Looking for a natural way to improve focus and sharpen concentration without the side effects brought about by some prescription drugs? Natural nootropic brain boosters may be a better choice.

These herbal supplements protect the brain from free-radical damage caused by environmental stressors, increase circulation to the brain and reduce inflammation.

Here are a few worth considering. As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements.

Huperzine A

A compound believed to enhance learning and memory, Huperzine A comes from a type of Chinese moss and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for many years.

The plant (called Hup A for short) has been used to develop treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in Asia. Researchers have shown that Hup A is able to preserve levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain; acetylcholine is critical to memory and other cognitive function, including concentration.

Doses of this nootropic supplement are between 50–100 micrograms, given twice daily.

Try: Nature’s Plus Huperzine Rx-Brain Tablets

Bacopa Monnieri

Nootropic brain booster bacopa monnieri has been used in Ayurvedic medicine (alone and in combination with other herbs) to support memory, fight stress and improve mental performance.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial found that bacopa had positive effects on cognitive function and decreased depression and anxiety in healthy older adults.

Doses are between 150–300 milligrams per day of a bacopa extract containing a minimum of 50 percent bacosides.

Try: Gaia Herbs Bacopa Vegan Liquid Phyto-Caps 

Citicoline

Citicoline is naturally occurring in the body and given as a nootropic brain supplement to treat dementia, age-related memory loss, head trauma and more. It works by enhancing the levels of choline in the brain, which is important to overall brain health.

A study of 60 healthy adults found that participants who received a beverage containing citicoline and caffeine showed better performance when completing tasks associated with mental alertness, attention and problem solving when compared to study participants who received a placebo.

Doses of citicoline are between 250–500 milligrams per day.

Try: Jarrow Formulas Citicoline CDP-Coline Capsules