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August 27, 2013


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It should also me noted that it is very easy to consume too much caffeine. Many of today's soda and energy drinks have way more caffeine than you need, which in turn can cause you become dependent on caffeine in order to just get through the day. Over consumption of caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors.

Bacopa monniera (Brahmi: Scrophulariaceae) is clinically used for memory enhancing, epilepsy, insomnia and as mild sedative. Brahmi is also a potent antioxidant and is dose dependent. In a 100 micrograms of Brahmi extract (alcoholic) there will be an equivalent of 247 micrograms of EDTA (0.66 microM) and 58 micrograms of vitamin E.

Panax Ginseng is definitely a top seller where I work. We sell the raw extract in a little bottle. The customers assure me that it helps with everyday function to help them at their workplace. I myself never have tried it, but maybe one day.

I knew a person that swore by rosemary for improving memory on exams. She studied with fresh rosemary on her desk everyday and would keep a sprig behind her ear during exams. Aromatherapy has greater implications than just relaxation!

Increased mental performance seems like a stimulant effect to me, which is interesting for ginseng since it is used for more restful sleeps as well.

I see there was a question about what dose of these herbals to take. Unfortunately scientific information on dose is often lacking. The natural medicines database does include these details when they are available, however. Even without dosing, blogging about these remedies helps gain awareness about them which may spur further research.

I would love to try products like ginseng to improve attention and overall cognitive performance because coffee never works for me! But it I feel like placebo effect would come into play at some level when it comes to finding association or trying to determine efficacy of many herbals and supplements. I think it is probably more important to look for any drug interactions, toxic effects, maximal safe dose, and adverse effects associated with these products before establishing how much benefit they may produce.

As a child, my mother always pushed me to drink ginseng tea. I didn't like it because it was bitter, but I was told it would help keep my skin clear if I ate a lot of junk food. I always pushed it off as a Chinese myth. It's interesting to hear how ginseng can also improve memory and mental performance. I guess ginseng was useful in one way or the other!

We learned in class that ginseng would increase the risk of bleeding and as a result it should be taken with caution in patients on anticoagulation things like that. It’s interesting that from what I have heard over and over again from family members and friends while growing up, ginseng is believed to produce the “hot air” or “chi” inside our body, leading to nosebleed.

I found this post very interesting as I have never heard the use of rosemary in helping to improve cognitive function. It would be interesting to learn more about why rosemary is believed to help. Also it is very vague in the amount of times it would need to be used in order to see an effect. I also wonder what patient population it has been shown to be effective. With the ginseng it states it has shown to be effective with healthy individuals, would the same apply to rosemary?

Using the comparative effectiveness tool on this topic, it looks like caffeine is the only product rated Grade A for effectiveness. Of the remaining four discussed in this blog for mental performance, ginseng and bacoba are Grade B ingredients, while boron and rosemary only have Grade C evidence.

It's interesting, but you need to include dosing information or the information is completely useless. In future releases please tell us, the general public, how much of each of these substances we need to get the benefits. Otherwise we're at the mercy of the pill pushers down at the local health food store.

Thanks for sharing!!!!!

I’ve never heard of Rosemary, Boron or Bacopa for improved mental performance, but its hard to function without my caffeine and ginseng in my energy drinks. A diet soda every morning gets my brain started. I’d like to check into more information on the others. But, as Austin said, Careful with those drug interactions!

Boron, one of the minerals found in food and the environment is used for many things including strong bones, osteoarthritis, building muscles, increasing testosterone levels, improving thinking skills and muscle coordination. It is also used to treat yeast infection. Boron is known to cause infertility in men when they take more than 20mg per day. Boron becomes poisons when taken more than required.

I don't know where I'd be without caffeine...asleep probably! B vitamins and vitamin D have shown some benefit too.

It’s interesting to read that aromatherapy with essential oils from rosemary may enhance cognitive performance. When I hear the word aromatherapy, I think about the calming and relaxation effects it has on me. I think about the lavender and flowery scents. I would never have thought that someone would test the effects of rosemary aromatherapy and make this association. Really cool find!

I knew previous to this post that there was some benefit to small amounts of caffeine and improvement of cognitive function, however now that this is up here I would like to see a study done to determine at what amount too much caffeine is too much caffeine. I personally just stopped drinking coffee, so I can attest to needing my daily "fix" of caffeine. However, I can honestly say that without it, I am sleeping much better at night, and I am MUCH less groggy in the morning, and find that I don't need coffee, like I once did, to get going in the morning.

Thanks for the write up. Do you think a product should have the full array of ingredients listed, or a more potent single-ingredient product?

I find this article very interesting! It is great knowing that many integrative therapies can be used to improve memory and mental performance. Before reading this article, I didn’t know that rosemary enhanced cognitive performance. Rosemary is a commonly used spice for recipes. I would like to see more studies being conducted.

I definitely have faith in caffeine for improving mental acuity just from witnessing my peers being unable to study without getting their morning coffee fix. That being said, I would be interested to ginseng's use be further explored given its use as a supplement and can be found in energy drinks in addition to caffeine. Of note, ginseng has been shown to possibly interact with other medications such as warfarin and that can have dire consequences for patients.

It is interesting to see caffeine correlated to memory and mental function. When most people think of caffeine they think of a mental stimulant. It's interesting to look at the chemical structure of caffeine because it resembles a natural chemical in the body adenosine which helps increase blood flow, which ginseng also does. Ginseng and caffeine may possibly have a similar mechanism of action. It would be an interesting topic to research.

I am familiar with caffeine, ginseng, and rosemary. As caffeine, is included in my diet daily. However it’s interesting to see some of the other not so well known therapies such as boron and bacopa. I will consider trying and comparing them to caffeine.

I know people who swear by Gingko, including my uncle.
I personally have never tried it so I'd be curious to see how it compared to the above products. I know for myself personally, that I probably wouldn't have survived school if it wasn't for coffee. I always thought it was more related to the ability to stay awake and study more, rather than the ability to absorb information. This was actually very interesting to learn.

I'm happy to see that caffeine made this list because I have heard and read articles that say a little bit of caffeine (i.e. one cup of coffee per day) may be good for you. Not only will the caffeine help stimulate the brain and keep students awake, it'll help with some memory function too!

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