Five Healing Plants for Better Cognition

These herbs for improved cognition and function are non toxic, produce a nonspecific response in the body and have a normalising impact on the body.  These superhero herbs work by increasing the body’s resistance to a variety of physical, chemical, emotional and environmental stressors, and therefore help with stress. 

Each of these herbs can help you cope with stress and anxiety while also improving your overall wellbeing.   

1) Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)

Beatrice Society - Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)

Holy Basil or Tulsi is known as “The Mother Medicine of Nature” and has been used for millennia to relieve mental fog, poor memory, mild depression and anxiety.  It can help you stay present, focused and allow you to handle stress. 

Tulsi has been found to protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals and physical stress from prolonged physical exertion.

2) Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) 

Beatrice Society - Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) 

Rhodiola has been used to stimulate the nervous system, increase energy, decrease depression and eliminate fatigue.  Similar to other adaptogens, Rhodiola protects the body from oxidative stress that can block our ability to detoxify, repair and regenerate. 

Rhodiola appeared to have an antidepressant-like effect in a study by targeting various components of the neuroendocrine system and neurotransmitter receptors which can help uplift your mood.  

*Note: Do not take Rhodiola past 3pm as it can increase energy. 

3) Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Beatrice Society - Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

This small shrub with yellow flowers has the ability to combat the effects of oxidative stress, anxiety and can help with sleep problems or sleep disorders. 

A double blind placebo controlled study found that taking Ashwagandha safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life with regards to cognition and function.

*Note:  Ashwagandha is an immunostimulant and may affect those who have an autoimmune disorder.  Please consult your practitioner before using.

4) Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)

Beatrice Society - Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)

Schisandra is a powerful berry that is beneficial to those suffering from extreme exhaustion, low physical and mental performances and in improving liver health.

One study performed a 2-10 week treatment on patients with nervous disorders where there was an increase in general well-being and working capacity, as well as a decrease in sleepiness and exhaustion. 

5) Panax Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Beatrice Society - Panax Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Ginseng has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years.  It has been known as a general tonic to create vital energy and alleviate fatigue and stress, while improving cognition and function. 

Research studies have concluded that ginseng is potentially an effective candidate for easing stress and can therefore improve the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and is just one of many adaptogens to help with stress.

**This list of common herbal supplements to improve cognition is for informational purposes only. Talk to your Doctor, Naturopath or Health Care Provider to discuss specific medical conditions or symptoms or if you are taking prescriptions.

Photo credits: Brooke Lundmark

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