Whether you're a student cramming for exams, an attorney burning the midnight oil or a mom trying to keep a house and family in order, everyone can use a little help staying focused. Herbal remedies are a safer way to boost your brain power than prescription medicines, and taken alone or in combination they can be very effective. Be aware that some herbs for concentration may have side effects, and you should always consult your physician before administering them to yourself or your children.
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Asian and American Ginseng
Asian and American ginseng both belong to the Panax genus and share similar chemical makeups. Ginseng is known for its ability to improve energy and vigor. It has also proved effective at improving mental focus. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, several studies have shown that ginseng improves thinking and learning and may improve mental performance in tasks such as mental arithmetic, concentration and memory. The University of Maryland cautions that the tests so far have been varied, and more research is needed. Adults should take 200 mg of a standardized extract 1 to 3 times per day.
Siberian ginseng is a completely different species than American and Asian ginseng with an entirely different chemical makeup. Although not as well-tested as American and Asian ginseng, preliminary studies found that Siberian ginseng may increase alertness and mental focus. The University of Maryland Medical Center stresses that this is so far unproven. The recommended dose is 100 to 200 mg of a standardized extract two times daily.
As one of the oldest living species of trees, gingko biloba has been tested for its ability to cure everything from cancer to dementia. But it is perhaps most well known for its brain-boosting power, and specifically its ability to improve memory and cognitive function. You can find gingko biloba in nutrition bars and sports drinks, but the University of Maryland Medical Center says that those doses are likely too low to be effective and recommends a minimum dose of 240 mg per day.
Gingko and Ginseng
Although effective on their own, researchers have shown that taking Panax ginseng and gingko biloba together can have an even bigger impact on concentration and memory. The recommended effective dose is 400 mg of ginseng and 360 mg of ginkgo per day.