Is It Possible to Use an All-Natural Nootropic?

natural nootropics

When it comes to nootropics, or “smart drugs,” many people imagine a synthetic drug similar to the “limitless” pill, where Bradley Cooper takes a pill and suddenly has superhuman powers. However, if you’ve ever taken a nootropic, you know that their benefits, while oftentimes extremely beneficial, are not quite so dramatic.

While there is no drug that quite measures up to the “limitless” pill, there are countless supplements that can improve how people feel and how well the brain functions. These drugs can change the overall outlook on life, as well as increase performance at school or work. And yes, many of these are 100 percent natural!

From powerful stress-fighters that promote neurogenesis to herbs shown to slow memory loss as people age, naturally derived nootropics can have just as big of an impact on mood and cognition as their synthetic counterparts.

In fact, the most commonly used nootropic of all time around the whole world is natural: caffeine. This nootropic drug is so strong that its use was banned in the Olympics from 1984 to 2004 by the World Anti-Doping Agency.1

Highlighted below are the ten most popular all-natural nootropics and the research-backed benefits that they offer. Consider trying one or more in your all-natural nootropic stack.

Ten Most Powerful Natural Nootropics

The natural supplements described below have been shown to reduce stress, improve exercise performance, enhance memory, reduce fatigue, and provide a wide range of other benefits.


Kava is world-renowned for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety.2 Studies suggest that it may also boost subjective well-being in healthy individuals and enhance sleep quality.3,4

St. John’s Wort

If you’re looking for a natural nootropic shown in study after study to help relieve symptoms associated with mild to moderate depression, St. John’s wort may be just what you’re looking for.5 St. John’s wort is known to interact with many prescription and over-the-counter medications, so be sure to speak with your doctor before adding it to your nootropic stack.

Fish Oil

Fish oil is the primary supplemental form of omega-3 fatty acids. It’s rich in DHA and EPA, which have been shown to help protect cognitive function with age, improve mood, and reduce stress.6


Few people probably think of their daily cup(s) of coffee being categorized as nootropics, but caffeine has been shown to enhance alertness, boost physical performance, improve reaction time, and increase feelings of subjective well-being.7,8

It’s important to note, however, that studies on caffeine have had mixed results when it comes to its effect on memory, so do your research to determine when you should supplement with this particular nootropic.

natural nootropicsLion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s mane is a mushroom that neurohackers use to protect against cognitive decline, reduce feelings of stress, boost focus, and encourage a positive mood.9 It’s best to use capsules or powders taken with food to encourage optimal strength and absorption.


One of the most commonly used adaptogens—herbs that reduce feelings of anxiety by promoting a healthy stress response—is ashwagandha.10 Studies have found reductions in the stress hormone cortisol and subjective feelings of stress with regular use of this powerful herb.11

Bacopa Monnieri

Memory formation, attention, and mood enhancement are the primary uses of bacopa monnieri.12 Human studies have found that four to six weeks of supplementation with this herb can improve memory in healthy individuals and those experiencing cognitive decline.

Panax Ginseng

Panax ginseng is a plant commonly used in herbal medicine. Research suggests that it can help promote a positive mood, improve cognitive function, boost immune system strength, and decrease muscle damage post-exercise.13

Alpha GPC

No nootropics list would be complete without a quality source of choline. Alpha GPC is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter important for learning and memory. Many synthetic nootropics are designed around optimizing the cholinergic system, yet you can get some of these benefits with natural nootropics as well.

Alpha GPC has been found to boost focus, learning, memory, and mood, decrease stress, and protect against age-related cognitive decline.14,15


L-theanine is a compound found in green tea that works exceptionally well when used in conjunction with caffeine.16 It encourages relaxation without fatigue and can consequently reduce jitters that may come with the use of stimulants.


Whether you choose to use individual nootropics or a nootropic stack, there are powerful natural options for both. It will put your mind at ease to know that you are taking an all-natural supplement which allows you to experience full nootropic benefits.

PhotoCredits: IrynaImago/, 1989studio/, norikko/, ReginaNogova/, nevodka/


By Maddy Jenner

Maddy is a researcher and an essential oil advocate and loves learning about the intersection of these categories. She loves hiking, camping, exploring and being outside.

Favorite MONQ blend: Zen

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The above information relates to studies of specific individual essential oil ingredients, some of which are used in the essential oil blends for various MONQ diffusers. Please note, however, that while individual ingredients may have been shown to exhibit certain independent effects when used alone, the specific blends of ingredients contained in MONQ diffusers have not been tested. No specific claims are being made that use of any MONQ diffusers will lead to any of the effects discussed above.  Additionally, please note that MONQ diffusers have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. MONQ diffusers are not intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, prevention, or treatment of any disease or medical condition. If you have a health condition or concern, please consult a physician or your alternative health care provider prior to using MONQ diffusers. MONQ blends should not be inhaled into the lungs.

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