Concentration is a key part of our daily lives. Whether you’re driving to work, getting a project done, or just sitting down to enjoy a movie, concentration is vital to completing and enjoying things. However, we aren’t always as focused as we’d like to be. That’s where natural remedies for concentration come in. These products and techniques can make a big difference in your day-to-day life.
Exercise is one of the best ways to improve concentration – in fact, it’s one of the best natural remedies for ADHD as well. Aside from reducing physical stress and improving confidence, exercise plays an important role in the development and deployment of certain chemicals within the brain.
The most important of these is dopamine, a neurotransmitter that affects clear thinking and attention span. A good job early in the day can benefit you for hours to come.
If you have a desk job, don’t worry – there are still plenty of ways to exercise. We’re particularly fond of walking meetings, where everyone involved walks outside for the duration of the meeting instead of sitting in a boardroom for an hour. Gentle exercise can spur inspiration, improve results, and provide direct health benefits.
Bacopa is an Indian herb used in a variety of traditional medicines. Most notably, this herb is often used to treat anxiety and general stress, both of which can be extremely damaging to your concentration. More directly, this herb is believed to increase the presence of neurotransmitters that deal with memory, learning, and thinking. Some people believe it helps protect from Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately, the evidence on that point is not conclusive, and studies are ongoing.
Be sure to double-check any labels before you buy this product. Bacopa is often sold under the name “Brahmi”, which is also used to refer to gotu kola (see below) and certain other plants.
#3: Ginkgo Biloba
Originally an Asian plant, Ginkgo has been grown around the world for hundreds of years thanks to its well-documented effects on the mind and body.
Concentration-wise, the most direct benefits of Ginkgo come from its benefits as a blood thinner. By increasing the amount of blood flow to the brain, Ginkgo helps deliver nutrients and remove unwanted substances and chemicals. Some people use it to treat depression, memory loss, headache, or mood disturbances.
Dosage for this natural remedy varies. Some people have seen improvement in their concentration with a single dose of 240-600 mg, while other people have taken smaller doses for up to 4 months.
Important: As a blood thinner, Ginkgo should not be taken with other blood thinners like aspirin. If you’re taking any medications, talk with your doctor before using Ginkgo.
Ah, ginseng – are there any natural remedies for concentration more popular than this? While ginseng is often taken for health and overall well-being, there are a few points to be aware of.
First, many products on the market contain a negligible amount of ginseng – enough to provide flavor, but not any of its expected medical benefits. Worse, some plants called ginseng (including purple, black, and prince’s) aren’t believed to have the same beneficial properties. If you’re going to use ginseng at all, be careful about what you’re buying.
It’s best to consume this remedy as a tea (from real ginseng, not just flavored to taste like it!). When taken properly, ginseng should improve cognitive function, help with weight loss, provide antioxidants, and support overall cardiovascular health.
#5: Gotu Kola
Gotu Kola is a plant native to Southeast Asia and Australia. Its primary use is improving blood circulation and improving overall memory. Some people use it as an adaptogen – a product that helps the body adapt to stress and improve its overall functioning. However, the evidence is less certain on that point, so we don’t recommend Gotu Kola for that particular use.
In crude form, doses generally range from 1.5g to 4 g per day, but this can vary based on provider.
Gotu Kola may also be sold under the name Brahmi, which is also used for Bacopa and some other plants used in Indian medicine. Most of these plants have similar effects, but they may also have unwanted interactions with other supplements or medicines you’re taking.
#6: Huperzine A
Huperzine A is an extract obtained from Chinese club moss. Unlike most of our natural remedies for concentration, this is most effective in a purified form, and some people believe it’s more of a drug than a natural substance in useful doses.
The main benefit of this substance is an increase in acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps to move information between brain cells. Research shows that doses ranging from 4 to 12 weeks are likely effective for memory and cognitive issues, with adults typically needing a longer dose than children and teenagers.
This remedy is usually taken orally, with a dose of 30 to 200 mcg twice per day.
Rhodiola is a plant native to arctic regions, including those in Alaska, Asia, and Europe. It’s been used medicinally for at least two thousand years, and likely longer, a testament to its perceived benefits.
Rhodiola is believed to act as a natural relaxant of sorts, with effects ranging from regulating heartbeat to easing depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, researchers have not yet been able to find conclusive evidence on these points, so we can’t recommend this product as highly as some of the others on this list.
If you decide to take Rhodiola, we recommend buying it from a supplier and following their dosing instructions. It should be safe to take at that dose for up to 10 weeks. Some people have reported feeling distinctly more energetic on the first day of taking this remedy, so chances are you’ll know quite quickly if it’s effective on you.
Rosemary is a beloved herb, and with good reason – it provides a great flavor to stews, meat, and many other meals. For cognitive benefits, however, it’s best to get the essential oil of rosemary and use an aromatherapy device. Culinary uses aren’t concentrated enough to have real health benefits.
When taken properly, rosemary is known to help boost memory, relieve stress, improve the immune system, strengthen blood flow, relieve pain, and even detoxify the body. If there’s one downside to this herb, it’s that rosemary is part of the mint family and a small percentage of people are allergic to it.
Even so, the well-documented benefits mean that Rosemary is one of the best brain supplements you can find, and we heartily recommend it as a focus booster.
Tulsi is an Indian herb often hailed as the crown of Ayurveda. Often referred to as “holy basil” – in part because Hinduism worships it as a goddess – this plant has an incredible variety of documented benefits. Most of these are directly protective in nature, ranging from antimicrobial and antioxidant properties to more unusual results like anti-arthritic and chemo-preventive effects.
It’s so effective that many people take it every day, often harvesting it fresh from plants in their home. If you’re not growing it yourself, Tulsi needs to be cultivated, harvested, preserved and stored properly to retain its benefits. Some European versions of Tulsi are on the market but believed to be far less effective – this is, in part, because they often add other, less-effective herbs.
Dosing and Medical Information
With the right concentration formula, you can improve your cognitive functions, pay more attention to your tasks, and generally improve your overall health and well-being. However, finding the correct dose is more challenging.
Like all medicinal treatments – and yes, this includes exercise – the remedies described here may be more or less effective on you. Differences in biology mean that remedies affect people in different ways, so you shouldn’t be concerned if the first thing you try doesn’t work as well as you expected. (That said, be sure you’re actually getting a medicinal dose, not a medicine-flavored product.)
We also recommend talking to a doctor before trying any of these herbal remedies. They can help you understand if there are any likely side-effects or interactions you should be aware of. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, since remedies that are normally safe may have an impact on fetal development.
Be sure to follow the dosage recommended by your doctor (preferable) or the provider of your remedy. Most medicines are safe when taken as directed, and any attempts to ‘boost’ your concentration gain by taking more medicine are likely to backfire.