5 Herbs to Boost Your Memory

Ginkgo Tree

Whether it’s the occasional “senior moment” or general forgetfulness, many people are turning to herbs to boost memory and brain function. There are many factors that can impair memory, including drug interactions, high blood pressure, anxiety, poor thyroid function, and even brain tumors. But for most of us, it’s likely that we have way too much on our plate at any given time.

The following herbs provide a great boost for your memory.


1. Gingko Biloba

Derived from the leaves of the gingko biloba tree, this herb is almost synonymous with memory booster. It is one of the most commonly prescribed herbs, and it is also a great example of a tonic herb, balancing your system.

Gingko's antioxidant actions stabilize the structure of brain and nerve cells and protect them from oxidative attacks from free radicals. According to Mark Blumenthal, the founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, there is also a significant body of scientific and clinical evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of ginkgo extract for both cognitive function and improved circulation,

Gingko biloba is also believed to inhibit the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, since it encourages blood flow to the brain, improving the functions of the memory as a result.

2. Rosemary

The motto of the rosemary plant is “rosemary for remembrance.” Rosemary is rich in the anti-oxidant, carnosic acid, which dilates the cerebral vascular tissues. Studies have shown that even the smell of rosemary can improve memory performance in office workers. In fact, in ancent Greece, students would braid rosemary into their hair before taking exam. The scent of rosemary essential oil may be just what you need to get your through that sluggish afternoon at the office.

Rosemary helps to enhance memory, calm nerves, stimulates the circulatory system, and helps prevent the breakdown of neurotransmitters in the brain. It can be used as an essential oil for aromatherapy or it can be taking in pill or tea forms.

3. Gotu Kola

Gotu kola is an herb that helps the symptoms of anxiety and stimulates brain functions to improve memory. Not only does it improve blood circulation to the brain, but it's also been used to help with uterine cancer, colds, and liver ailments.

Gotu kola comes in a variety of forms, including teas, capsules and tablets. For a quick mental pick-me-up, have a cup of tea made using one teaspoon of dried gotu kola steeped in one cup of hot water. You can add in honey, agave nectar or lemon to mask any bitterness.

4. Bacopin

Bacopin is a natural herb commonly used to improve brain function and enhance memory. In recent years, there has been much research done with bacopin because of its effectiveness in the treatment of memory loss and other health benefits.

Bacopin acts as an adaptogen which helps the body combat stress. It protects cells and restores cell damage by acting as a free radical scavenger in the body. Its main effects seem to be related to its power to enhance memory and concentration.

5. Blessed Thistle

The blessed thistle plant has leaves that are long, slender, sharp-toothed and spiny, making it a difficult flower to pick. This herb has been known to improve circulation in the body, to purify blood and help eliminate toxins. It provides overall nourishment for your brain.

Blessed thistle has several healing properties including improving digestion, increasing blood circulation, and improving your memory.

You can make your own tea by pouring 2 cups boiling water over 1.5 to 2 g of the dried herb and simmering for 5-10 minutes. It also comes in several teas that are available at your local grocery or health food store. Blessed thistle can be taken up to three times daily, preferably just before meals.

Boost Your Memory with Essential Oils

Citrus oils are also a great way rejuvenate and energize the mind. Including lemon, orange, and grapefruit oil, they also help improve mental clarity and memory. Lemon oil in particular is a great stress reliever, which in turn relaxes the body and allows for better concentration. These oils can be used alone or in combination to help boost your memory.

Additional Reading:

7 Exercises to Increase Brain Activity and Function

Brain Boosters

Image by K. Kendal




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