If you want to join the ranks of the smartest people alive today, you might be able to get a little edge from taking some natural brain power-boosting herbs.

Only .05% of people have recorded IQs of over 140. If you want to have the brilliance of Stephen Hawking or the intellectual gusto of Kim Ung-Yong who was auditing college courses at the ripe old age of 4, you can try these 6 plants to get those brain cells charged up and ready to fire:

1. & 2. Periwinkle & Ginseng

Both of these herbs improve cognitive function. They have both been studied by researchers at the University of Northumbria in Tyne, England, and can be used together to boost cognitive abilities. Ginseng is great as an alternative to synthetic medications (like those prescribed for ADHD or ADD). It is also known to possess compounds that help protect us from radiation.

3. Vincristine

Extracted from Periwinkle as a natural constituent,vincristine is one of the most powerful anticancer drugs in the world. In fact, it has significantly increased the survival rate for acute childhood leukemia; however, periwinkle’s vincsristine also offers huge positive neuro-cognitive effects, and even reduces brain tumors.

4. Gotu Kola

While this herb is said to boost brain power in general, gotu kola is also considered to be an adaptogen, which means it lowers stress. Stress has an incredibly abhorrent affect on our brain’s ability to process information and to see things clearly –acting rapidly via catecholamines and more slowly via glucocorticoids. Catecholamine actions involve beta adrenergic receptors and also availability of glucose, whereas glucocorticoids biphasically modulate synaptic plasticity over hours and also produce longer-term changes in dendritic structure that last for weeks – dumbing us down, essentially, with every shallow breath and wrinkled eye-brow. Gotu Kola can help to minimize this reaction.

5. Smelling Rosemary

A team of scientists from the University of Northumbria, UK, has discovered that one of the active essential oils which gives rosemary its favorable scent improves speed and accuracy when performing certain mental tasks. Thanks to 8-cineole, the main chemical constituent in the plant, we can score higher on tests and just function better mentally on a daily basis from smelling the herb. In fact, the higher the levels of 8-cineole in the Rosemary bush, the higher the test scores as evidenced in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. Needless to say, boosting the brain is just one of many rosemary benefits.

6. Ginkgo Biloba

This herb actually helps to regenerate brain cells. While the research isn’t conclusive, numerous studies have found this herb to be beneficial for improving memory and adding intellectual zeal. If you are taking blood thinning medications; however, you should check with your doctor before ingesting since the herb can cause brain bleeding if used in connection with blood thinners. Otherwise, the herb is perfectly safe and has been used for millennia. It is at least 250 million years old. Now, that’s a smart tree!

(Yes, we know simply consuming these herbs won’t literally make you a genius).

This post originally appeared at Natural Society.


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