Men's & Mental Health Resource Center (MHRC)

Which Herbs Boost Memory & Prevent Its Decline?

Memory and Brain Boosting Herbs

Being able to think and remember is something that we normally take for granted. But as one advances in age going through the daily mental and physical strains of life, something's got to give. And sometimes it is your brain that gives and your memory that suffers.

So, if your memory is not as sharp as you'd hope for it to be, or you simply just want to give a natural boost to your memory, then the following herbs are among the best that can help.

Please keep in mind that none of these are considered a treatment for any mental health condition. However, they have wide uses in alternative medicine and some have clinical evidence of effectiveness.

Herbs You Can Find in the Supermarket

1. Green Tea

Green TeaMany nutritionists and dietitians would argue that green tea is the healthiest drink ever. Green tea contains catechins -- antioxidants that can protect the body against free radicals and reduce cell damage.

Green tea has been found to improve blood flow and reduce cholesterol levels. A clinical study found that green tea improves working memory. There is also some evidence that it may reduce the risk for developing Alzheimer's disease.

Another reason to drink green tea is its caffeine content. Although it contains about half the amount found in coffee, it is a much healthier choice without the jitters that come with coffee.

Be careful not to consume too much sugar with your green tea though. Use honey as a sweetener instead of sugar. Honey contains many vitamins and minerals that are essential for mental and overall well-being.

2. Rosemary

RosemaryThis kitchen herb is rich in antioxidants, especially the fresh leaves. Rosemary can help improve blood circulation, and people take it to reduce age-related mental decline.

There is some scientific evidence that it may enhance memories and improve cognitive performance. It may also have a neuroprotective effect, i.e. protects neurons from oxidative stress and damage.

Whether it works or not, you can't go wrong by adding some of this savory herb to your dishes, e.g. with pasta.

3. Sage

SageYou probably have this herb in your kitchen. Sage is a common culinary herb that you can buy fresh or dried from local retailers. The leaves can be added to some dishes or you can use them to make an herbal tea.

Sage is also used as natural medicine, and among its uses is reducing memory loss, Alzheimer's disease, and depression. It may help maintain a healthy chemical balance in the brain and improve cognitive function. If you have never drunk sage tea, I urge you to try it.

Herbs Found in Dietary Supplements

4. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo BilobaThe leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a variety of conditions. The leaves are rich in flavonoids and tannins. Ginkgo biloba improves blood flow to the brain and increases energy production in the brain. Some people take ginkgo to prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia, although no conclusive evidence has been noted in clinical trials.

Ginkgo is a mildly effective remedy that can help people suffering from mental fog, depression, difficulty focusing, and anxiety. It may improve memory and reduce brain damage in the long run.

5. Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa MonnieriIndians know this herb by the name Brahmi and they use it in alternative medicine (Ayurveda). It is one of the most powerful herbal remedies for mental conditions.

Bacopa monnieri increases levels of brain chemicals that play a role in thinking and remembering. It may also help protect brain cells from Alzheimer's disease. Men and women take this herb for combating memory loss, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and stress.

6. Panax Ginseng

Panax GinsengYou must have heard about this herb. The Asian Panax ginseng is one of the most widely used adaptogen herbs that is taken for supporting overall physical and mental health. Panax ginseng has a tall list of uses, from preventing cancer, to treating flu, to enhancing sexual performance.

As far as mental function is concerned, Panax ginseng has been shown to improve brain function, thinking skills, and memory. It can also boost your mood and make you feel happier and energized.

Panax ginseng works for men and women of all ages, but it may have more benefits for people in their middle-age and older.

7. Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola RoseaRhodiola rosea is a flowering plant that grows in cold Arctic regions. The root extract is used in dietary supplements to reduce fatigue and promote longevity.

This herb possesses neuroprotective effects, and is used for cognitive enhancement. Animal studies showed that it enhances memory, but there is no evidence that it helps memory in healthy persons.

Rhodiola rosea has no side effects, so it won't hurt you to try this one.

8. Lion's Mane Mushroom

Lion's Mane MushroomWhile some mushrooms get you high and damage your brain cells, others may actually repair and protect your brain cells. Lion's mane mushroom is one of the brain-healthy mushrooms that people use as a cognitive enhancer.

Research suggests that this mushroom can reduce cognitive and memory decline. It also seems to stimulate nerve cells.

9. Vinpocetine

Vinca MinorVinpocetine is a chemical compound that is extracted from the plant Vinca minor. It is also synthesized in the lab for use in supplements.

Used as a nootropic supplement to enhance cognition and memory, vinpocetine works by increasing blood flow to the brain and protecting neurons from damage. People take vinpocetine to reduce age-related mental decline.