We’ve spoken before about how we are symbionts with our microbiome, so I hope you’re now familiar with the concept of how our bodies are interconnected microsystems.

The idea of ingesting tonics made up of particular herbs has been around for at least seven thousand years, according to the documents left to us by history and the relics that pre-date the written word.

Although antiquity is no measure of efficacy, what has been revealed through modern naturopathy is the sheer number of effective treatments that the ayurvedic system possessed- particularly in the fields of massage, reflexology and brain tonics.

Ayurvedic brain tonics not only increase the power of the brain in terms of rest, focus and attention, but also are effective at keeping mental illnesses at bay.  But the question remains, what’s their secret? Well, a recent study at the California Institute of Technology has found that, for example, 90% of our serotonin is produced by our gut bacteria. We think of serotonin as being the mood hormone in our brains, but, amazingly, it is most produced by the symbiotic relationship between our stomachs and tiny life forms living inside us.

We also need healthy bacteria to assimilate B vitamins, which are essential to the function of the nervous system and the brain. Without enough B vitamins, we can’t concentrate as well as we should and so we see the link again; popping a vitamin pill is all well and good, but it won’t be effective with a weak microbiome.

So where do Brain Tonics come in?

A Brain Tonic is a tincture that aims to combine the effects of several herbs into an easily administered dose. For example, a popular recipe is as follows:

  • 15 parts Gingko Leaf
  • 1 part Gotu Kola Herb
  • 1 part Calamus Root
  • 1 part Rosemary Flowers
  • 1 part Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 part Kola Nut

Distilled in alcohol, this makes a well rounded tincture for daily use. Along with eating enough superfoods, these herbs can be combined by our naturopaths to address many ailments, provide a boost to your system or tweak your performance.

Brain Tonic herbs include the following:


Ginseng is a well-known stimulant that can reduce stress, increase focus and memory, and raise metabolism and energy levels.


Sage has been shown to improve memory. Sage is being investigated as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Gota kola

Gota kola renews nerve functions, fights premature aging, aids circulation, and improves memory and intelligence.


Rosemary stimulates the pituitary gland, which produces the HGH (human growth hormone) needed to regulate weight and look younger. It also improves memory, along with a host of other benefits.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to increase energy levels, reduce fatigue, and improve cognitive ability (specifically: associative thinking, short-term memory, calculation, concentration, and speed of audiovisual perception)


This herb is to Ayurvedic medicine as ginseng is to Chinese medicine. People use ashwagandha for improving cognitive ability and it treats many other health problems from infertility to inflammation.

These herbs make up part of the repertoire of aids to balance our bodies and live fulfilled lives. When you understand the interaction between your microbiome and your brain, you can begin to write the story of a higher functioning self.

Why not ask our experts for some tip top advice on where to start?



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