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Can’t Focus? Try These 6 Chinese Herbs To Support Cognitive Function

Chinese herbs to support cognitive function

Can’t pay attention for very long? You’re certainly not alone. In fact, a 2015 study conducted by Microsoft revealed that the average attention span was, at the time, just 8 seconds—one second shorter than the average attention span of a goldfish!

The situation may be even worse today. Consider that from February 2020, to May 2020, Internet searches for “how to get your brain to focus,” “how to focus better,” and “how to increase focus” increased 300%, 110% and 60%, respectively. 

Over 2000 years ago, sages of the Orient recorded the substances in their natural environment that supported mental acuity. Of course, back then, nobody was staring at screens. But that doesn’t mean ancient Chinese didn’t experience sharp declines in cognitive function.

We took a look at contemporary research studies that highlight some legendary Chinese herbs to support cognitive function. Here’s our list of the top 6 botanical ingredients for focus and concentration.

Senega Root

Internet searches for “how to get your brain to focus,” “how to focus better,” and “how to increase focus” increased 300%, 110% and 60%, respectively.

Otherwise known as Yuan Zhi (Radix Polygalae), Chinese senega root calms the spirit and supports cognition. It’s considered by some herbalists to be both an adaptogenic herb and a nootropic substance. Adaptogens exert a non-specific response to stress and regulate the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

In other words, adaptogens may support brain health by normalizing the body’s response to stressors. Nootropics are substances (which can be natural or synthetic; Yuan Zhi is natural) that may support normal mental function. 

Considered a fundamental herb in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Yuan Zhi, in TCM applications, is also used to strengthen the will. 

Sweetflag Rhizome

In China, this herb is known as Shi Chang Pu (Rhizoma Acori tatarinowii), and is used traditionally to resuscitate and calm the mind. In China, traditional doctors make a “smart soup” out of Shi Chang Pu herb. 

Biota Seed

Known in TCM as Bai Zi Ren (Semen Platycladi), Biota seed is traditionally used as a spirit tonic. In The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica, a classic book of TCM theory, it is said that evergreens such as those from which the biota seed is derived, “Receives the resoluteness of heaven and earth and remains unchanging; it goes through winter retaining its green lushness and thus can pacify the Heart Spirit and contain the Heart Qi. Its steadfastness also makes it impervious to invasion by evil Qi’s floating fire.” 

What does this mean for cognitive support? By supporting circadian rhythms, which, in turn, supports normal sleep patterns, Biota seed may support memory and cognition.

—> Senega Root, Sweetflag and Biota Seed are just three out of the 10 herbs in our cognitive-support formula BrainNew.


The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Recent studies have shown that curcumin has a role in enhancing hippocampal cellular proliferation and improving cognitive abilities in aged mice.


Ginseng has been rigorously studied, for among other benefits, its effects on cognitive function. The “king of all herbs,” ginseng’s main active constituent is ginsenosides. The ginsenoside, Rg1, was found to enhance neural proliferation in adult male mice. In addition, Rg1, has demonstrated the ability to increase cell proliferation in cultured neural stem cells (neurospheres). The ginsenoside may also enhance the survival rate in hippocampal cells that act like stem cells (progenitor cells).  

Rhodiola Rosea

Among its many purported health benefits, when it comes to supporting cognition, rhodiola may do so by supporting heart circulation, studies show. More fresh blood flow to the heart, the more your mental cognition will be supported.

Conclusion: Herbs For Focus & Concentration

The good news is that if you want to try any of these herbs to support focus and concentration, they are available in single-herb extract granules. Extract granules are super easy to use. You simply add a scoop (scooper provided) to hot water and drink as an instant hot tea. 

What do you take to support your focus and concentration? Leave a comment below.

Suggested Reading From The Blog:

May Chinese Herbs Help With Brain Function?

Licorice Root: Candy For The West, Legendary “Guide Herb” In The Orient

This is the King of All Herbs in Chinese Medicine