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Home Blog Wellness 5 Brain Boosting Alternatives To Your Morning Cup Of Coffee

5 Brain Boosting Alternatives To Your Morning Cup Of Coffee

There aren’t many drugs out there that are more widely used and integrated into society than caffeine. A lot of people rely on it to get through a busy schedule, and while it can be great for many people, it isn’t perfect for everyone and doesn’t come without its flaws. 

While coffee tastes great, the main reason we drink so much is because we love and rely on the stimulating effect of caffeine right? Well if you’re in search of alternative options to your daily caffeine dose, whatever your reason may be, you’re in luck. Here’s 5 nootropic supplements that can pack a brain enhancing punch, and might even replace, or work in great synergy with your morning coffee.

Panax Ginseng

Panax means “all-healing” in Greek, which aptly describes the plant’s curative properties. It’s a small shrub with red berries that have been used for centuries as a fertility enhancer, aphrodisiac, sedative, analgesic, diuretic and anti-inflammatory agent. Ginseng, as well as the other species of this plant, is considered a tonic herb by herbalists because it does not lead to addiction like caffeine or opiate-based medications do. Ginseng root has long been considered the most important medicinal part of this plant and can be found as tablets, capsules, extracts, teas, tinctures and liquid extracts.

Benefits / Effects

The main active agents in Ginseng ,ginsenosides, have a whole list of benefits. Ginseng has shown to promote energy and help fight fatigue. In a 4 week study where 90 people with chronic fatigue were given Ginseng or a placebo, it was observed that those given Ginseng experienced less physical and mental fatigue, as well as reductions in oxidative stress, than those taking the placebo (1).

Ginseng is also usually used to treat stress related disorders including fatigue, nervousness and insomnia. Panax Ginseng also has a very beneficial effect on the heart and circulatory system. It is used to treat angina, high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat. Many people use this herb as an aphrodisiac as well as a pain reliever. If you’re looking for something to give you less mental fatigue throughout the day, Ginseng may be for you. 

Potential Side Effects

The side effects associated with Panax Ginseng are usually unpleasant, but not serious. They include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Large amounts of this product can also cause mild nervousness. This herb is known to interfere with the effectiveness of insulin so diabetics should be careful when taking it or its extracts. It also interacts poorly with some types of medications including diuretics, antihistamines and antipsychotic drugs. People who are taking any type of blood thinning medication should not take Panax Ginseng. It can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

If you’re interested in trying Ginseng we have Korean Red GInseng and American Ginseng available on our site.

Korean Red Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) – 1500mg capsules 

American Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolius) – Dried Root Tincture

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola rosea, commonly known as rose root, is a perennial flowering plant in the family Crassulaceae that grows naturally in various climates ranging from Arctic tundra to the alpine mountain sides. It has been used in traditional medicine in an effort to increase work capacity, physical endurance and longevity. The adaptogenic properties of Rhodiola rosea gained a lot of attention in Russia between the 1940s and 1960s, where it has been used as a remedy for fatigue, depression and altitude sickness. 

Benefits / Effects

In human studies, Rohdiala has shown to increase capacity for mental work and decrease stress induced fatigue (2) (3). In some studies it also increased the ability to concentrate and made subjects less anxious about performing a particular mental task, although it had no effect on mathematics or typing. The effects of Rhodiola rosea have been compared with those of other stimulants such as caffeine and ephedrine, so if you’re looking for a caffeine substitute with a stimulating kick, Rhodiola could be for you.

Potential Side Effects

Rhodiola Rosea has shown to have some side effects. Although they are rare, they’re still possible. These can include increased or Decreased blood pressure (especially when mixed with caffeine), skin reactions (light rashes and redness), agitation, insomnia, anxiety and occasional headache. Rhodiola is not recommended for women who are pregnant

Buy Rhodiola Rosea 4800mg – 180 Capsules

Buy Rhodiola Rosea 2000mg | 180 Capsules

Schisandra

Schisandra is a genus of deciduous, woody vines of which there are only two species, Schisandra chinensis and Schisandra sphenanthera. The former species is native to China, while the latter is native to eastern Asia. The fruit of  S. chinensis has a wide range of documented medicinal uses in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as wu wei zi, or “five flavor berry”. It gained a lot of attention from the USSR in the 1940s, it’s effects showed to be so great it was even given to sharpshooters, scouts and pilots of night bombers. With extensive research alluding to it’s stimulatory effects and benefits, it gained recognition as an official medicine in Russia in the early 60’s. (4)

Benefits / Effects

Schisandra berries contain many bioactive metabolites. The lignans found in schisandra have shown to be a potential treatment for various neurodegenerative diseases. Schisandra has also shown to have neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing properties (5).  As well as this it has also been used as a treatment for liver disease, menopause, depression and stress. While we don’t recommend schisandra as a replacement to traditional treatments, the results certainly are interesting.

Potential Side Effects

While schisandra doesn’t seem to have any serious side effects, there is some potential to experience things such as heartburn, upset stomach, decreased appetite, stomach pain, skin rash, and itching.

Buy Schisandra Dried Berry Tincture (Schisandra Chinensis)

Bacopa Monnieri

Overview

Bacopa monnieri is a perennial creeping herb that has been used as a medicine in Chinese herbal remedies for many centuries. In ancient times, bacopa was considered an intellectual tonic, and has been used traditionally to help memory and maintain healthy cognitive function. In the past few decades modern research has confirmed traditional claims for this herb. (6)

Benefits/Effects

The chemical analysis of Bacopa monnieri has yielded several alkaloids, saponins, sterols and triterpenoids. The most important active components of Bacopa monnieri are bacosides A and B. There’s a wide range of benefits that come with this herb such as antioxidant and antiinflammatory effects. It’s also shown to potentially relieve anxiety, stress and ADHD symptoms. In a 12 week study conducted with 60 older adults, it was found that taking Bacopa monnieri improved memory, attention and the ability to process information.(7)

Potential Side Effects

Use of Bacopa Monnieri can cause some non major side effects such as Nausea, Stomach cramps, Bloating, Diarrhea, Increased bowel movements, Dry mouth and Fatigue.

Buy Bacopa Monnieri 500mg – 120 Tablets

Citicoline

Citicoline is a dietary supplement that is marketed as a mental performance enhancer and neuroprotective agent. It is classified as an essential nutrient similar to vitamin B5 and is often compared to other nootropics that improve cognitive function such as piracetam, pramiracetam, and aniracetam. It has been used clinically for the treatment of traumatic brain injury , stroke, and dementia. Citicoline is also used widely by athletes to improve mental performance, reduce fatigue, increase energy levels, and enhance focus before an event.

The exact mechanism of action is not known for certain; however, it seems that citicoline acts as a cholinergic, meaning it increases the availability of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is involved in functions such as memory and learning. Citicoline also appears to stabilize cell membranes, making them more permeable to nutrients that can cross into areas that need repair or energy. This includes oxygen, glucose, and neurotransmitters or hormones that can cross the blood-brain barrier.

Benefits

Citicoline has shown to have many useful health benefits, but we’re focusing on the cognitive boost it offers. There have been quite a few studies with promising results, in a study conducted over 28 days with 75 healthy males, Citicoline showed to increase attention and psychomotor speed compared to those taking a placebo (8). Another study conducted on 60 healthy adult women showed similar promising results (9).

Potential SIde Effects

Most people who take citicoline don’t experience side effects. But some people can have side effects such as trouble sleeping (insomnia), headache, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, blurred vision, chest pains, and others.

Buy Citicoline 500mg – 60 Capsules

Sources

[1]: Antifatigue effects of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

[2]: A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of the stimulating and adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract on the fatigue of students caused by stress during an examination period with a repeated low-dose regimen

[3]: Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue–a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty.

[4]: Pharmacology of Schisandra chinensis Bail.: An overview of Russian research and uses in medicine

[5]: An overview of neuroprotective and cognitive enhancement properties of lignans from Schisandra chinensis.

[6]: Effects of a Standardized Bacopa monnieri Extract on Cognitive Performance, Anxiety, and Depression in the Elderly: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.

[7]: Effects of 12-Week Bacopa monnieri Consumption on Attention, Cognitive Processing, Working Memory, and Functions of Both Cholinergic and Monoaminergic Systems in Healthy Elderly Volunteers.

[8]:

The Effect of Citicoline Supplementation on Motor Speed and Attention in Adolescent Males.

[9]: Improved Attentional Performance Following Citicoline Administration in Healthy Adult Women.

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/1015/p1539.html

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