose primary function involves healing wounds, but they are also nootropics. The main reason for Gotu’s nootropic qualities is the increased blood flow that the herb also provides. Enhanced circulation allows for enhanced cognitive functions such as focus and memory.
Triterpenoids have also been found in studies to improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients. People with Alzheimer’s have low levels of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for learning and memory. Typical Alzheimer’s medications work by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine. The triterpenoids in Gotu Kola work by responding similarly to Alzheimer’s medications.
Gotu Kola has two compounds—brahmoside and brahminoside—that work together to calm the body and the mind by restoring healthy nerve function. This can help reduce and prevent anxiety attacks, like the results of a startle response study suggested.
During the study, researchers observed that people who ingested Gotu had fewer acoustic startle responses than those who took the placebo. Because “startle noise” responses can be a way to tell if someone is anxious, the results revealed that taking Gotu Kola may reduce one’s anxiety symptoms.
Besides reducing anxiety attacks, brahmoside and brahminoside also help in the field of meditation. Being able to enter a state of relaxation is so essential to meditation and Gotu can assist you in reaching that relaxed state with very few distractions, if any at all.
Herbs are a safe solution to common problems such as trouble focusing, stress, anxiety, fatigue, slow thinking, and low energy levels. Because they are natural, they have less adverse side effects than medicines that treat these problems would. Plus, most of them are nootropics, stress-relievers, and healers of mind, spirit, and body.
Taking any of these herbs by itself would be highly beneficial to your body on its own. But if you combine them with each other, the results will be amplified, and the results that it may have on your body and mind may be unbelievable.