Try These Two Herbs for Brain Health
Supporting and protecting brain health is top of mind for many patients. Whether there is a family history of brain health issues or just a desire to remain sharp and cognitively strong, extra support may be desired. In addition to looking at diet and lifestyle factors, there are two botanical extracts that have an interesting connection to brain function. Recommending one or both may make sense for many patients.
Ginkgo biloba is not new to the brain health category. It is perhaps the most widely studied botanical for brain health presently available. The compounds in the leaves from the ginkgo biloba tree help support blood flow to the brain and also have powerful antioxidant activity. Research has shown that the compounds in ginkgo biloba can help support memory and cognitive speed. Typically, ginkgo biloba supplements are standardized to contain 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones. To support cognition, many of the studies used between 120 mg to 600 mg daily.
Lion’s mane is not nearly as popular as ginkgo biloba but it does show promise in supporting brain function. The polysaccharides and terpenoids found in the fruiting body of this mushroom extract have been shown to support brain function in several ways including at the cellular level. Lion’s mane contains nerve growth factors that help support nerve regeneration in the brain. The dose in the double-blind clinical trial study featured in Phytotherapy Research evaluating cognitive function and lion’s mane was 250 mg three times a day for 16 weeks. Mushroom expert Paul Stamets calls lion’s mane “our first ‘smart’ mushroom. It is a safe, edible fungus that appears to confer cognitive benefits on our aging population.”
For centuries botanical extracts have been supporting health on a variety of levels. When it comes to supporting optimal brain health, ginkgo biloba and lion’s mane may be two botanical extracts worth considering for your patients.
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