Nootropics and “Smart” Drugs – How Effective are They?

It may be difficult to imagine that nootropics could boost your memory and cognition while simultaneously relieving stress and protecting your brain from aging. But those claims have been made. So, let’s take a look at how science substantiates these claims.

Herbal Nootropics

Herbal nootropics are quite different from modern nootropics in that they must be taken over a period of weeks, or even months to achieve maximum results. Two popular herbs that profess to support cognitive function are Bacopa Monnieri and St. John’s Wort.

Bacopa Monnieri

If you prefer a natural brain booster, Bacopa Monnieri — also known as Brahmi— is one of the oldest nootropic supplements, with centuries of history behind it. Brahmi helps make learning faster and easier by boosting brainpower. At the same time, it relieves stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that Bacopa Monnieri improved memory in the elderly and is a potential treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Its anxiolytic effects produce a tranquil feeling which improves the quality of sleep, so those who use it wake up feeling rested and refreshed. In fact, its effects are quite similar to Piracetam, but found in a natural herb rather than synthesized in a lab. Bacopa Monnieri is made from the extract of the plant by the same name —a low-growing perennial native to southern India, Asia and the southern US.

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum) has been widely studied as a treatment for depression. For this purpose, Americans spend billions on St. John’s Wort supplements. This makes it one of the mainstream medications for depression. However, in some places, this controversial herbal supplement is sold only by prescription due to its strength. German doctors prescribe it 20 times more often than Prozac.

This natural herb is a low-growing cover plant with yellow flowers, once believed by some to hold magic that could ward off evil spirits. Therefore, it was used to treat wounds, burns, snake bite, ulcers, tumors, sciatica and depression. Today, St. John’s Wort is used for athletic performance, alcoholism, cancer, chronic ear infection, withdrawal symptoms, ulcers, etc. Still, the most common use for it continues to be depression.

Racetams: (Aniracetam, Phenylpiracetam, Piracetam, Oxiracetam)

The racetams have enjoyed positive results with those who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Generally, racetams improve memory. Each has its own personality. Therefore, it’s difficult to know which one is best. They’re all good. It may be that one will suit you better than another, according to your preference and the desired effect.

Many choose Aniracetam for its ability to lift your mood. For logic and energy, many prefer Oxiracetam, while other choose Phenylpiracetam for focus. The best way to find out which one is best for you is to put it to the test. You may find one particular racetam that pleases you better than the others. It’s a good idea to start with the common ones if you’re a beginner.

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