Ginseng

Ginseng is a herbal product used in North America and Asia for centuries for its therapeutic benefits. You would be surprised to know that ginseng has nootropic properties that affect behavior and cognition. It played a huge role in Chinese medicine and was one of the top 5 medicinal plants of Native Americans.

Nootropic ginseng is of two kinds, American ginseng, and Asian Ginseng. American ginseng is considered more cooling and less stimulating compared to Asian ginseng. 

For ginseng root to be usable, it has to be grown for a minimum of 3 years before harvesting. It is considered an adaptogen, which means it helps the body in adapting to stress.

Let’s dive deeper into the topic to know more about Ginseng’s uses, dosage, side effects, etc.

How is Ginseng useful?


Have you ever experienced brain fog in the middle of a busy day, lack of focus, and sharp memory to finish a project deadline or prepare for exams? Ginseng can come to your rescue with its brain-boosting properties.

Ginseng consists of an active component called ginsenosides. Ginsenosides have anticancer, anti-inflammation, antioxidation, antiaging, antifatigue effects. So far, 60 different ginsenosides have been identified, and each of them has a different impact on cells. The ginseng root contains 2-3% of ginsenosides. The significant ginsenosides are Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, and Rg1.

A study called, Ginsenosides: A Potential Neuroprotective Agent stated that ginsenosides have effects on the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the immune system. The study further noted that ginsenosides’ neuroprotective mechanism is mainly related to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidation, antiaging, nerve growth factor, other cytokines, and various signaling pathways.

Another study called, Actoprotective effect of ginseng: improving mental and physical performance showed that Asian ginseng could significantly increase physical and intellectual work capacity, and it can be regarded as potential actoprotectors(synthetic adaptogens that improve physical performance).

Ginseng has shown to provide the following benefits:

 

Possible risks of Ginseng


Since ginseng is a natural supplement, it is well tolerated by most people. The most common risk associated with ginseng is insomnia. Side effects are generally mild and include nervousness, insomnia, blood pressure changes, breast pain, vaginal bleeding, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The above-mentioned side effects are less common and very rare. Long-term usage of ginseng in some people can have some hormone-like effects which could be harmful.

Ginseng, in the form of cream, when applied to the skin, is possibly safe.

Ginseng usage is unsafe in infants and kids. It is safe to take ginseng by mouth for pregnant women. 

Do not consume ginseng if you have any bleeding or heart conditions, or diabetes.

Dosage


Ginseng dosing depends on the quality and form of ginseng you are taking. Dried ginseng root can be taken up to 1-2 gm daily for three months. Ginseng in the form of extracts can be taken from the range of 100gm to 800 gm per day. Raw ginseng root can be taken from the range of 0.5 to 3 gm daily.

Choose a ginseng extract that contains 2-3 % of ginsenosides. Start from small doses and increase over time. 

Conclusion


Ginseng is a natural nootropic that has been used for centuries by Chinese and Native Americans. It is commonly used for its brain function benefits, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. 

Additionally, it is used for boosting the immune system, fighting fatigue, and erectile dysfunction.

With ginseng offering a wide range of uses, it is worth a try, and there’s nothing to lose as it is a herbal supplement with very mild side effects in rare cases.

Cat’s Claw

Cat’s Claw is a popular herbal nootropic. It is a plant that grows in tropical areas of central and South America. The name is derived from thorn-like “cat’s claws.” The plant is a green wood-like vine known for its thorn-like hooks on the leaf stem. There are two species of this herb known to have medical benefits, namely Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis. Uncaria tomentosa is a popular supplement in the US. It’s available as a liquid extract, powder, capsule, or tea.

History of Cat’s Claw


The Cat’s Claw’s bark and roots have been in use for centuries in South America as traditional medicine. It is used to alleviate inflammation, cancer, as a contraceptive, and control viral infections. Its use dates back to the Inca civilization.

Cat’s Claw boosts brain health and function in several ways. Studies suggest the species Uncaria might help sustain brain functioning. Some of its key benefits are

Neuroprotectant

Over the years, the herb and its extracts used to treat many conditions.

They include:   

Recent studies on how the supplement works are focused on cognitive benefits. There is enormous evidence the herb protects brain function and cognition. Cat’s Claw enhances DNA repair in the brain. It also boosts tryptophan levels that influence the work of serotonin and mood.

In other studies, the herb and its extract have:

 

Boost memory and learning

Cat’s claw herb and extracts help learning and memory in both healthy and damaged brains. Certain alkaloids help repair brain cells damaged by the dysfunction of acetylcholine receptors. Rhynchophylline, a Cat’s claw herb alkaloid, acts as an NMDA antagonist. Selective restricting NMDA receptor helps tone down hyperactivity and over-stimulation. As a result, it provides a calm mind for clean cognitive learning.

Functions of Cat’s Claw herb


Cat’s Claw benefits include use in wellness. It is regarded as one of the best herbal nootropics.

Boost memory

Cat’s claw herb and extract increase cognitive function. It could be applied to treat cognitive disorders such as dementia and amnesia. The function is attributed to the herb’s impact on the cholinergic system. It includes the brain chemical acetylcholine.

Brain vasculature support

Cat’s Claw restores cognitive function through brain vasculature support. Thus, it can treat people with vascular dementia. This herb prevents impairment of spatial learning behavior caused by ischemia.

Anti-spasmodic and convulsing

Another of the Cat’s Claw benefits is the ability to reduce convulsions. It makes a perfect treatment and potential therapeutic approach to epilepsy in humans.

Antioxidant activity

An aqueous extract of cat’s claw herb Uncaria showed the ability to prevent cell damage. It increased cell visibility. In the process, it preserves cell potential and function. It scavenges hydroxyl radical in a Parkinson’s human cell model of dopaminergic neurons.

Anti mutagenic function

The effect is linked to cat claws’ antioxidant properties. Also, the supplement improves leucocytes’ DNA repair.

Anti-inflammatory function

The supplement inhibits the synthesis of vital pro-inflammatory mediators. This is done through the inhibition of the pro-inflammatory signaling pathway.

Decreasing pathogenic proteins in the brain

Cat’s claw herb promotes the degradation of the alpha-syncline protein. The protein acts as a marker and a causative agent of some neurological problems. Besides, the extract inhibits the formation of molecular structures amylin fibrils. This prevents the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s on neuronal cells.

The herb may be the best type of anti-aging brain health nutrient.

How to take Cat’s claw supplement?


Cat’s claw herb is a well-tolerated nootropic. It is considered non-toxic. The supplement is available in water or alcohol extract tincture, capsule, or tablets. Freeze-dried or ground claw bark is taken in the form of tea.

The recommended dosage for optimum cat’s claw benefits is 100mg capsule per day. But for cognitive and immune support, a dosage of 250 or 350 mg capsule per day is recommended. The cat’s claw herb vine or root bark for tea or extract contains 3% alkaloids and 15% phenols.

Side effects


Adverse side effects are rare with Cat’s claw herb. But some people experience:

One of the Cat’s Claw benefits is the ability to stimulate the immune system. Cat’s Claw herb lowers blood pressure. Thus, avoid the supplement if you have any issue with low blood pressure. Also, high blood pressure medication shouldn’t be used along with the cat’s claw herb. The supplement increases the risk of bleeding.

Conclusion


The cat’s claw herb has a long history of safe use as an herbal remedy. Today, the herb is used as an anti-inflammatory and immune system booster. It is prevalent in the nootropic circle of cognitive support. Supplementation can improve mood and memory while protecting the brain.

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