Lack of energy and mental focus plague Americans on a daily basis. Energy deficiencies indicate an imbalance in one of the body's systems due to poor diet, sleep patterns, stress management and aging. Lack of mental focus, cognitive neuroscientists posit, is actually responsible for what was previously attributed to age-related memory problems, according to website Oprah. Changes in the brain's frontal lobes make paying attention more challenging as we get older, says Cheryl Grady, Ph.D., assistant director of the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto. Herbal treatment stimulates mental focus and energy, but be sure to discuss supplements with a qualified health care provider.
Chinese ginseng improves energy levels and helps the body adapt to stress, which can cause fatigue. Website Holistic Online recommends taking a supplement of ginseng extract standardized to contain 7 percent of ginsenosides. Begin with half of the recommended dose listed on the supplement's label, and gradually increase the dosage up to the full amount. The supplement is contraindicated for people with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and low blood sugar. (See Reference 2)
Ginkgo biloba is an ancient herb traditionally used to increase mental focus and acuity, according to nutritionist Phyllis A. Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Gingko is used to treat Alzheimer's disease and other types of mental decline. Taking phosphatidylserine, a mental enhancement supplement, alongside ginkgo might increase its effectiveness. Be sure to discuss the use of ginkgo for mental function with a qualified health provider.
Ashwagandha is often referred to as Indian ginseng because the herbs are used similarly. Both herbs are adaptogens, which means they strengthen whatever weaknesses exist in the body, and balance stress-related imbalances. Before using ashwaghanda to treat energy and mental function, be sure the herb and its possible contraindications with a physician.
- MedlinePlus: Fatigue
- Holistic Online: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch; 2010
- Oprah.com: The Midlife Memory Meltdown
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Ashwagandha