How To Boost Your Brain Power With Herbs…

The 6 Best Herbs And Spices For Your Brain

Sarah Klein |

healing herbs

Herbs and spices are the saving grace of many a strict diet plan. Constantly saluted for their calorie-free, fat-free, junk-free flavor additions, those dashes and pinches make the difference between legitimately enjoying clean eating and suffering through another baked chicken breast. (Take back control of your eating—and lose weight in the process—with our 21-Day Challenge!)

But herbs and spices aren’t only winners for your waistline. A handful also have promising research behind them suggesting big benefits for your brain, like a sharper memory, less anxiety, and maybe even protection from brain tumors. Here are a few it can’t hurt to add to your favorite recipes.

Parsley and Thyme
A recent study from Brazil found that a flavonoid in these spices, called apigenin, strengthened connections between neurons and even coaxed stem cells—our “raw material” cells that can form other specialized ones—into becoming neurons. While these results were produced in a lab setting and not in living, breathing humans, the researchers hypothesize that a diet rich in apigenin might influence brain cell formation and communication, too, which, in theory, could help ward off depression, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Apigenin’s chemical structure is similar to that of estrogen, explains Giana Angelo, PhD, a research associate at the Micronutrient Information Center at Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute, who was not involved in the research. Estrogen’s long been known to influence neuron development, she says. “In this study, apigenin was able to mimic estrogen and elicit the same types of cellular changes.”

A perennial favorite of late-night tea drinkers, chamomile is, at least anecdotally, a tried and true stress destroyer. (Check out these 12 other stress-reducing foods.) Like with apigenin, we’ve only got lab studies to go on when we think about how chamomile works its herbal magic on the brain, but it contains compounds that might bind to receptors for certain brain chemicals, reducing anxiety in the process, Angelo explains. In one study—in actual humans!—a small group of people with READ MORE:

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