In recognition of Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, this month’s column will focus on natural remedies that support brain health and memory.

Keep in mind that if there is anything you want to try, first ask your physician if it’s right for you. I am not a doctor, and besides, individual response varies.

Now, for some intelligent, brain-loving options, all available at health food stores nationwide (and possibly in your garden!):


Lion’s Mane

This is a medicinal mushroom, not an animal-derived furry ingredient. It is classified as a nootrope. Have you ever heard of that word before?

Nootropics (“noah-trope-icks”) are defined as substances that can improve cognitive function. Nootropic substances, whether they are medications or supplements, simply contain supportive nutrients that will help you maintain optimal brain function.

Lion’s mane is known botanically as Hericium erinaceus, and it possesses well-known regenerative effects. There’s an active ingredient in lion’s mane mushroom that promotes the growth of nerve cells in the brain. When you grow new nerve cells, it’s helpful, right?

Nootropes are the way of the world, and even kids know about them because on the street, they are termed “smart pills.” Some college kids like nootropic supplements to help them get through finals and exams.


Bacopa Monnieri

There is a gorgeous white flower that is a nootropic herb. It helps you maintain optimal brain function due to its strong, protective effect on one particular memory compound called acetylcholine.

Bacopa blocks acetylcholinesterase (which breaks down acetylcholine), and acetylcholine is a highly desired neurotransmitter!


Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

Gotu kola, commonly called pennywort, contains compounds that support neurotrophin secretion.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, is the most well studied of the neurotrophins. It helps maintain brain integrity and signals nerve cells to survive and differentiate. Gotu kola seems to help with mental fatigue.


If your practitioner approves of these gentle remedies, you could certainly try them independently, or you can find multitasking formulas that contain these as well as other key nutrients and amino acids.

Just be careful because some nootropic supplements are dangerous and, in fact, some are not supposed to be on the market anymore. Buy from trusted brands and companies.

It’s completely within your rights to ask for a company’s “certificate of analysis” for purity and heavy-metal testing. If they don’t provide that document to you, run.


This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or treat your disease. For more information about the author, visit

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