Natural Herbs

All Natural Nootropics listed on the website compiled in this page for easy accessibility:

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Summary: Cordyceps is a mushroom used in Traditional Chinese Medicine that is touted to be anti-aging and pro-vitality; these quite vague claims have not yet been looked at in human interventions. It can regulate testicular testosterone production, but has complex mechanisms.

cordyceps militaris
Cordyceps Militaris

Introduction

What is Cordyceps Militaris Mushroom?

According to the theory of Chinese medicine, C. sinensis is sweet in taste and neutral in nature, and it can replenish the kidney, soothe the lung, stop bleeding, and eliminate phlegm. The fungus C. sinensis has been used for the treatment of fatigue, cough, hyposexuality, asthenia after severe illness, renal dysfunction, and renal failure (State Pharmacopoeia Commission of PRC 2005). In China, it is found in the soil of prairies at elevations of 3500–5000 m, mainly in the provinces of Qinghai, Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Gansu. In China, C. sinensis has been known and used as a remedy for more than 300 years. It was first recorded in Ben Cao Bei Yao by Wang Ang in 1694, and the Italian scholar Saccardo named the Cordyceps found in China officially as Cordyceps sinensis (Berk.) Sacc. in 1878; this nomenclature has been used ever since. [R]

Cordyceps vs. Reishi vs. Lion’s Mane

Along with other mushrooms like the Chaga mushroom and turkey tail mushroom, cordyceps, reishi and lion’s mane are three of the most popular medicinal mushrooms on the market. That being said, there are plenty of similarities between these three unique types of mushrooms as well as several things that set them apart.

Reishi mushrooms have been associated with an extensive list of health benefits, ranging from improved liver function to enhanced immunity in human and animal studies. Available in extract, capsule and powder form, reishi mushrooms are often used as a natural remedy to help boost health and increase antioxidant intake.

And while both reishi and cordyceps mushrooms are most commonly found in supplement form, lion’s mane is an edible mushroom that can be purchased from specialty grocery stores and used to bump up the benefits of your favorite recipes. Like other types of medicinal mushrooms, lion’s mane mushroom is high in inflammation-busting antioxidants and can help maximize immunity to support better health. However, it’s also been shown to improve brain function and protect against stomach ulcers in animal models.

Dr.Axe


History

The ecosystem of C. sinensis has been terribly affected by the restriction of habitat and over- exploration. Although the Ordinance of Resources Protection on Wild Herbal Medicine was issued in 1987, the yield of natural C. sinensis is still decreasing. It was reported based on a survey conducted during June–July 2007 that the yield of natural C. sinensis decreased by more than 90% in the last 25 years. The price rocketed to more than 200,000 Renminbi (RMB)/kg (approximately US$25,000) in 2007 (Feng, Yang, and Li 2008), and its usage was limited during the past decade by its limited supply. [R]

Due to the rarity and outstanding curative effects of C. sinensis, some natural substitutes such as C. militaris, C. liangshanensis, C. gunnii, and C. cicadicola have been sold in markets (Yang et al. 2009). In addition, several cultured mycelia of C. sinensis and C. militaris fungi have become the main substitutes of the natural species as commercial products, and 50 medicines and two dietary supplements related to cultured Cordyceps have been approved by the State Food and Drug Administration of China since 2002 (Feng, Yang, and Li 2008). For example, JinShuiBao capsule, the commercial product of Cs-4 (Paecilomyces hepialid, a standardized mycelium of C. sinensis), has been used in clinics throughout China. This product generates several million U.S. dollars every year. Synnematum sinensis, Cephalosporium sinensis, Gliocladium roseum, and Mortierella hepialid, the fungus strains isolated from natural C. sinensis, have also been subjected to large- scale fermentation and are used as commercial products (Cheung, Li, and Tsim 2005). Therefore, much effort has been invested in studying the evaluation of the quality, pharmacological activities, and clinical efficacies of natural and cultured cordyceps. In this chapter, we focus on the bioactivities, action mechanisms, and active ingredients of cordyceps, both natural and cultured. [R]

Cordyceps sinensis (C sinensis) is a well-known, traditional, Chinese medicinal mushroom, valued for its beneficial properties for human health. C sinensis has been reported to have immunomodulatory, anticancer, anti aging, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. [R]

Cordyceps is a mushroom traditionally used to treat sexual dysfunction and fertility in Chinese medicine, as well as a general sexual tonic and libido/performance enhancer. [1]

This mushroom belongs to phylum Ascomycota, the sub-phylum Ascomycota and the class Clavicipitaceae; which as a whole is seen as medicinal.

The most commonly used species is Sinensis, which is a Cordyceps to be shown to contain the bioactive compound Cordycepin (3′-deoxyadenosine). It is also present in Militaris and Kyushuensis.

Isolation of Cordycepin dates back to 1950, first discovered in Militaris. Cordycepin is known as a nucleotide analogue, due to its structural similarities to adenosine.

Cordyceps possesses a potent anti-oxidative effect. The anti-oxidative effects of Cordyceps come mostly from the polysaccharide content, and is equally potent between the Mycelium and the fruiting body of Cordyceps.

Cordyceps (also known as Cordyceps Sinensis, Cordyceps Militaris, Caterpillar Fungus, Caterpillar Mushroom, Summer grass-winter worm, Totsu kasu, Yarchakunbu, Aweto) is a form of traditional chinese medicine that benefits its user by boosting testosterone and supports anti-aging and longevity. It is also widely used for its libido and sexual health benefits.

Cordyceps militaris is a species of mushroom in the family Clavicipitaceae which has been used in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine for centuries. These interesting parasitic fungi usually use insects and arthropods as hosts. As their mycelium grows, it takes over the host’s tissues and long club-like fruiting bodies eventually emerge individually or in cluster form. Cordyceps Militaris is just one species in the family, but is well-known for its aggressive takeover of its host as well as for its purported health benefits.

Cordyceps Militaris historically has been used as an aphrodisiac, and was first documented in a 15th-century Tibetan text. However, Cordyceps militaris Mushroom Capsules today are sometimes used for a variety of health issues.

Benefits and Effects

What Are Cordyceps Mushroom Benefits?

Boosts Exercise Performance

Cordyceps have been shown to improve measures of exercise performance in older and younger adults.

In a study conducted by the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles, where 20 health adults aged 50 to 75 were receiving 333 mg vs placebo 3 times a day for 12 weeks, the result was the following:

After receiving Cs-4 for 12 weeks, the metabolic threshold (above which lactate accumulates) increased by 10.5% from 0.83 ± 0.06 to 0.93 ± 0.08 L/min (p < 0.02) and the ventilatory threshold (above which unbuffered H+ stimulates ventilation) increased by 8.5% from 1.25 ± 0.11 to 1.36 ± 0.15 L/min. Significant changes in metabolic or ventilatory threshold were not seen for the subjects in the placebo group after 12 weeks, and there were no changes in V̇o2 max in either group. [R]

Promotes Longevity and Anti-Aging

Several studies have found that Cordyceps increase antioxidants in aged mice, helping improve memory and sexual function. Antioxidants are molecules that fight cell damage by neutralizing free radicals, which can otherwise contribute to disease and aging.

The following study The study was conducted at the Center for Biological Research, University of Belgrade. The participants were 6 individuals, 2 males and 4 females, between the ages of 20 and 45 years old. The outcome measures of the studies were the following:

For the posttreatment, the CS extract exhibited antigenotoxic potential by attenuating H2O2-induced DNA damage at all concentrations tested. The evaluation of repair kinetics showed a decrease in DNA-damaged cells 15 min after the application of the CS extract, reaching a maximum potency after 45 min. Conclusions • The results indicated that C sinensis can be used as a postapplicative agent that counteracts the effect of oxidative stress. The resulting reduction in DNA damage might be related to its scavenging properties and stimulation of DNA repair. [R]

Helps Fight Inflammation

Research has shown that when human cells are exposed to Cordyceps, special proteins that increase inflammation in the body become suppressed. Thanks to these potential effects, researchers believe Cordyceps may serve as a useful anti-inflammatory supplement or drug.

A study by the College of Pharmacy, Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul has found to contain acute anti-inflammatory activity, which was evaluated using the carrageenin-induced edema, and also strong antinociceptive activity in writhing test. CME and FBE contain potent inhibitory activity on the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) angiogenesis in a dose-dependent manner.

In brief, we demonstrate that Cordyceps militaris possesses anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities, and related antioxidant, anti-angiogenic, and NO production-inhibitory activities. [R]

Anti-Tumor and Fights Cancer in Several Pathways

Due to the limitations of surgery and radiotherapy and the side effects of chemotherapy, there is increasing interest in developing antitumor drugs from natural products. Studies have shown that cordyceps has antitumor activity in various cancers through several pathways. Both natural and cultured cordyceps have demonstrated antitumor effects [R]

Mechanism of Action

How Do Cordyceps Work?

Cordyceps might improve immunity by stimulating cells and specific chemicals in the immune system. It may also have activity against cancer cells and may shrink tumor size, particularly with lung or skin cancers.

Dosage

How To Take Cordyceps Mushrooms?

The dosage commonly used in human research is 1,000–3,000 mg per day. This range is not associated with side effects and has been found to have certain health benefits.

There is no indication if this is the optimal dose or not, and it is uncertain if this dosage is even effective as some of the research has come back null.

The appropriate dose of cordyceps depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cordyceps. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be significant.

A little more on the explanation from Nootropics Depot:

In terms of comparing Cordyceps dosages, it is essential to remember that the 10:1 extract isn’t technically 10 times stronger than the 1:1 extract. With this in mind, our label recommends 1 gram (or 1000mg) of the 10:1 extract, which is the same dosage for the 1:1 extract. However, anecdotally, the 10:1 extract is quite a bit more stimulating so 250-500mg may be adequate as well. Many people prefer to split their 1:1 dosage into two 500mg doses spread out over the day.

This is especially true for those that can get minor stomach upset with higher dosages of Cordyceps. Our Cordyceps capsules are 500mg of our 1:1 extract in each capsule. The 10:1 seems to be stronger in some aspects, but also smoother in others. Many people find that a single 250mg dose is adequate for the 10:1. As always, this all comes down to your personal preference and what works best for you.

Side Effects

What Are Cordyceps Mushrooms Side Effects?

Cordyceps is generally safe for most people when taken appropriately by mouth, short-term.

The long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests they are nontoxic. Moreover, the Chinese government approved the use of cordyceps for use in hospitals and regards it as a safe, natural drug. [R]

WebMD suggests caution and prevention of usage for the following cases:

Pregnancy and breastfeeding:

There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking cordyceps if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Cordyceps might cause the immune system to become more active. This could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using cordyceps.

Bleeding disorders: Cordyceps might slow blood clotting. Taking cordyceps might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Surgery: Using cordyceps might increase the risk of bleeding during the operation. Stop taking cordyceps 2 weeks before surgery.

Conclusion

Cordyceps are well known in Traditional Chinese Medicine and have been used for centuries to treat many health ailments.

Though the fungi show promise in many areas, there’s little research on their effects in humans. Thus, more research is needed before experts can make any recommendations.

Animal and lab studies suggest Cordyceps have the potential to improve heart health and fight inflammation, cancer, diabetes and aging. However, many of these studies are poor quality, and the results cannot be extended to humans.

Nevertheless, there have been human studies on Cordyceps’ effects on exercise performance. The fungi have been found to potentially boost energy and oxygen use during exercise.

If you choose to take Cordyceps supplements, make sure they’ve been tested by a third-party organization for purity and quality.


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Summary: Ginkgo biloba is the most commonly ingested herb for brain health. Research proves that its neuroprotective, improves memory, boosts cognitive function, to name a few of its diverse benefits.

Introduction

What is Ginkgo Biloba?

Ginkgo biloba derives from the family of medicinal plant  Ginkgoaceae – which is highly loved, appreciated, and respected traditional Chinese medicine. It is the last and only ‘ginkgoaceae’ plant still existing today. The rest of the family is said to have gone extinct, after nearly 190 million years of existence. [R]

Today, Ginkgo biloba (also known as Tebonin, Tanakan, Rökan, Maidenhair, and gingko) is the most widely used herb for cognitive function and brain health.

Moreover, it is one of the top 10 best selling dietary supplements in the whole world. [R]

Although more commonly used by older people, the wide variety of benefits it possesses make it appeal to people of all ages.

Ginkgo biloba, commonly known as ginkgo or gingko, also known as the maidenhair tree, is the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta, all others being extinct. It is found in fossils dating back 270 million years. Native to China, the tree is widely cultivated, and was cultivated early in human history. – Wikipedia


Benefits & Effects

What Are The Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba?

  • Improves Memory (Formation, Consolidation, and Recall)
  • Ginkgo Relieves Anxiety & Stress (Generalized Anxiety)
  • Ginkgo biloba Relieves Depression Symptoms
  • Ginkgo biloba Protects Mitochondrial Health and Supports Longevity
  • Provides Neuroprotection
  • Promotes Nerve Repair and Neurogenesis
  • Promotes Better Sleep Quality
  • Treats Sexual and Erectile Dysfunction

Supporting Research:

Improves Memory (Formation &Recall)

In a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized clinical trial of an extract of Ginkgo biloba for dementia running over the course of 52 weeks and involving 309 patients, it was concluded that it is “capable of stabilizing improving the cognitive performance and the social functioning of demented patients for 6 months to 1 year.” [R]

Relieves Anxiety & Stress (Generalized Anxiety)

In another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial using ginkgo extract in patients with generalized anxiety disorder and ‘adjustment disorder with anxious mood’.

In this study, the results were “significantly superior to placebo on all secondary outcome measures. It was safe and well tolerated and may thus be of particular value in elderly patients with anxiety related to cognitive decline” [R]

Ginkgo biloba Relieves Depression Symptoms

Due to its ability of preserving serotonin and dopamine, as well as having strong protective and antioxidant effects, those 3 together allow ginkgo to provide an antidepressant effect. [R]

Protects Mitochondrial Health and Supports Longevity

Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) prevents mitochondrial aging by protecting it against oxidative stress. The study suggests that on a rodents experiment, the extract ‘partially’ prevented changes due to oxidative damage [R] and that sounded good enough for me to reach out to my supplements cabinet for a 120mg dose.

Provides Neuroprotection

In a different rodent study where they were fed ginkgo biloba, a reduction in platelet activating factor (PAF) activity was noted. That reduction seems to be one of the leading mechanisms allowing ginkgo to have neuroprotective effects. [R]

Promotes Nerve Repair and Neurogenesis

Ginkgo (bilobalide) appears to promote neuronal proliferation with higher potency than Rolipram. Moreover, this can apply to all neurons of the central nervous system as well as the peripheral nervous system (PNS). In addition to the cognitive function effect, this also underlie its nerve repair benefits. [R]

Promotes Better Sleep Quality

240mg Egb-761 over four weeks to depressed persons currently on therapy (trimipramine) was able to improve sleep efficiency by reducing the frequency of waking and increasing non-REM sleep, although REM sleep was unaffected. [R]

Treats Sexual Dysfunction

Some sources indicate that ginkgo may treat sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction or low libido.

Ginkgo has the ability to improve blood levels of nitric oxide, which improves circulation via the dilation of blood vessels. [R]

As a result, ginkgo may also be useful for treating various symptoms of sexual dysfunction by improving blood flow to those areas of the body.

Some research has investigated using ginkgo to treat sexual dysfunction caused by the use of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs). Results indicated that ginkgo wasn’t any more effective than a placebo in these cases.

Additionally, there may be an interaction between ginkgo and SSRI medications, which could render them less effective.

One study evaluated the use of ginkgo to increase sexual desire and contentment in women who were concurrently undergoing sexual psychotherapy [R]

The combination of ginkgo and therapy were effective over a longer term compared to a placebo, but supplementing with ginkgo alone was not.
The rationale for using ginkgo to treat sexual dysfunction makes sense, but research does not support it at this time.


Mechanism of Action

How Does Ginkgo Biloba Work?

Absorption of oral supplementation allows for a 79% to 88% depending on the variant whether it is ginkgolide A, ginkgolide B, or bilabolide [R] which if you try to say out loud would sound in between funny and awkward.

Oral ingestion of ginkgo biloba is thought to increase dopamine concentration levels in the prefrontal cortex. Which is related to the flavonoids rather than terpenoids assuming anyone would care about that comparison. [R] – However, the fact that its neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects may actually be extending its effects to the dopaminergic neurons is sort of interesting. “The key benefits of Ginkgo originate in one’s circulatory system. The most popular and effective nootropics and smart drugs, typically have the ability to enhance circulation. Gingko supports the release of thromboxane A2 and prostacyclin. These help protect vessel walls, while blocking platelet formation. The end result is improved circulation in all major tissues and organs in the body.

Having excellent brain circulation is critical, because if circulation is poor, it can lead to severe imbalances. In more mild cases, individuals can experience headaches. In more severe cases, individuals could have a stroke. When you have good brain flow, these instances can be prevented.

This increased blood flow helps maintain healthy neural tissues. When neuron and synapse growth are supported, memory formation is enhanced. Gingko works by acting as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. This aids in the protection of acetylcholine levels. When all these effects are combined, they lead to greater neuroplasticity. This is the brain’s ability to adapt over time, which is key to mental power long-term.

While focusing on neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, Gingko acts as a Monoamine Oxidase inhibitor. Since this chemical generally decreases the amount of these neurotransmitters, Gingko helps to boost mental energy, clarity, and focus (by elevating levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine).”


Dosage

How to Take Ginkgo Biloba?

For its nootropic effect, the recommended dose is 120 to 240 mg, and to be taken 2 hours before the task or performance.

For neuroprotection and preventing cognitive degeneration, the recommended dose is 40 to 120mg, taken three times a day after food.

Ginkgo comes in various forms and seems to be most effective when taken in several doses throughout the day that total 120–240 mg.

Ginkgo Biloba Stack

Ginkgo biloba seems to synergize very well with another popular herb and one of my favorite nootropics, Panax Ginseng. The exact synergism isn’t really known or understood, but it is suggested that its synergy is especially effective and beneficial for memory formation and enhancement.

It also goes well with Phosphatidylserine. There are claims of Phosphatidylserine enhancing the efficacy of ginkgo biloba but the study on the subject lacked solid evidence therefore is irrelevant.

If you would like to boost the cognitive effects of Ginkgo, you should stack is with a choline-enhancing supplements. These are known as cholinergics, and include options such as Alpha GPC and Citicoline. By stacking with a choline supplement, you can amplify positive effects.


Side Effects

What Are Ginkgo Biloba Side Effects?

For most adults, the risk associated with taking ginkgo is relatively low, but there are cases in which ginkgo could cause serious harm. If you are allergic to plants that contain alkylphenols or taking certain medications, you should not take ginkgo. Possible side effects include:

  1. Nausea
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Dizziness
  4. Headaches
  5. Stomach pain

Those taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) as antidepressants should not take ginkgo as it inhibits monoamine oxidase, reducing the effectiveness of the medications.Combining the two may also increase the risk of a potentially fatal condition known as serotonin syndrome. Examples of SSRIs are Prozac, or fluoxetine, and sertraline, also known as Zoloft.


Conclusion

Ginkgo biloba has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacities and an ability to improve circulation.

Together, these characteristics have the potential to affect numerous body systems and diseases, although the science behind it still has some catching up to do.

While ginkgo has been used for centuries, it’s not completely understood how it works. Much of the available research is inconsistent or inconclusive, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

As with any herbal supplement, there are risks involved. Ginkgo could lead to serious health complications if you are allergic or taking certain medications.If you’re thinking of including ginkgo in your regimen, be sure to consult your doctor first.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does Ginkgo biloba work?

Ginkgo extract has proven benefits to elderly people. This ancient herb acts to enhance oxygen utilization and thus improves memory, concentration, and other mental faculties also to significantly improve long-distance vision and may reverse damage to the retina of the eye. Studies have also confirmed its value in the treatment of depression in elderly people. The ginkgo extract may provide relief for those who suffer from headaches, sinusitis, and vertigo. It may also help relieve chronic ringing in the ears known as tinnitus.

Healing properties:
Germany and France have run literally hundreds of studies on the leaf extract. These studies along with similar studies in America, have shown significant results. The extract of ginkgo biloba has been studied for its effectiveness in the treatment of acrocyanosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral atherosclerosis, cerebral insufficiencies, cochlear deafness, dementia, depression, menopause, peripheral and cerebral circulatory stimulation, peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud’s syndrome, retinopathy, senility, short-term memory loss, tinnitus, vascular diseases, and vertigo. It is said to be effective in improving the blood flow to the hands and the feet as well as stimulating the brain and reducing short-term memory loss. It increases blood flow to the brain, the uptake of glucose by brain cells, and has been said to improve the transmission of nerve signals.

Depression:
Patients suffering from varying degrees of vascular insufficiency also noted an improvement in mood while taking ginkgo biloba extract. This has prompted a surge of interest in its use as a treatment for depression, especially in the elderly. Those under the age of fifty may also benefit from ginkgo biloba’s antidepressant effects. So far though, the greatest level of improvement has been noted with older patients.

Alzheimer’s & mental function:
As more than 300 studies demonstrate, ginkgo facilitates better blood flow through out the body, most notably the brain, where it both protects and promotes memory and mental function, even for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Antioxidant Properties:
As an antioxidant, ginkgo biloba combats free radicals and repairs molecular damage. A great deal of research suggests that antioxidants such as GBE may play important roles in preventing or delaying heart disease, cancer and other ills. Antioxidants may even halt the damage to cells, thereby slowing the effects of aging.

Impotency:
Another use for ginkgo biloba is in the treatment of impotency. The main cause of male impotence is poor circulation and impaired blood flow through the penis, which is often the result of atherosclerosis. Since ginkgo biloba increases blood flow, it’s been found to help up to fifty percent of patients after six months of use.

Raynaud’s disease:
Raynaud’s disease is believed to be caused by blood vessels that over react to the cold and spasm, reducing blood flow and there by depriving extremities of oxygen. Ginkgo biloba may help this condition by widening the small blood vessels, which would keep these spasms from completely blocking the blood flow.

Parkinson’s Disease:
Ginkgo biloba may help symptoms by increasing the brain’s blood flow and thereby allowing more of the depleted dopamine to be circulated to the areas that need it most.

Other Conditions:
Other uses for which ginkgo biloba extract is often recommended include depression, diabetes related nerve damage and poor circulation, allergies, vertigo, short-term memory loss, headache, atherosclerosis, tinnitus, cochlear deafness, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and PMS.

Strokes:
Scientists continue to study the prevention and treatment benefits, ginkgo biloba may help stop strokes from occurring. It’s also believed that the herb inhibits free-radical damage of brain cells after a stroke.

Why is Ginkgo biloba called a living fossil?

You have to understand that Ginkgo biloba is the world’s oldest living plant. It is called a living fossil because it has no close living relatives and also appears to be the only plant species dating back 270 million years (Permian) in the fossil record. However, it is also one of a rare few (6%) dioecious flowering plants, meaning it has distinct male and female organisms. Not only has this exceptionally hardy species survived three mass extinction events over the past quarter of a billion years, but it was found to be the only surviving plant species near the epicenter of the August 6th, 1945 Hiroshima atomic bomb blast.

Does Ginkgo biloba actually enhance brain functions?

Yes. Scientific research support that it improves memory and cognitive thinking. But remember, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s not harmful. Some people are allergic to Ginkgo biloba. They can also interfere with other medications, boasting or decreasing their effects. If you take other medications, always ask your physician if it’s safe to take a new one.

How much Ginkgo biloba is safe?

There is no standard dose of ginkgo. Most studies have used a standardized extract of ginkgo, to 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones. For improving cognitive function, studies have used between 120 milligrams to 600 milligrams of the extract daily. The dose given to people with dementia is 40 milligrams of that extract three times daily. No matter why are you using ginkgo, you better start at a low dose (120 milligrams daily) and increase this level gradually while observing your body and its response to the supplement. 

Useful & Related Readings

Agmatine SulfateBacopa MonnieriMelatoninLion’s Mane MushroomL-Theanine, and more on the blog.

Ultimate Nootropics FAQNootropics 101Racetams 101


IntroductionBenefits & EffectsMechanism of ActionDosageSide EffectsFAQs

Summary: Bacopa monnieri is a powerful natural herb nootropic used for ages for its memory enhancing and anti-aging effects. It reduces anxiety and improves memory formation. It also expands learning capacity, decreases stress and even offers neuroprotection

Bacopa Video TTS

Introduction

What is Bacopa Monnieri?

Bacopa monnieri (also known as Brahmi) is one of the most acknowledged and widely respected nootropics. A traditional Ayurvedic medicine that has a good reputation of being a potent cognitive enhancer, stress and anxiety reliever, and brain protector. It improves memory formation and recall speed, it stimulates learning, enhances thought clarity, and increase brain function. It acts as a brain protectant, and studies confirm it as a potential remedy for dementia and similar conditions. Furthermore, it reduces anxiety and provides a feeling of calm and tranquility, all while eliminating stress. Users report it an excellent relaxant that improves sleep quality, leading to rejuvenating and refreshing rest. Its nootropic effects are comparable to those of Piracetam, one of the most popular smart drugs in the world. The supplement is produced from the plant extracts.

Benefits & Effects

What Are Bacopa Monnieri Benefits?

  1. Enhances Memory Formation
  2. Improves Learning and Cognition
  3. Reduces Anxiety and Stress
  4. Neuroprotective and Promotes Longevity (Anti-Aging)
  5. Reduces Symptoms of Depression

Supporting research:

Bacopa Monnieri Enhances Memory Formation

Enhancement in memory formation, as well as recall speed, is one of Bacopa’s primary benefits. Studies show that it significantly enhances memory in older people, and ongoing research is investigating its potential as a treatment of memory issues relating to neurological disorders.  (J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jul;16(7):753-9. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0342.)

Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. [1]

Improves Learning and Cognition

Bacopa Monnieri improves cognitive processing, making learning new things faster and easier. Studies show that it significantly enhances spatial learning, and it has also been confirmed to improve learning capacity in subjects under stress. Most users say that taking bacopa while studying makes it easier to understand and process new information. Reports carried out by clinical trials at India’s Central Drug Institute (CDRI) in Lucknow state that children taking bacopa show improved academic skills.[2]

Reduces Anxiety and Stress

Bacopa Monnieri is effective in reducing anxiety and stress. Clinical trials show that it significantly decreases anxiety and depression in volunteers, and animal studies compare bacopa to other plant extracts for the effective treatment of anxiety and similar disorders. [3] [4]

Neuroprotective and Promotes Longevity (Anti-Aging)

Bacopa is effective in reducing oxidative stress effects on the brain. It possesses potent antioxidant properties that protect the brain against environmental stressors associated in the cognitive decline relating to aging and associated with Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.[5]

Reduces Symptoms of Depression

In a study of individuals over 65 years old receiving 300mg dosage, the results show a notable decrease in depression symptoms as well as anxiety. [6]

Bacopa Monnieri waterhyssop
Bacopa is a genus of 70–100 aquatic plants belonging to the family Plantaginaceae. It is commonly known as water hyssop.

Mechanism of Action

How Does Bacopa Monnieri Work?

Bacopa’s nootropic and anxiolytic effects are due to its capability of enhancing neural communication as well as modulating the release of several neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and GABA.

Memory and Cognitive

Although it works over time by a variety of functions, bacopa improves memory and cognitive abilities by increasing synaptic communication. It promotes dendrites generation, thereby enhancing neural signaling. The improvement in neural impulse transmission is key to cognitive enhancement. The active ingredient in Bacopa monnieri extract (Bacoside-A) has been shown to stimulate nerve cells and cause synapses to be more receptive to nerve impulses. Studies show that Bacoside-A can prevent dopamine receptor dysfunction. Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter responsible for the brain’s reward and pleasure systems.

It also improves production of the enzyme Tryptophan Hydroxylase (TPH2); vital to many central nervous system actions such as the biosynthesis of serotonin. Furthermore, Bacopa stimulates activity in the hippocampus by increasing the activity of kinases, which are proteins that regulate cellular pathways. Because the hippocampus is involved in almost all cognitive activity, this is one of the main methods that allows bacopa to boost brain function.

Anxiety and Stress Relief

Bacopa monnieri produces its unique calming effects through several actions. One of the most crucial anxiety reduction effects is within its power to modulate the activity of certain neurotransmitters like those that regulate the uptake of serotonin, which is connecting to mood and anxiety.

Another active ingredient in bacopa is hersaponin, an alkaloid that provides a relaxing and soothing effect. Bacopa’s active ingredients also support the activity of GABA, another major neurotransmitter that acts to prevent anxiety by restricting the signaling of neuron over-excitement due to stress.

Dosage

How To Take Bacopa Monnieri?

The minimum effective dose of Bacopa Monnieri is 300mg, taken with food or fat source. Some people, myself included, find it more effective at a higher dosage.

I take 300 to 600mg depending on the purpose, while people like Dave Asprey recommend a daily dose of 750mg.

Side Effects

What Are Bacopa Monnieri Side Effects?

Bacopa monnieri side effects are uncommon. It is generally safe and effective, nevertheless, side effects can occur just as with any other nootropic.

Bacopa side effects range from minor (digestion issues and fatigue) to severe (thyroid disorders and urinary tract complications). Minor side effects usually disappear as the body adapts to the herb.

Rodent studies suggest bacopa may reduce sperm count, so it’s wise to avoid it if you are planning to conceive. However, it didn’t have any impact on sex drive nor testosterone. Moreover, sperm count returns to normal once supplementation stops. [7]

Severe side effects may include thyroid disorders, urinary tract problems, gastrointestinal blockage, adverse impact on ulcers and lung conditions, and bradycardia.

So start with the lowest effective dose, and observe your body’s reaction to it. If adverse effects occur, stop use.

Conclusion

Bacopa monnieri enhances cognitive abilities, reduces anxiety, and treats a variety of conditions. Although it works over time, the anxiety-relieving effects are immediate.

Its a precious addition to nootropic stacks. If you’re looking for a natural nootropic to boost your cognition, relieve anxiety, and protect your brain against oxidative stress, Bacopa would make an excellent choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the smart drug Bacopa monnieri work?

Yes it does and it is great. You can even grow it yourself on the balcony. It does bring more oxygen to the brain hence you feel stimulated. But can’t compare to synthetic nootropics.

If you want a good harmonizing (stress relief) with energizing stack. Take

1x Bacopa 300mg
1x Rhodiola rosea 300mg
1x Alpha-GPC 300mg

You can 1x 5-HTP 50mg (optional)

And throughout your day, if you drink coffee add 1x L-theanine 100-200mg in it.

How much Bacopa Monnieri should I take?

The minimum effective dose of Bacopa Monnieri is 300mg, taken with food or fat source. Some people, myself included, find it more effective at a higher dosage.

I take 300 to 600mg depending on the purpose, while people like Dave Asprey recommend a daily dose of 750mg.

Bacopa monnieri side effects are uncommon. It is generally safe and effective, nevertheless, side effects can occur just as with any other nootropic.

How long does it take Bacopa Monnieri to work?

The acute relaxation effects of Bacopa Monnieri start working as soon as it enters the bloodstream, which is typically 15 – 30 minutes after consumption.

The potential benefits of Bacopa Monnieri for improving memory and cognition will generally take effect within 4-6 weeks.

What are some uses of a Bacopa monnieri?

It can:

Enhance Memory Formation
Improve Learning and Cognition
Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Neuroprotective and Promote Longevity
Reduce Symptoms of Depression

Bacopa monnieri commonly called as ‘Brahmi’ is a perennial herb belonging to Plantaginaceae family of the flowering plants. In India it has been used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine as memory enhancer. It is also used in treatment of anxiety, digestive disorders, asthma, bronchitis and heart problems.

Further & Related Readings

  1. Ashwagandha
  2. Ginkgo biloba
  3. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
  4. Rhodiola Rosea
  5. Ultimate Nootropics FAQ

Back to Nootropics Information homepage.

IntroductionBenefits & EffectsMechanism of ActionDosageSide EffectsUser Experiences

Summary: Ashwagandha is an excellent herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It has become a popular nootropic due to its numerous health benefits. It is able to eliminate stress and anxiety. Research suggest that it helps in improving depression symptoms.

It also increases testosterone levels and significantly boosts sperm quality and fertility in men. Furthermore, it increases muscle mass, reduces body fat and increases strength.

Ashwagandha Video TTS

Introduction

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha (also known as Withania somnifera) is an excellent herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It has become a popular nootropic due to its multiple health benefits.

It is able to eliminate stress and anxiety. And research suggests it also helps in improving depression symptoms.

It also increases testosterone levels and significantly boosts sperm quality and fertility in men. Furthermore, it increases muscle mass, reduces body fat and increases strength.

Current users are rediscovering the traditional herb as a valuable brain-booster that improves cognition by combating the impacts of stress and helping mood enhancement.

Recent research confirms it as a promising adaptogen helping prevent the consequences of recurring anxiety.

Users find that it’s also a powerful anxiolytic; reducing stress and thereby enhances mood, decreases restlessness, insomnia, and sleep issues alike.

Withania somnifera, known commonly as ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family.

Wikipedia

Ashwagandha is a herb that belongs to the night shade family of plants. The nightshade family of plants is a very interesting one and includes a lot of vegetables that make up large parts of many diets. Notable nightshade members are potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, goji berries and even tobacco! Another name for the nightshade family is Solanaceae. This is where Ashwagandha gets its Latin name from; Withania somnifera. Ashwagandha is a short perennial shrub, with a large root system that develops small deep orange fruits. The fruits resemble a small cherry and the leaves look frosty due to the many tiny hairs that are on them. This one of the reasons why Ashwagandha is also referred to as ‘winter cherry’. Traditionally, the Ashwagandha root is used, however new research has found high concentrations of key components in the leaves too. Various manufacturers have taken notice of this. One of the most notable being Natreon who produce a specialized extract of Ashwagandha called Sensoril. Sensoril is made from the leaves of Ashwagandha, giving it a unique chemical composition, which produces noticeable calming effects.

  1. Sensoril Ashwagandha: Sensoril Ashwagandha is standardized to 10% glyco withanolides making it a potent and calming extract. Sensoril is made from a blend of Ashwagandha root and leave extracts, which is part of the reason why it is so potent. Sensoril is best taken during periods of high stress, or to help enhance sleep quality.
  2. KSM-66 Ashwagandha: KSM-66 is extracted using milk. Traditionally, Ashwagandha root powder is mixed with milk to enhance absorption, and thus  Ixoreal Bioscience decided to use milk as its extraction solvent. The end result is an Ashwagandha root only extract that is very well balanced. Effect-wise, KSM-66 is very uplifting and can help support healthy stress levels.
  3. Basic Ashwagandha: Nootropics Depot’s basic Ashwagandha is made from both Ashwagandha root and leaves, and is standardized to 4-5% withanolides. Effects wise, it appears to be a perfect blend of both KSM-66 and Sensoril. This Ashwagandha extract is uplifting and calming without being too calming or too energizing. Many people tend to prefer this Ashwagandha extract because it is so well balanced. In a blind test we did around the office, a vast majority of us preferred the regular Ashwagandha. However, if you are looking for specific effects, such as an extract that is very calming or an extract that is very uplifting, then this is not the Ashwagandha extract for you. 

Nootropics Depot

Benefits & Effects

What Are The Ashwagandha Benefits?

  1. Reduces Anxiety and Improves Depression Symptoms
  2. Reduces Cortisol Levels
  3. Improves Cognitive Function
  4. Reduces Arthritis Symptoms
  5. Reverses Deficits Pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease
  6. Helps in Weight Loss and Weight Management
  7. Improves Muscle Strength
  8. Treats Male Sexual Dysfunction
  9. Decreases Blood Pressure
  10. Combats Chemotherapy Fatigue
  11. Rejuvenation and Overall Health Improvement

Supporting research:

Reduces Anxiety and Improves Depression

Ashwagandha is best known for its ability to fight stress and to ease different types of anxieties (R) by eliminating stressors. It serves the body’s overall health, and empowers the immune system. Thereby preventing the damage of excessive cortisol. It enhances mood, sense of well-being, and all-around cognition.

Clinical trials verify Ashwagandha possess robust anxiety relief capabilities. As well as reducing symptoms of generalized & social anxiety.  Particularly useful for those suffering chronic stress (R).

Another study further reveals its potential as a treatment for mild depression and panic disorder (R).

Reduces Cortisol Levels

A 60-day regimen of Ashwagandha seems to efficiently decrease levels of serum cortisol in individuals with chronic stress. The finding is significant because high cortisol levels lead to health complications. Those range from immune system weakness to bone density. In many cases it further extends to weight gain, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Improves Cognitive Function

Studies on Ashwagandha enhancing memory and intelligence are few. However, at the same time, studies are confirming that anxiety is a significant cause of cognitive decline, impairing memory and attentiveness. Stress deregulates the body and brain natural processes. Normalizing those functions is, therefore, the critical element to restoring optimal cognition (R).

Individuals who frequently worry, stress out, or suffer from depression are the ones to benefit most from Ashwagandha.

Reduces Arthritis Symptoms

A 2015 Indian study comprising more than 100 patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed that after using Ashwagandha for several weeks, more than half those participants had a notable reduction in arthritic symptoms, including pain, movement difficulties, sore and swollen joints. (R)

Reverses Deficits Pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is the continuous impairing in memory and cognitive functions. After a 30-day course treatment using Ashwagandha, a complete reverse of the behavioral deficits is marked. This result shows how ashwagandha reverses the behavior of Alzheimer’s disease. It is achievable by the improvement of low-density lipoprotein protein in liver (R).

Helps in Weight Loss and Weight Control

A study of 52 people diagnosed with chronic stress revealed that two daily doses of 300 mg of Ashwagandha resulted in a significant reduction in stress and food cravings, along with a decrease in serum cortisol and body mass. (R)

Improves Muscle Strength

A series of studies on healthy men reveal that using 300 mg to 1250 mg of Ashwagandha on a daily basis show a measurable increase in muscle strength and intensity. In comparison to participants receiving a placebo, those on the Ashwagandha were able to increase their bench press and leg extension. Moreover, notable increases in muscle mass, testosterone, and muscle recovery. (R)

Treats Male Sexual Dysfunction

A pilot study of 46 men suffering weak sperm production found a remarkable result when using 675 mg of Ashwagandha daily for two weeks. Another finding from that clinical trial is an impressive rise of 167% in sperm count, a 53% rise in semen mass, and a 57% rise in sperm fluidity. Animal studies similarly confirm Ashwagandha enhance sexual performance, improve testicular sperm production, and boost serum testosterone levels (R).

Decreases Blood Pressure

Studies indicate that Ashwagandha leads to a measurable decrease in blood pressure. In research involving 100 participants using Ashwagandha for about six months, an average 1.6% decrease in systolic pressure and 5.6% decline in diastolic pressure is witnessed, along with a minor reduction in heart rate.

Combats Chemotherapy Fatigue

A 2013 trial involving more than 100 breast cancer individuals in all stages of the disease revealed that Ashwagandha efficiently reduced fatigue and weakness caused by chemotherapy. It also enhanced the quality of living. Even though it is not a treatment for cancer, it is a genuinely useful addition to the therapy for cancer patients. (R)

Rejuvenation and Overall Health Improvement

A comprehensive analysis of studies, data, and research on Ashwagandha confirm that it provides a variety of therapeutic effects without toxicity. The review concludes that Ashwagandha possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-stress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and rejuvenating qualities. It can exert a positive impact on the central nervous system. (R)


Mechanism of Action

How Does Ashwagandha Work?

The exact mechanisms by which Ashwagandha works remain non-entirely understood, but it appears that the active components are alkaloids and steroidal lactones that are collectively known as withanolides.

It is this combination of elements that are thought to have the potential for physiological action.

On GABA

One of the acknowledged mechanisms of the withanolide components of Ashwagandha is the modulation of circulating levels of MAO and GABA in the cerebellum. GABA is an amino that acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, countering to some extent the effects of the stimulatory neurotransmitter glutamate and therefore helping as a natural tranquilizer. Animal studies show that Ashwagandha further indicates GABA-like attributes and improves calmness without producing drowsiness. It has also been revealed to possess anti-depressant effects (R). It appears to work exceptionally well in combination with  SSRIs for compulsion-related mental disorders. As well as with GABAergic anxiolytics, including alcohol.

On Anti-oxidation

The active withanolides in Ashwagandha are also thought to produce stable antioxidant properties, which makes them a helpful brain protectant. Antioxidants are chemical molecules that restrict conceivably damaging oxidizing causes from harming cells in the cerebellum and body. Cells remained influenced by oxidation can convert to free radicals, particles that harm circling cells. The free radicals triggers a series response of cellular damage that affects the aging process and a variety of complications.

On Anti-inflammation

Ashwagandha seems to be a powerful anti-inflammation tool. Inflammation is a response of the body’s immune system; however, when the immune system is pushed to overactivity, inflammation converts into a health obstacle. Inflammation is correlating with a variety of disorders. From arthritis and joint discomfort to obesity, heart disease, fatigue, blood vessel damage, and even cancer. The anti-inflammatory attributes of Ashwagandha are at the core of many of its benefits. That includes shielding as well as enriching the immune system. Furthermore enhancing memory, improving the learning experience and reaction time, and preventing brain cell degeneration.

On Dendrite Development

Ashwagandha promotes the development of dendrites, branching neuronal extensions that carry and generate electrochemical stimulation from cell to cell. Increasing dendrite development is a marker of connectivity improvement in the cerebellum.


Dosage

How to Take Ashwagandha?

  1. Typically, Ashwagandha dose ranges between 300 mg to 600 mg as the highest.
  2. Its not advisable to take more than 600mg when using on daily basis.
  3. Take Ashwagandha with food and divide into two doses per day. If you prefer once a day, do so in the morning after breakfast.
  4. It is not-advisable to use Ashwagandha in combination with JK inhibitors or MAO inhibitors.

There is not one universal Ashwagandha dosage due to the different levels of standardization. However, in general, an Ashwagandha powder extract dosage is going to be around 300-500 mg. This general Ashwagandha dosage falls in line with the various extracts we carry. For example, the Ashwagandha dosage for KSM-66 is 300 mg and the Ashwagandha dosage for our basic Ashwagandha powder extract is 500 mg. The Ashwagandha dosage for Sensoril is a little bit of an outlier, at 125 mg, but this is due to the fact that it is such a potent extract.

Nootropics Depot

Side Effects

What Are Ashwagandha Side Effects?

The most common side effects of Ashwagandha include:

  1. Indigestion
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Gastric discomfort
  4. Drowsiness

Ashwagandha is safe and digests well in reasonable doses. No severe side effects report using high doses over a short period. These side effects are brief; if they grow in severity or persist over a long time, discontinue using it and seek medical advice.

Conclusion

Ashwagandha is both a potent adaptogen that supports the brain and body in handling and managing stress. It’s a safe, well-tolerated anxiolytic proven to relief anxiety.

In addition to mood enhancement, it assists in regulating the sleep cycle, and improve memory. It further increases brain signaling by promoting neuronal vitality. It is efficient and with no record of severe side effects or toxicity; all while at an affordable price. This makes it a very worthwhile nootropic.

User Experience

Reddit user experience

“Ashwaganda seems to have reduced my social anxiety. In a v subtle way as well – I don’t find Ashwaganda mood altering, it’s rather there’s just an absence of anxiety. So subtle I only reflected on it & then realised I’d had reduced social anxiety. I’m using KSM 66 & using a high dose – 600mg/day.”

Further & Related Readings

  1. Melatonin
  2. Phenibut, Fasoracetam, Bacopa Monnieri, Lion’s Mane Mushroom
  3. The Ultimate Nootropics FAQ Page

Return to Nootropics Information homepage.

SummaryLion’s Mane Mushroom has become one of nature’s most potent nootropic supplement for the brain. There is evidence that is can permanently enhance brain function as well as protect the brain and promote NGF and neurogenesis.

Lion’s Mane Video TTShttps://youtu.be/hP-QMKjTV0g

Introduction

What is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

Lion’s Mane Mushroom (also known as Hericium erinaceus), or rarely “monkey head mushroom,” is a traditional medicine that’s developing a strong fan base around the world. It has been voted as one of the top 10 natural nootropics of 2018 in terms of best selling, according to Nootropics Depot, as well as most beneficial. The list also included L-Theanine, Citicoline, as well as L-Theanine & Caffeine synergistic combo.

The profound effects it has on cognitive function while being neuroprotectant, as well as supporting NGF production, make it an appealing nootropic. The nerve growth factor is a discovery from 1986 that led Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini to win a Nobel Prize. NGF is one of the primary building blocks of neuroplasticity.

Furthermore, it is part of a group of molecules responsible for neurodevelopment. A go-to tonic for years, Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus) is native to Japan, China, Europe, and North America. It offers many benefits to the brain. It’s in use as an alternative medicine to treat neurodegenerative disorders.

It is becoming more popular after the discovery of connections to promoting neurodevelopment. It raises the quantity of NGF in the brain, which improves cognition by decreasing inflammation, promoting neural growth, and enhancing brain health. Furthermore, studies verify that Lion’s Mane is a powerful neuroprotectant that can be valuable in the treatment of a variety of conditions ranging from cardiovascular health to obesity and even to certain types of cancer. Thus, Lion’s Mane has become a novel nootropic.

Benefits & Effects

What Are Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits?

  1. Enhances Memory and Brain Function
  2. Promotes Nerve Growth Factor and Neuroprotection
  3. Lion Mane Reduces Anxiety and Symptoms of Depression
  4. Reduces Inflammation, Boosts Immunity, and Helps Digestion
  5. Supports Heart and Circulatory System, and Prevents Strokes
  6. Improves Mental Health and Overall Well-Being

Supporting research:

Enhances Memory and Brain Function

Lion’s Mane Mushroom benefits are diverse. One of which is that it boosts cognition, especially in memory and recall speed. Additionally, it helps in maintaining concentration, increasing mental stamina, and heightening focus. It is one of the most praised nootropics due to being organic and natural. Furthermore, it provides a variety of benefits, often surpassing pharmaceutical products. 

A study in Japan on subjects diagnosed with a mild cognitive decline receiving Lion’s Mane mushroom extract at a daily dose of 3 g for 16 weeks found a measurable increase in scores on the cognitive function scale. And amazingly, without adverse effects. [R], [R]

Promotes Nerve Growth Factor and Neuroprotection

Lion’s Mane Mushroom extract has an impressive ability preventing and healing damaged nerves. Studies support the claim of Lion’s Mane promotion of neurogenesis. The promotion of neurogenesis is also called neurodevelopment or generation. Neurogenesis results in long-lasting and continuous improvements in brain health (R) (R). In a study by Tohoku University on Lion’s Mane and nerve growth states Lion’s Mane has most profound impact on nerve regeneration.

Post digestion, Lion’s Mane distributes through the body – crossing the blood-brain barrier. Then becomes capable of stimulating the generation of enzymes that release the Nerve Growth Factor, and additionally repairing nerve myelin. Those capabilities turn out useful in the cases of Alzheimer’s, dementia, neurodegeneration, muscular weakness, Parkinson’s Disease, and other neurological disorders. (R) (R)

Lion Mane Reduces Anxiety and Symptoms of Depression

Studies show that Lion’s Mane Mushroom benefits depression as well as anxiety symptoms after several weeks of supplementation. In a clinical trial where thirty women have been receiving Lion’s Mane for four weeks versus women receiving placebo, it concluded that lion’s mane intake indeed reduces depression and anxiety. (R), (R)

Reduces Inflammation, Boosts Immune System, Supports Healthy Digestion

Due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties, lion’s mane mushroom might improve the function of your stomach and digestive system. In many studies, lion’s mane mushroom has been shown to protect from or shrink gastric ulcers. Moreover, according to a survey by the Mushroom Research Centre at the University of Malaya, experts from the field concluded that the bioactive compounds in lion’s mane extract are responsible for the gastroprotective action. (R)

Another research from China published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms verifies that “results indicate that polysaccharide fraction is the active component of the H. erinaceus mycelium culture, which protects against gastric ulcers.”

Lion’s mane also significantly improve symptoms of two major inflammatory disorders of the digestive system; inflammatory bowel disease, and gastritis. Another study in Japan found that lion’s mane was able to reduce inflammation in fatty tissue, the factor in the formation of metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart diseases, strokes, and diabetes. (R)

Lion’s mane can improve immune system function like the polysaccharide content in the fungus according to mice studies. [R]

Lion’s mane additional benefits is its antibacterial effects against what is now known to be “the world’s most successful virus in human history.” (R, R)

Supports Heart and Circulatory System Health and Prevents Strokes

Experiments observed that extracts of lion’s mane block the spread of LDL cholesterol, sometimes referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, while simultaneously raising HDL, the good cholesterol. (R, R)

A stroke, which happens as a result of lack of sufficient blood supply to the brain, is often caused by blood clots. An extract of lion’s mane mushroom may be useful in the prevention of blood clots accumulate. Thereby helping decrease the risk of stroke, according to a study by the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Japan. (R)

Improves Mental Health and Overall Well-Being

Lion’s mane helps feeling better by improving sleep rhythm and reducing the effects of mental health issues. The powerful extracts from the mushroom have been shown to combat fatigue (R).  They also possess the ability to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms, which is especially important for people at risk of developing dementia. (R)

Mechanism of Action

How Does Lion’s Mane Mushroom Work?

Lion’s Mane mechanism of action is completely different from other nootropics. Lion’s Mane enhances cognition by increasing the amount of nerve growth factor in the brain (NGF). Nerve growth factor is one of a group of molecules named neurotrophins that are essential for the growth, development, maintenance, and survival of neurons.

Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)

A discovery in the 1980s that led Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini to win a Nobel Prize – NGF is confirmed to be one of the primary building blocks of neuroplasticity. The presence of sufficient NGF improves cognition by stimulating growth as well as axons branching. Inadequate NGF, on the other hand, decreases brain functionality by leading to neuronal degeneration and eventually, the death of nerve cells. The more axons existing, and the better health they possess, the more efficiently impulses are transmitting. The more efficiently impulses are transmitting; the better cognition and overall brain function are.

Myelination

Another way in which NGF enhances cognition is by promoting myelination. Myelin works much like an electrical insulator, raising the speed which impulses progress onward the axons by increasing the electrical resistance of neural cell walls. Furthermore it inhibits the pulse from dissipating the axon. Myelination lays the groundwork for the restoration and regrowth of damaged axons, providing a track along which regrowth occurs. This activity is a crucial process in preserving the brain from the ravages of aging and is useful in the treatment of neurological complications. Some of which are multiple sclerosis and psychiatric disorders including depression, schizophrenia, dementia, as well as autism and Alzheimer’s disease.

Ongoing research hint that NGF production stimulated by Lion’s Mane may have anti-anxiety and mood enhancing effects. Furthermore, it could also facilitate weight-loss by improving metabolism.

[Related: Paul Stamet’s Niacin & Lion’s Mane Nootropic Stack Improved My Cognition & Jiu Jitsu Performance]

Dosage

How To Take Lion Mane Mushroom?

The lowest effective dosage is 500 mg and the limit per day is 3000 mg. However, higher doses don’t necessarily result in more benefits. A 1000 mg dosage once or twice a day is what I find the most beneficial for my needs.

I remember coming across posts on Reddit r/Nootropics where people were going really, really next level megadosing this. None of which reported anything more than a “slight” psychostimulant effect though – I am going to try to find that thread.

Side Effects

What Are Lion’s Mane Mushroom Side Effects?

There are barely any side effects that arise from taking Lion’s Mane. The most common side effect is an itchy skin which is likely due to the increase in Nerve Growth Factor. It most likely is the cause and could be a good sign that NGF levels are increasing.

Conclusion

Lion’s Mane is an exceptional, one of a kind,  organic nootropic that has many health benefits; additional to its nootropic ones. Research and clinical trials support its wide variety of perks. It’s a nootropic to consider if you are looking for profound benefits to memory, cognition, detoxification, physical, and brain function. It is one of the few nootropics I have been continuously refilling from the very first use.

User Experience

An on-going Lion’s Mane Mushroom experience thread by Reddit users:

After reading about its memory and nervous system injury healing properties, I figured I’d give it a try. I simply purchased a bottle and take two after putting food in my stomach. Previously I had spent a year on adderall and endured more physical anxiety than I should have had to. I do feel more…evened out, if that makes sense. Less on edge and less anxious than I’d ordinarily be. Still on the lookout for other effects, and still willing to accept it could all be a placebo, but I’m remaining curious.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we get the benefits of dried Lion’s Mane Mushroom without tasting the bitter water?

In most cultures other than the US, bitter is an acceptable flavor, and nutritionally acceptable. You can explore other cuisines where the line between medicine and food are more blurred. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) frequently uses bitter herbs/mushrooms/etc in a soup, with other ingredients to balance the flavors. In Asian medicine, mushrooms are consumed as food, and as teas, as well as extracts. You could use the mushrooms in a soup where the broth contains the water used for rehydration, you can boil the mushrooms to make a tea or extract and add flavourings to those.

Is Lion’s Mane Mushroom sattvic?

Satvik is a living term. This changes according to the situations and purposes. Satvik is something that is pure in purpose. All mushrooms grow in a decaying substrate. They grow in places devoid of sunlight. They are scavenger in nature and feed off the dead substrate. They are normally heavy to digest, cold in nature and increase Kapha according to Charak Samhita. I personally believe that mushroom is not exactly satvik in nature as they grow in a decaying medium. However, as said before, satvik is a contextual term. Satva guna is a state of mind. Basically, food that is earned through pure and righteous means, in a non-violent way, the food that does not cause distress or disgust to anyone and endows not only health but bliss to the soul, mind, and body, is called satvik.

It is important to sustain human life at any cost because human life is the only entrance to the state of salvation. Therefore, any food that helps to sustain life for the evolution of the soul is considered satvik. For example, if there is nothing else to eat, in an area with a sparse availability of vegetables, fruits, and grains, in that case even non-vegetarian food(considered rajasic) can be consumed and will not affect the satvik state of mind. But even vegetarian food that is foul smelling, stale, cooked or earned with an unhappy mind, and unappealing to the tongue is not satvik. Mushroom has a natural tendency to trigger susceptibility towards rhinitis and cause other Kapha related problems. Anything that has a natural tendency to cause harm is not considered satvik. For this reason, also, I think that they should be consumed only when other vegetables are not available or affordable; or consumed once in a while. Otherwise, it is not satvik.

Does eating Lions Mane Mushrooms reverse Alzheimer’s?

Lion’s Mane promotes NGF which has in test tube experiment generated 60% neurite outgrowth. It human experiments it has notably diminished mild cognitive impairment, the precursor of Alzheimer’s dementia. It reduces amyloid-beta production, which form plaques toxic to healthy neurons, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. So far, there are no cures for Alzheimer’s disease. Prevention is multifold: a life-style of regular adequate sleep (brain repair time includes clearing debris), both aerobic and weight-bearing exercise (promotes mitochondria synthesis and efficiency), and ideally intermittent fasting (promotes autophagy – the process where cells of the body are forced to use cellular scraps for synthesis of what is needed). Autophagy strategy is extremely effective for long-lived health. As an aside, B12 deficiency can cause dementia as well and can compound vulnerability to Alzheimer’s.

Further and Related Readings

  1. Bacopa Monnieri, Melatonin, Ashwagandha
  2. The Ultimate Nootropics FAQ
  3. 6 Best Natural Nootropics

Back to Nootropics Information homepage.

Summary: Rhodiola Rosea is a naturally growing flower plant from the wild Arctic regions of Europe, widely used in Chinese, Scandinavian and Russian traditional medicine. It is believed to be the perfect remedy for fatigue and burnouts. Moreover, Rhodiola is useful for the brain; protecting it from toxin damage as well as boosting memory and productivity.


Introduction

What is Rhodiola Rosea?

Rhodiola Rosea is thought to be the perfect remedy for fatigue and burnout. It is useful for the brain, protecting it from toxin damage, and boosting memory capacity as well as productivity. Recent research confirms that this high-altitude herb prevents the harmful effects of stress by restoring energy, improving mood,  and enhancing cognition. Furthermore, Rhodiola seems to promote longevity, combat fatigue, reduce anxiety, in addition to serving as a general neuroprotectant.

Benefits and Effects

What Are Rhodiola Rosea Benefits?

  1. Minimizes Fatigue
  2. Promotes Cognitive Enhancement
  3. Reduces Anxiety and Stress
  4. Reduces Symptoms of Mild Depression
  5. Neuroprotective

Supporting research:

Rhodiola Rosea Minimizes Fatigue

Rhodiola is an excellent fatigue fighter. Typically decreasing the harmful physical and mental consequences of minor physical exhaustion (R). It is most useful in combating the kind of fatigue produced by prolonged repetitive low-intensity exertion or extended periods of stress (R). It is observed to increase the length of active exercise time [R], but opinions vary on whether it improves athletic performance from intense exertion.

While Rhodiola may be minimally competent as a performance enhancer for athletes [R], it can be extremely of use for students, late workers, and individuals who need to keep going with everyday life after fatigue gets the best of them. Rhodiola relieves many physical symptoms of fatigue, even diminishing them. Of such example are muscle aches, soreness, feelings of exhaustion, headaches, and sleepiness (R).

Rhodiola Rosea Promotes Cognitive Enhancement

Rhodiola is proven to address many of the cognitive symptoms of fatigue; including irritability, impaired judgment or decision-making ability, and declining brain capacity (R). A vast number of clinical trials continuously indicate this herb notably increases cognitive skills. It improves the memory, increases motivation, and also increase the capacity to endure more challenging work (R).  Many consider Rhodiola a powerful fatigue-independent nootropic, and its potential cognitive benefits remain under a lot of clinical trials.

The most intriguing trials involved a group of healthy physicians on night duty over a period of six weeks (R). The double-blind placebo-controlled study revealed that the participants receiving Rhodiola outscored those receiving placebo on several complex mental capabilities. That included associative thought, short-term memory, calculation, concentration, keen speed, and overall level of mental fatigue. (R)

Rhodiola Rosea Reduces Anxiety and Stress

Recent studies on Rhodiola add to its well-earned reputation as an excellent adaptogen aiding the body to achieve systemic balance and restore itself to normal function after exposure to stress (R). This therapeutic process is a valuable benefit for users who frequently deal with intense situations, hectic schedules, and high expectations, which seems to describe the average 9 to 5 person in most developing cities today.

Furthermore, clinical trials involving participants with chronic stress symptoms exhibit measurable improvements in all stress marks across the board; low energy, headache, muscular aches and discomfort, depression, mood swings, and sleep disorders (R).

In another double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of students taking exams; Rhodiola shows to considerably improve general well-being and physical fitness, reduce mental fatigue, and improve scores on a battery of neuro-motoric tests (R). The students taking Rhodiola were scoring  8.4% higher on their exams in comparison to students on placebo. (R)

Rhodiola Rosea Lowers Symptoms of Depression

Rhodiola has potential as a reliable and efficient treatment for mild depression (R). Research remains ongoing, but clinical trials indicate that twice-daily doses of Rhodiola resulted in a significant lessening of depression, insomnia, emotional instability and other symptoms in patients diagnosed with mild to moderate depression. (R)

Rhodiola Rosea is Neuroprotective and Prevents Neurodegenerative Diseases

Many enzymes in Rhodiola have potent antioxidant properties (R). Not only do these enzymes guard neurons against oxidative damage and prolong cell life, but they also represent a potential therapy for neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease, which is defined by significant oxidative stress and neuronal damage[R]. Animal studies show that Rhodiola can reduce oxidative damage to the cellular mitochondria and therefore has the potential to of being a decent addition to the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. [R]

Though research is ongoing and results remain uncertain, Rhodiola still has the possibility of being a remedy for a broad scope of conditions, including high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, heart disease, cancer, and longevity.

Mechanism of Action

How Does Rhodiola Rosea Work?

It seems to act primarily by modulating a variety of signaling pathways and molecular networks in the brain. It affects this modulation to no small extent via many phytochemical components.

These components help to prevent the removal of serotonin and dopamine; primarily chemicals associated with making us feel happy. It also increases the availability of epinephrine and norepinephrine, compounds related to giving us drive and energy. Through these alterations, Rhodiola positively impacts mood, reduces fatigue perception, and enhances cognitive abilities.

Rhodiola promotes movements for chemicals in our brain, improving processing and reaction time. It also helps with stress system by suppressing the cortisol (stress-inducing hormone) and promoting beta-endorphins and opiate peptides (stress reducing hormones).

Dosage

How To Take Rhodiola Rosea?

Safe and effective at doses ranging from 50 mg to 680 mg daily. It is best to take on an empty stomach, in a periodic cycle, thereby preventing tolerance build up.

A 100 mg dose effectively improves memory and focus, but a 400 mg is more effective at relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Side Effects

What Are Rhodiola Rosea Side Effects?

Rhodiola is generally safe and non-addictive at moderate doses (50 mg – 680 mg daily) for a period up to 10 weeks. The most common side effects are mild to moderate dizziness, anxiety, agitation, insomnia, nausea, restlessness, and increased libido. Those side effects exist in consuming high doses. Therefore, it is essential to start with the minimum effective dose and increase as needed.

Conclusion

Rhodiola as a tonic has become a tradition at this point after maintaining its reputation for generations. Moreover, it is still growing in popularity today as we learn more about its potential uses and capabilities. It is a powerful adaptogen and reliable neuroprotectant that help manage the adverse effects of stress. Therefore, it is a great supplement to consider for individuals interested in pushing up mental and physical performance to the optimum.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Rhodiola the best adaptogen nootropic?

Rhodiola rosea has a large number of beneficial qualities that make it an excellent herb for you to use to aid your health. It is one of the best herbs for stress. It is not only an adaptogen, but it is also an antidepressant and an antioxidant, as well as being one of the herbs to aid a viral infection.

It is the rhodiola rosea root that is used to make herbal remedies, that are powerful aids for heart problems. Its active ingredients are cardio-protective and anti-arrhythmic, meaning that it protects you from irregular heart beats.

The root of this plant has been in use in Siberia, Russia and China for around two thousand years. It is one of the adaptogenic herbs that only grows in certain locations at high elevations in mountainous regions.

It has an excellent action to aid mental alertness and to help fatigue. It is also helpful to stimulate your memory and to help protect your liver from chemical damage.

Can Rhodiola Rosea be taken while taking antidepressants or SSRI’s like Sertraline (Zoloft, etc.)?

Rhodiola Rosea does seem promising, but as there is still insufficient evidence on the safety of this combination, I would strongly advise you to consult your psychiatrist first, before combining Zoloft with it. There is a potential for adverse drug interactions when combining SSRI antidepressants with Rhodiola, the latter of which has strong MAOI effects.
It should also be noted that Rhodeola Rosea can inhibit the CYP3A4 enzyme in the liver; although these were in-vitro studies, the potential exists for in-vivo inhibitions. Whilst this enzyme plays a minor role in the metabolism of Zoloft, it plays a large role in the metabolism of many other psychotropics.

Related Nootropics

  1. Bacopa Monnieri
  2. Cordyceps Mushroom
  3. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
  4. Melatonin

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