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5 Best Herbs and Spices for Brain Health

A variety of herbs and spices may aid brain health, and some of them may already be in your refrigerator or pantry. Several of these herbs and spices have been investigated for their effects on Alzheimer’s disease, while others have been evaluated for their overall cognitive effects (i.e. the mental action or process involved in thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering).


Here are some of the herbs and spices that have been proved to be beneficial to the brain in scientific studies.

1. Sage

Sage, a pungent-smelling spice, may boost cognition and aid in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2017 scientific review, sage includes chemicals that may be advantageous to cognitive and neurological function.

Sage can be used to flavor butternut squash, roasted chicken, turkey, tomato sauce, and white bean soup. Sage can also be made into tea.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric has long been utilized in Ayurvedic medicine. Curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (two factors that may benefit brain health and overall health).

According to early studies published in 2010, turmeric may improve brain health and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease by removing beta-amyloid from the brain (a protein fragment). Alzheimer’s-related brain plaques are known to arise when beta-amyloid builds up in the brain. Turmeric may also protect brain health by preventing nerve cell breakdown in the brain.

Turmeric is a fundamental component of curry powder, which also contains spices like coriander and cumin. Try adding curry powder or turmeric to stir-fries, soups, and vegetable dishes to maximize your turmeric intake. To increase the absorption of turmeric, add a few dashes of black pepper.

3. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba has long been utilized as a dementia treatment and is well-known for its health benefits in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Ginkgo biloba is claimed to assist boost cognitive performance by stimulating circulation and increasing blood flow to the brain.

Although research on Ginkgo Biloba has given mixed results, there is some indication that this herb may help patients with Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment improve their cognitive performance.

Furthermore, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, a Ginkgo Biloba extract known as EGb761 may be especially effective in delaying cognitive decline among patients with neuropsychiatric symptoms as well as cognitive impairment and dementia.

Neuropsychiatric symptoms, which are common in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, include depression and other non-cognitive problems.

4. Ashwagandha

According to a review study published in 2010, another Ayurvedic herb, ashwagandha, has been proven to reduce the production of beta-amyloid plaques in preliminary studies. 

Furthermore, preliminary research suggests that ashwagandha may assist the brain by lowering oxidative stress (a component that may contribute to the formation and progression of Alzheimer’s disease), according to the review.

5. Ginseng

Ginseng is a popular herbal medicine plant that contains anti-inflammatory compounds known as ginsenosides. In preliminary lab experiments, scientists discovered that ginsenosides can help lower beta-amyloid levels in the brain, according to a review published in 2018.