How To Focus Better: How Herbs Can Help
Feeling foggy-headed lately? We’ve all been victims of this ailment before. A lack of attention and a wandering mind can hurt your productivity significantly. It’s nearly impossible to get your work done with an inability to focus.
The day-to-day stresses and distractions of life can leave you feeling sapped of energy and unable to lock in on your work. Phone calls, constant social media notifications, and text messages can be a constant distraction, to an extent where we feel the extra burnout set in on top of an already stressful work day.
Brain boosting supplements can help get you out of this funk. If you’ve ever searched online for remedies to this issue, you’ve probably come across a multitude of products that promise to improve your focus, simply by taking a pill.
However, it can be very overwhelming to navigate through these supplements and decide which one is the best for you.
Before committing to a specific supplement, you should always conduct thorough research on the ingredients it contains. There are a number of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to mental clarity. In Particular, there are a ton of herbs that have been shown to help.
Though taking supplements can help relieve some of your symptoms, it is imperative to also get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and maintain a consistent self-care routine. At the end of the day, just taking care of yourself can go an extremely long way in supporting your cognitive health.
Also be wary of taking supplements if you are taking any prescription medications. Some herbs can negatively interact with medications and cause harmful side effects. Always speak to your health provider before beginning taking a new supplement.
Still feeling lost? Shop Hope is here to help! Here is our in-depth guide on how certain natural herbs can help you to focus better on a daily basis.
Curcumin is a chemical that is sourced from the herb turmeric, which is a spice typically used in Asian cuisine. Curcumin, as well as other chemicals in turmeric, may help reduce discomfort and swelling.
The substance has also been found useful in treating neuroinflammation, a major aspect of the brain’s aging process. Taking curcumin regularly could help prevent cognitive decline.
Furthermore, a 2018 study showed that curcumin impacts the brain's tau protein, causing anti-amyloidogenic effects; this is a sign that curcumin might stop the development of neurodegenerative brain issues like memory loss.
Ginseng is a fairly popular herb, used in a variety of different medicines and supplements. It’s been used medicinally for over 2,000 years. It is commonly used to boost energy. Ginseng has also been proven to stimulate the brain, which has made it a popular herb among athletes and students.
There are dozens of different types of ginseng, but the most widespread kind is Panax ginseng, also known as Korean ginseng or Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer (named after Russian scientist Carl Anton Meyer). Panax ginseng is cultivated only in Asia.
There are thirteen species of Panax ginseng. The word Panax is derived from the Greek word “panakeia,” which translates to “all healing.”
Ginseng is full of performance and energy-boosting compounds like ginsenosides, eleutherosides, and ciwujianosides. Many studies have shown that ginseng can improve physical performance for both sedentary and active individuals. It can also assist with fatigue and increase mental alertness.
The effects of ginseng are not all positive, though. Some people do experience side effects like insomnia, diarrhea, and an increased heart rate and/or blood pressure. This herb can also interact with prescription medications.
Another herb that carries considerable brain boosting effects is sage. Sage contains a high amount of plant compounds like luteolin, rosmarinic acid, camphor, quercetin, and apigenin, all which have medicinal properties.
Unlike the previous herbs mentioned, sage is typically consumed in the form of essential oil. Using a humidifier or diffuser, you can inhale the mist exuded by sage and receive its benefits.
Supplements containing sage could potentially benefit mood, alertness, attention, memory, and word recall in adults. One study of 36 healthy adults showed that treating patients with 50 microliters (gL) of sage essential oil performed better in memory and attention-oriented tasks. Those who consumed sage also had less mental fatigue and were more alert through the 4-hour study.
In addition, sage also functions as a strong inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme that breaks down the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine. AChE plays a pivotal role in maintaining aspects of mental cognition, like memory, focus, and motivation. AChE inhibitors like sage help increase the availability of acetylcholine in the brain, thus improving cognitive function.
Guarana is a herb frequently used in energy drinks because of its energizing effects. There are a variety of chemicals in guarana, including caffeine, saponins, and tannings, which are likely the reason behind the herb’s energy-boosting benefits.
In terms of clinical research, there have been mixed results with guarana in human studies. However, other studies on animals have shown that taking guarana alone or in combination with other herbs may help improve mental clarity and memory.
In the wet, marshy lands of South Asia, a plant is grown called bacopa monnieri. This plant is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine and has been used for centuries to treat mental ailments like stress, trouble sleeping, and memory impairment.
The medicinal properties of bacopa monnieri can be credited to its concentration of triterpenoid saponin, a neuroprotective compound that holds several cognitive-boosting effects.
A scholarly review of nine different studies of bacopa monnieri found that supplementing an extract of the herb daily improved patients’ ability to process information. It also helped with their reaction time. These nine studies involved over 500 participants.
This herb is relatively safe to take, but it can cause digestive issues in some people. It can also interact with certain medications.
Several studies on the ancient herb ashwagandha have shown that it can provide potent benefits to the brain.
An eight-week study in 50 people suggested that supplementing patients with an ashwagandha root extract every day greatly helped with memory, attention, and information processing.
A scholarly review of five different studies demonstrated that supplementing with ashwagandha improved patients’ performances on cognitive tasks, and also boosted their focus and reaction time.
Lastly, a 12-week study of 50 older adults showed that taking an ashwagandha root extract daily resulted in enhanced sleep, better mental alertness, and an elevated quality of life overall. There is also some research that ashwagandha can assist the body in cellular energy production.
Additions to Herbs
In addition to taking herbs, there are some other mindfulness practices to take into account. Engaging in physical activity such as yoga, running, and weight training.
Some non-physical activities you could try include brain training games, deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, and listening to music like classical music.
Getting a good night's sleep can help you focus better in the long term. Taking a short term or a minute break can help you focus better throughout the day and can help boost your energy levels.
Though these ingredients have been shown to be effective in some studies, keep in mind that the validity behind their benefits are still up for debate. There is no concrete answer as to how helpful these supplements really are.
For that reason, it is recommended not to rely solely on supplements to support your mental health. First and foremost, take care of your body with ample sleep and nutrition. Make time for yourself to relax and unwind as well. Taking a pill every day cannot help you nearly as simply carrying out these tasks.
Also, though it has been noted before, it is worth mentioning again that you should be very careful when taking supplements if you are currently on any prescription medications. Make sure to check in with your health provider and confirm that there aren’t any concerning interactions between your medication and the supplement you want to take.
Here at Shop Hope, we offer a variety of supplements targeting focus and mental clarity. Our supplements are backed by science and curated with only the highest quality ingredients available. Check out our energy-boosting, attention-enhancing mind capsules here!
10 Natural Ways to Stay Focused and Sharp | Very Well Health
The 10 Best Herbs to Boost Energy and Focus | Healthline
TURMERIC: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews | WebMD
Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions | NCBI
Neuropharmacological Review of the Nootropic Herb Bacopa monnieri This review synthesizes behavioral research with neuromolecular mechanisms | NCBI