One of the most common questions we get asked is “How do I get rid of brain fog?” or “I don’t feel like I am working optimally.” While the ability to focus vs enjoy tasks set before you are two different topics, they speak to the same idea: our brains are tired and burn-out is a real thing. While this may be true, there are many simple teas and tinctures one utilize to help optimize brain health and to boost the mood, creativity, and the ability to focus and be productive.
Herbs for Mental Alacrity:
- Gingko Biloba: You’ve probably heard of gingko before and with good reason! Gingko leaves have been used since antiquity for complaints of the mind and in recent years studies have shown it to have a mild effect in staving off dementia in elderly populations[i]. As a tea, it tastes a bit bland, grainy and earthy, and because of this, it is often formulated in tandem with other herbs to mask its flavor. It is also incorporated into capsules and tinctures (alcoholic extracts of plants) for potency. Because it increases circulation to the brain, it is best to avoid if you suffer from chronic migraines, are on blood thinners, or have suffered cerebrovascular damage such as strokes, recent head trauma, or from surgery.
- Tulsi: Tulsi is related to basil and it’s also known as Holy Basil due to its reverence for Indian culture. Tulsi is an herb that opens the mind and the spirit, tastes delicious in teas and tinctures, and provides gentle support. This safe and effective herb not only helps you have a clearer day, it helps you tap into your deeper desires and, with time, is an ally to achieving that which you most desire for yourself.
- Rosemary: Rosemary for remembrance is not just simply an old saying, it’s actually true! Research has shown that just smelling rosemary can help stimulate the mind and increase short-term recall[ii]. This herb can be brought into your life in a multitude of ways as it grows easily, works great in cuisine, tea, and tincture. For memory, it is often best used when tasted or smelled just before a memory task. If you have trouble recalling, smell rosemary and see if it comes back to you!
- Green Tea: Green tea is my stimulant of choice. It lacks the higher caffeine content of coffee or energy drinks and also contains calming phytonutrients such as Theanine to help promote a calm, collected, focus rather than feeling overstimulated. It is also wildly antioxidant which helps support cardiovascular, neurological, and digestive health[iii][iv].
Now, everyone knows the best herbal formulas are handmade and tailored to the individual, the above-listed herbs are popular and easy to find but for best results, schedule a visit a registered naturopathic doctor to get a care plan that is tailored specifically to you!
[i] Ghorani-Azam A, et al. Herbal medicine as a promising therapeutic approach for the management of vascular dementia: A systematic literature review. PMID: 29786916
[ii] Rasoolijazi H, et al. The effect of rosemary extract on spatial memory, learning and antioxidant enzymes activities in the hippocampus of middle-aged rats. 2015 Mar 9;29:187. eCollection 2015.PMID 26034740
[iii] Rietveld A, Wiseman S. Antioxidant effects of tea: Evidence from human clinical trials J Nutr 133(10):3285S-92
[iv] Riemersma RA, Rice-Evans CA, Tyrrell RM, Clifford MN, Lean ME. Tea flavonoids and cardiovascular health QJM 94(5):277-82
Brian Keenan, ND
Area of Emphasis:
Dr. Keenan specializes in stress management, nutritional counseling, weight loss, digestive problems, insomnia, thyroid disease, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. He is passionate about working in collaboration with your care team to find the root cause of illness to allow you to go after your unique passions and lead the life you want to lead! He is an expert and educator in herbal medicines having taught at Bastyr University for 5 years on the subject and utilizes herbs extensively in his practice.
1320 Central Park Blvd.