Your brain is constantly on—processing, analyzing, deciding, reacting—and it needs support to function at its best.* Whether you want to combat mental fatigue at the end of a long day or maintain cognitive function as you age, herbs for memory and the brain can help.*
Here, we’ll shine the spotlight on seven herbal superstars, including mushrooms, that support cognition and overall brain health.*
We’ll also discuss how to easily add these pure and potent supplements to your wellness routine. First, let’s take a look at the herbs themselves.
Herbs for Memory Support and Brain Health*
Saffron, scientifically known as Crocus sativus, comes from the pistil of the autumn crocus flower. It is used in the kitchen in dishes like Saffron rice and Spanish paella and has a history of use in ancient Greek, Egyptian, Persian, and Indian systems of medicine.
In traditional medicine, Saffron was used to support brain, liver, and lung function as well as women’s health.*
Current research continues to indicate a use for this herb for memory support and brain health specifically, noting its ability to support healthy brain aging, focus, and mood.*
The science also suggests that Saffron and its components can support learning and memory and “can be considered as promising agents to support the nervous system.”*1
With anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (among others), scientists report that Saffron has “neuroprotective effects” that should not be ignored.*2
Ginkgo, or Ginkgo biloba, is a hardy tree, unique in that it is the oldest surviving species of tree on the planet. The extract of this plant is effective in supporting the body in various ways, including maintaining healthy brain function.*3
It has quite a long history of traditional use (Ginkgo properties were first recorded around 2,800 B.C.). Today, its benefits are well-researched, with studies backing its use to support cognitive functions such as recall, recognition, memory, attention, concentration, mood, and energy levels.*
Spearmint is, of course, a member of the mint family and is known scientifically as Mentha spicata. You probably know this herb well from its culinary uses and because it grows in nearly every temperate climate, though it is native to Europe and Southwest Asia.While this herb is used in all sorts of products, from jams to mouthwash, it is also used to support health and well-being.* It can help with occasional digestive complaints, support relaxation, and, perhaps most noteworthy of all, help support memory.*4
For example, one study noted that supplementation with Spearmint extract supported the “quality of working memory and spatial working memory accuracy.”5
4) Lemon Balm
Another member of the mint family, Melissa officinalis, commonly referred to as Lemon Balm, is a culinary, cosmetic, and medicinal herb. It has been used to support digestion, promote a sense of calm, and maintain balance for the nervous system.*
Extracts of this herb have “been shown to bind directly to both nicotinic and muscarinic receptors in human brain tissue,” which play a role in learning and memory processes.*6
Lemon Balm may also promote focus and a sense of calm in order to help support a tired brain.*
Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) also goes by the names water hyssop, herb of grace, and Indian pennywort. This pretty, water-loving succulent is prized within Ayurvedic medicine as a nootropic, or an herb that supports mental performance.*
Research indicates that Bacopa can support learning as well as help maintain short-term and long-term memory.*7 In particular, studies highlight its potential to support cognitive performance in the aging population as well as memory free recall.*8,9,10
For example, one study involving adults between the ages of 40 and 65 showed that Bacopa supports the retention of new information.*11
6) Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Up to this point, we’ve focused on plants and herbs for memory support and brain health, but we’d also like to mention a mushroom called Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus).
It has a rich history of use within Traditional Chinese Medicine as a mushroom for brain and neurological health. Modern research also suggests this fungus has the ability to support brain health.*
One study on humans suggests that Lion’s Mane can help support improvement of mild cognitive impairment.12,13 Though more research is needed to draw specific conclusions, this study shows that Lion’s Mane has the potential to support brain health in positive and significant ways.*
7) Gotu Kola
Finally, we’d like to talk about the herb Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica), which is a member of the parsley family and is regarded as a spiritual herb. It is used to improve meditation, develop the crown chakra, and is known as a rejuvenative herb within Ayurvedic medicine.*
Gotu Kola is often used to support hair, skin, and nail health, but it is also a nervine. These herbs help support healthy neurotransmitter function, mental alertness, and memory.*
One particular animal study notes that the aqueous extract of Gotu Kola “has [a] cognitive enhancing effect.” While we cannot be certain this result directly applies to humans and more research is needed, the findings are promising.*14
Herbal Supplements for Memory and Brain Health*
Now that you know a bit more about some of the most popular herbs for memory and brain health, we’d like to share the easiest way to work them into your day-to-day wellness routine: taking single-herb supplements as well as expertly formulated herbal blends.*
Single Herb Supplements
Gaia Herbs Bacopa is a full spectrum, single-herb, concentrated extract designed to support brain health during all stages of life.*
This supplement is made with superior-quality Bacopa grown right in our own greenhouse in North Carolina, and Gaia Herbs is one of the only U.S. sources for this revered Ayurvedic herb.
To benefit from this herb, simply take one capsule once or twice a day with meals.
Both deliver a pure dose of this ancient herb, which helps maintain mental focus and overall cognitive health.*
If you aren’t familiar with taking liquid extracts, it’s quite easy: Just add 30-40 drops of Ginkgo Leaf liquid extract in a small amount of water and drink this dose three times daily between meals.
Gotu Kola is another herb that is available in a liquid extract. Gaia Herbs Gotu Kola Leaf is USDA Certified Organic and designed to support mental focus.*
As with our Ginkgo Leaf extract, simply take 30-40 drops of Gotu Kola Leaf in a small amount of water three to four times daily between meals.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s Mane has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese and Japanese Medicine for supporting brain and neurological health.*
Our pure Lion’s Mane Mushroom supplement contains only the fruiting bodies of 100% organically grown and sustainably sourced Lion’s Mane mushrooms.
Each capsule contains 2,500 mg of dried Lion’s Mane mushrooms to support mental performance, cognition, focus, and nervous system health.* At 5x strength, you get the support you need in just one capsule per day.*
Herb Blends for Brain Health*
The herbal supplements listed below use a customized, expertly formulated blend of herbs for memory and brain health to provide targeted support.* Keep reading to find out which one may best fit your lifestyle and individual needs.
By growing herbs ourselves, we can cultivate them exactly the way we want, nurturing and observing each plant until the right moment to harvest.
For plants used in our supplements that we cannot grow on our own farm, our network of organic and sustainable communities allows us to source herbs from where they grow best and where conditions are ideal to produce the highest possible level of botanical compounds.
And as a part of our overall commitment to transparency, we want to make it easy for you to learn more about the origin of your herbs and how they were grown, as we believe that you deserve to know exactly what’s in your herbal supplements.
That’s why we created meetyourherbs.com, the world’s first herb traceability platform. In this program, you can enter the ID number located on the back of any Gaia Herbs product and instantly learn when your product was manufactured and about each herb in your product—where it came from; how it was grown, harvested, and extracted; and its level of purity and potency.
You can be assured that our products are safely produced without the use of pesticides and other toxins that can damage our bodies and the earth.
Made with four of the powerhouse cognitive herbs discussed in this article, Gaia Herbs Nootropic Focus is a great choice to help promote concentration so you can keep up with the demands of a fast-paced life.*
Enjoy the benefits of a revitalizing blend of Saffron, Lemon Balm, Ginkgo, and Spearmint in these easy-to-take Liquid Phyto-Caps®.*
Adults should take two capsules once or twice daily between meals.
For memory and brain support in powder form, go with Gaia Herbs Mind Spring. This product contains a synergistic blend of mushrooms and herbs traditionally taken for brain health and recall, including Lion's Mane mushrooms, Turmeric, Ginkgo, Gotu Kola, and Holy Basil.*
Mind Spring is USDA Certified Organic and contains no added fillers, flavors, or sweeteners. You can count on it to be vegan and free of dairy, gluten, and soy.
And best of all—it’s easy to take! Add it to your smoothie or stir it into a milk of your choice. One teaspoon, once a day is all that’s needed.
If you prefer to take brain-supporting mushrooms and herbs via capsules, opt for Gaia Herbs Mental Clarity Mushrooms & Herbs.
This is a great formula to help restore focus if you’re feeling overtaxed and distracted.* Adults should take two capsules two times a day between meals.
Support Cognition, Memory, and Brain Health Naturally
Your brain needs to be cared for and supported just like the rest of your body. With the right herbs for memory support and brain health, you can do just that.* Turn to herbs and mushrooms like Saffron, Ginkgo, Spearmint, Lemon Balm, Bacopa, Lion’s Mane, and Gotu Kola.
Find them in concentrated, pure, herbal supplements that support the brain such as Gaia Herbs Ginkgo Supreme, Nootropic Focus, Mind Spring, Mental Alertness, and the others we’ve shared in this article. *
Let these herbs nourish and support your brain to help keep it sharp and functioning at its full potential all day, every day!*
1. Mohammad Reza Khazdair et al. “The Effects of Crocus Sativus (Saffron) and Its Constituents on Nervous System: A review,” Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, no. 5 (2015): 376–391, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4599112.
2. Yaqi Bian, Chen Zhao, and Simon Ming-Yuen Lee, “Neuroprotective Potency of Saffron Against Neuropsychiatric Diseases, Neurodegenerative Diseases, and Other Brain Disorders: From Bench to Bedside,” Frontiers in Pharmacology 11 (2020), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7573929.
3. Sandeep Kumar Singh, “Neuroprotective and Antioxidant Effect of Ginkgo Biloba Extract Against AD and Other Neurological Disorders,” Neurotherapeutics 16, no. 3 (2019): 666–674, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6694352.
4. Snezana Agatonovic-Kustrin, “Essential Oils and Functional Herbs for Healthy Aging,” Neural Regeneration Research 14, no. 3 (2019): 441–445, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334595.
5. Kelli A. Herrlinger et al., “Spearmint Extract Improves Working Memory in Men and Women with Age-Associated Memory Impairment,”Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 24, no. 1 (2018): 37-47, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5779242/.
6. David O Kennedy and Andrew B Scholey, “The Psychopharmacology of European Herbs With Cognition-Enhancing Properties,” Current Pharmaceutical Design 12, no. 35 (2006): 4613-23, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17168769.
7. K. Nishteswar, Hemang Joshi, and Rahul Dutt Karra, “Role of Indigenous Herbs in The Management of Alzheimer's Disease,” Ancient Science of Life 34, no. 1 (2014): 3-7, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4342646.
8. Chuenjid Kongkeaw et al. “Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials on Cognitive Effects of Bacopa Monnieri Extract,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 151, no. 1 (2014): 528-35, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24252493.
9. Carlo Calabrese, “Effects of a Standardized Bacopa Monnieri Extract on Cognitive Performance, Anxiety, and Depression in the Elderly: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 14, no. 6 (2008): 707-13, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18611150.
10. Matthew P Pase et al. “The Cognitive-Enhancing Effects of Bacopa Monnieri: A Systematic Review of Randomized, Controlled Human Clinical Trials,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 18, no. 7 (2012): 647-52, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22747190.
11. Steven Roodenrys et al. “Chronic Effects of Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri) on Human Memory,” Neuropsychopharmacology 27, no. 2 (2002): 279-81, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12093601.
12. I-Chen Li et al., “Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines,” Behavioural Neurology (2018), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987239/.
13. Koichiro Mori et al., “Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double‐blind placebo‐controlled clinical trial,” Phytotherapy Research 23, no. 3 (2009): 367-372, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.2634.
14. M. H. Veerendra Kumar and Y. K. Gupta, “Effect of Different Extracts of Centella Asiatica on Cognition and Markers of Oxidative Stress in Rats,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 79, no. 2 (2002): 253-60, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11801389.