The Best Natural Nootropics to Improve Brain Health (2024)

The Best Natural Nootropics to Improve Brain Health (2024) - Lucid™

In today's fast-paced world, maintaining optimal brain health is crucial for staying focused, productive, and mentally sharp. Natural nootropics offer a promising avenue for enhancing cognitive function and overall brain health without the side effects associated with synthetic alternatives or caffeine-laden brain boosters.

Looking for the most natural route to optimal brain function? Join us as we explore the best natural nootropics available in 2024, plus their benefits, recommended dosages, and the scientific evidence supporting their efficacy.

Key Takeaways

Natural nootropics, derived from plants and herbs, offer cognitive enhancement without the side effects of synthetic alternatives. They work by regulating neurotransmitters and are available over the counter.

Natural nootropics come in various forms, including herbs, adaptogens, vitamins, and minerals.

When choosing natural nootropics, it's crucial to consider factors such as documented safety profiles, peer-reviewed studies, evidence-based dosage guidelines, and reputable sourcing.

What are Natural Nootropics (vs Synthetic)?

Nootropics, often referred to as "smart drugs" are substances that may improve cognitive function, memory, creativity, and motivation. Nootropics work by regulating neurotransmitter production and uptake in a way that positively impacts neural functions.

While synthetic nootropics, such as the medications used to treat ADHD and similar conditions, are typically available by prescription, natural nootropics are derived from plants, herbs, and other natural sources and are available as over-the-counter supplements. Consumers often prefer natural nootropics because they can provide effective cognition enhancement without the side effects related to their synthetic counterparts.

Types of Natural Nootropics

Natural nootropics come in various forms, including herbs, adaptogens, vitamins, and minerals. Natural nootropics can be derived from various plants, mushrooms, amino acids, and more. The supplements can take many forms, including capsules, powders, beverages, snack items, and tinctures, leaving consumers plenty of room to customize their brain-boosting regimen.

Each different nootropic supplement offers unique benefits for brain health and cognitive function. For this reason, many people combine natural nootropics, a method called supplement stacking, to reap full coverage benefits. Understanding a broad range of nootropics can help consumers make informed choices when selecting the best natural nootropics for their needs.

We've narrowed it down to the best research-backed nootropics in our list below. But first, take a look at the criteria we used to choose them:

Criteria for Selecting the Best Natural Nootropics

When choosing natural nootropics, it's essential to consider several factors to ensure safety and efficacy. For our list of the best natural nootropics, we prioritized the following:

  • Nootropics with documented safety profiles and effectiveness through either scientific research or well-documented historical use

  • Natural nootropics are backed by peer-reviewed studies demonstrating their cognitive-enhancing properties.

  • Nootropics with existing evidence-based dosage guidelines

  • Substances that are available from reputable sources that provide transparent information about the sourcing and manufacturing processes of their products.

Best Natural Nootropics for Brain Health


L-Theanine is an amino acid primarily found in tea leaves, particularly in green tea. It is renowned for its ability to induce relaxation without causing drowsiness, making it a popular choice for promoting calm focus and reducing stress.

  • Benefits : Promotes relaxation without drowsiness, enhances attention and focus, and reduces stress and anxiety.

  • Dosage: 100-200 mg per day, preferably in combination with caffeine for synergistic effects.

  • Scientific evidence:

    • According to a 2012 study , a combination of L-theanine and caffeine may be responsible for the improved concentration abilities associated with drinking various green and black tea varieties.

    • Another study found that L-theanine may help to prevent the dilation of blood vessels after consuming caffeine, effectively reducing its impact on blood pressure and anxiety levels.

    • Other research shows that the two may pair together to offer significant benefits, like improved reaction times , improved word recognition, improved attention , and improved ability to switch between tasks , with greater accuracy upon completion.

Read our article " How Much L-theanine to Take with Coffee " to learn more.

Lion's Mane Mushroom

Lion's Mane Mushroom, scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus, is a medicinal mushroom recognized for its distinctive appearance and potential cognitive benefits. It contains compounds believed to support nerve growth factor (NGF) production, promoting brain health and cognitive function.

  • Benefits: Supports nerve growth factor (NGF) production, enhances memory and cognitive function, and may protect against age-related cognitive decline.

  • Dosage: 500-1000 mg per day of standardized extract.

  • Scientific evidence:

    • According to a 2017 animal study , lion’s mane may have a positive impact on object recognition and memory. One human trial found that regular lion’s mane doses helped to improve cognitive performance in adults between the ages of 50 and 86 compared to the placebo group.

    • Further research suggests that lion’s mane may be beneficial for preventing cognitive decline caused by neurodegenerative disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

    • Another study found that Lion’s Mane extract may encourage the growth of new nerve cells and may stimulate faster healing within the nervous system by stimulating the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). One more study has confirmed these effects–Lion’s mane was capable of increasing nervous system repair in rats with nerve damage compared to control subjects.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogenic herb native to high-altitude regions of Europe and Asia. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to combat fatigue, enhance mental performance, and improve resilience to stress.

  • Benefits: Increases resistance to stress, enhances mental performance and stamina, improves mood and focus.

  • Dosage: 200-600 mg per day of standardized extract containing 3% rosavins and 1% salidroside.

  • Scientific evidence:

    • Studies have demonstrated the cognitive-enhancing and anti-fatigue effects of Rhodiola Rosea, particularly in stressful situations.

    • Rhodiola contains rosavin and salidroside , two compounds known traditionally used to treat anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions. Now, researchers believe these compounds may have benefits for the whole brain, including the potential to improve memory.

    • One review of 36 animal studies concluded this to be true–stating that “R. rosea L. can improve learning and memory function” possibly due to its “antioxidant properties, cholinergic regulation, anti-apoptosis activities, anti-inflammatory, improving coronary blood flow, and cerebral metabolism.”

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is one of the oldest living tree species and has a rich history of use in traditional medicine. Its leaves contain potent antioxidants and compounds that enhance blood flow to the brain, making it a popular choice for improving cognitive function.

  • Benefits: Improves blood flow to the brain, enhances memory and cognitive function, and may alleviate symptoms of age-related cognitive decline.

  • Dosage: 120-240 mg per day of standardized extract containing 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones.

  • Scientific evidence: 

    • Research suggests that Ginkgo Biloba can improve memory, attention, and executive function in individuals with cognitive impairment.

    • Most commonly, this herbal remedy is associated with increased blood flow, which may be linked to multiple physical and mental benefits.

    • According to a 1996 study Ginkgo may be effective in treating Alzheimer’s Disease.

    • Another trial the following year offered a similar conclusion–the same Ginkgo extract was shown to be effective in stabilizing and improving cognitive function in dementia patients.


Cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi known for its energy-boosting and adaptogenic properties. Traditionally used in Chinese medicine, Cordyceps is believed to enhance physical performance, cognitive function, and overall vitality.

  • Benefits : Boosts energy levels and endurance, enhances oxygen utilization and supports cognitive function and mental clarity.

  • Dosage : 500-1000 mg per day of standardized extract.

  • Scientific evidence: 

    • Preliminary studies indicate that Cordyceps supplementation may improve cognitive function, reduce fatigue, and enhance physical performance.

    • One animal study found it capable of improving memory and learning in mice by “scavenging oxygen free radicals, preventing oxidative damage, and protecting the nervous system.”

    • Enhancing cerebral blood flow may be another mechanism by which cordyceps helps to improve memory and cognitive functions.

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri, also known as Brahmi, is a perennial herb native to wetlands in Asia. It has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine for enhancing cognitive function, reducing anxiety, and promoting overall brain health.

  • Benefits: Enhances memory and learning ability, reduces anxiety and stress, and supports overall cognitive function.

  • Dosage : 300-600 mg per day of standardized extract containing 50% bacosides.

  • Scientific evidence: 

    • Clinical trials have shown that Bacopa Monnieri supplementation can improve memory retention, cognitive processing, and anxiety symptoms.

    • Research shows many documented uses , like mood enhancement and treating seizures. According to research, it may also help to regulate the production of important neurochemicals necessary for all aspects of cognitive function.

    • In one study, bacopa was found to be superior to two other nootropic supplements–ginseng, an herbal supplement known for increasing energy, and modafinil, a medication designed to promote alertness in people with narcolepsy.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients crucial for brain health and function. They are primarily found in fatty fish and certain plant sources like algae. EPA and DHA, two types of omega-3 fatty acids, play vital roles in supporting cognitive development and reducing the risk of cognitive decline.

  • Benefits : Essential for brain structure and function, supports cognitive development, and may reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

  • Dosage: 250-500 mg combined EPA and DHA per day from fish oil or algae sources.

  • Scientific evidence: 

    • A study published in Neurology® concluded that people with low Omega-3 levels had lower brain volume and scored lower on tests involving visual memory and executive function, like tasks involving problem-solving, multi-tasking, and abstract thinking.

    • Another study found that fish oil containing omega-3 had a positive impact on learning and memory compared to the placebo group in insect models.


Alpha-GPC (Alpha-glycerophosphocholine) is a naturally occurring compound found in the brain and various food sources. It serves as a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential for learning, memory, and cognitive function.

  • Benefits : Enhances acetylcholine synthesis, improves memory and cognitive function, and supports overall brain health.

  • Dosage : 300-600 mg per day.

  • Scientific evidence: 

    • Research suggests that Alpha-GPC supplementation can improve memory, attention, and cognitive performance in healthy individuals and those with cognitive decline.

    • Alpha-GPC is a choline supplement known to promote the release of acetylcholine , a neurotransmitter that helps facilitate learning and memory.

    • It is approved as a prescription drug for managing Alzheimer’s disease in some other countries, but it exists only as a dietary supplement in the U.S.

Nootropic Stacking: Combining Natural Nootropics for Enhanced Benefits

Combining natural nootropics, known as "stacking," can amplify their effects and target multiple aspects of brain health. However, it's essential to approach stacking with caution and consider potential interactions and contraindications. 

You can always look for a pre-blended Nootropic stack. Many of the nootropics on the market include a blend of Nootropic substances meant to target different cognitive areas.

If you'd rather fully customize your experience, you can hand-select nootropics to take. You'll also need to do some research to determine the correct dosage for each substance. Remember that the total necessary dosage for a substance may be lower when combined with other Nootropic substances.

Ultimately, you should always talk to your doctor before starting new supplements, especially if you already take medications. Be aware that some nootropics have drug interactions, and all supplements have possible side effects. Read “ Nootropic Side Effects: What to Expect & How to Avoid Them ” to learn more.

Lifestyle Factors to Support Brain Health

In addition to natural nootropics, lifestyle factors play a crucial role in maintaining optimal brain health:

  • Nutrition : Eat a balanced diet rich in brain-boosting nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins.

  • Exercise : Engage in regular physical activity to improve blood flow to the brain and promote neuroplasticity.

  • Sleep : Prioritize quality sleep to support memory consolidation, cognitive function, and overall brain health.

  • Stress management : Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to reduce stress and promote mental well-being.

  • Cognitive stimulation : Stay mentally active by challenging your brain with puzzles, games, reading, or learning new skills.


The best natural nootropics offer a safe and effective way to enhance brain health and cognitive function. By incorporating these natural supplements into your daily routine and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can optimize your mental performance and maintain a sharp mind as you age. Prioritize your brain health today for a brighter tomorrow.

Remember, always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications. Here's to a healthier, happier brain!

Lucid beverages contain a blend of brain-boosting nootropics + powerful mushrooms designed to unlock your brain's full potential so you can zone in on what's important. 

Ready to become lucid?  Check out our starter kit. 


  1. “Assessing the effects of caffeine and theanine on the maintenance of vigilance during a sustained attention task”

  2. “A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood”

  3. “L-theanine partially counteracts caffeine-induced sleep disturbances in rats”

  4. “The effects of l-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood”

  5. “Acute effects of theanine, caffeine and theanine-caffeine combination on attention”

  6. “Psychological effects of dietary components of tea: caffeine and L-theanine”

  7. “The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness”

  8. “Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice”

  9. “Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial”

  10. “The Neuroprotective Properties of Hericium erinaceus in Glutamate-Damaged Differentiated PC12 Cells and an Alzheimer’s Disease Mouse Model”

  11. “Lion's Mane, Hericium erinaceus and Tiger Milk, Lignosus rhinocerotis (Higher Basidiomycetes) Medicinal Mushrooms Stimulate Neurite Outgrowth in Dissociated Cells of Brain, Spinal Cord, and Retina: An In Vitro Study”

  12. “Peripheral Nerve Regeneration Following Crush Injury to Rat Peroneal Nerve by Aqueous Extract of Medicinal Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae)”

  13. “Rhodiola rosea L.: an herb with anti-stress, anti-aging, and immunostimulating properties for cancer chemoprevention”

  14. “Rhodiola rosea L. Improves Learning and Memory Function: Preclinical Evidence and Possible Mechanisms”

  15. “Proof of efficacy of the ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in outpatients suffering from mild to moderate primary degenerative dementia of the Alzheimer type or multi-infarct dementia”

  16. “A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial of an extract of Ginkgo biloba for dementia. North American EGb Study Group”

  17. “Improvement of Learning and Memory Induced by Cordyceps Polypeptide Treatment and the Underlying Mechanism”

  18. “Bacopa monniera, a reputed nootropic plant: an overview”

  19. “Neuropharmacological Review of the Nootropic Herb Bacopa monnieri”

  20. “Cognitive effects of two nutraceuticals ginseng and bacopa benchmarked against modafinil: a review and comparison of effect sizes”

  21. “The effects of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, caffeine or placebo on markers of mood, cognitive function, power, speed, and agility”

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