Favourite Herbs for Brain Health
Herbs, fungi and medicinal plants have long been used to optimise overall health and well-being, and our ancestors used many plants to support brain function. Problems with cognition can be due to chronic/acute stress, trauma, or aging, and we need to look after our brain throughout the life cycle. Here are a few of our favourite “nootropics”, or plants that naturally support brain health:
- Lions Mane: Our favourite mushroom for brain support. Lion’s Mane has a traditional history of use by Buddhist monks to enhance brain power and heighten focus during meditation. It stimulates production of nerve growth factor (NGF) which helps to maintain the neurons, which are the brain cells responsible for helping us to process and transmit information, aiding learning and memory, as well as optimizing neurogenesis; the creation and growth of new brain cells.
- Holy Basil: An adaptogenic herb that helps to support cognitive functioning and protect the body from damage induced by stress. It helps to bring mental clarity and studies have found it decreases stress hormone levels which helps to improve cognitive functioning.
- Rhodiola: Rhodiola is one of the most powerful adaptogenic herbs and thrives under harsh conditions. It is revered for its ability to support physical and mental performance particularly when under stress. Rhodiola has an anti-fatigue effect so can help to improve mental processing and brain function.
- Turmeric: Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nature, turmeric helps to support cognitive function, nourishing and protecting the brain. It can also increase levels of BDNF in the brain, which is a naturally occurring growth hormone responsible for neurogenesis. Decreased levels of BDNF are linked to many brain disorders.
- Green Tea: One of the oldest nootropic herbs, long utilized by Buddhist monks in the far East. Rich in antioxidants and L-Theanine which helps to promote calm and a clear mind. Helps to support learning, alertness and mental performance.
These are just a few of our favourite herbs, foods and fungi for brain health. We need to optimize our diet, sleep and stress management to support brain functioning and we can turn to these ancient herbs and foods for a little bit of extra cognitive support along the way.
At Living Nutrition we have formulated our kefir-kombucha fermented Cognitive blend combining some of our favourite herbs mentioned above including Lions Mane mushroom, Holy Basil, Green Tea, and Turmeric to offer the best herbal support for brain health. We also have our Rhodiola Alive and Holy Basil Alive fermented supplements which have a calming effect and support the body’s ability to manage stress and anxiety.