Kratom is becoming more and more popular by the day — and not only for its analgesic and calming properties. In addition to its popularity for pain and stress relief, Mitragyna speciosa is also known as a natural nootropic or a substance that can enhance cognitive function.
Kratom is popular amongst Malaysian college students, for example, for concentration during exam periods. Additionally, green vein kratom and white kratom varieties are often praised in online forums for their stimulating aromas that can help you focus and get things done. If the legality of kratom is up-in-the-air in your country, read on to discover five of the best kratom alternatives and things like kratom for giving your energy a boost and maximizing your mental performance.
Our Favorite Ethnobotanical Things Like Kratom
When you’re looking for things like kratom, it doesn’t get much better than Mitragyna hirsuta. A close relative of Mitragyna speciosa, Mitragyna hirsuta is one of the best kratom alternatives and is even referred to colloquially in Thailand as “kra-thum khok.” This tall, leafy evergreen tree grows in a similar region to kratom — in Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia — and has held a long-recognized role in traditional Southeast Asian medicine.
While Mitragyna Hirsuta is not often included on lists of natural nootropics, this kratom-like substance offers mild stimulating effects at low aromas and relaxing effects at high aromas.
Another alternative to natural nootropics like kratom, Combretum quadrangulare (or Sakae Naa) is a rare leaf from Southeast Asia that has been used as one of the best kratom alternatives since kratom was banned in Thailand in 1943.
A smaller tree that grows in the jungle and wetland areas of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar, Sakae Naa has mild energizing aromas at low levels and more soothing aromas at higher levels. This little-known botanical is also known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory potential which can help to protect the brain from cognitive decline over time due to inflammation.
A cup of coffee is the favorite natural nootropic of 64% of American adults — according to a survey commissioned by the National Coffee Association. But did you also know that coffee, as a member of the Rubiaceae botanical family tree, counts as things like kratom? Coffee, like kratom, (or more correctly, caffeine) blocks adenosine receptors in the brain — making you feel more alert and less fatigued.
A review of the effects of caffeine found that a low-to-moderate dose (40–300 mg per day) increased vigilance, attention, and reduced reaction time. However, the substance showed inconsistent effects in terms of memory enhancement and decision making.
Love coffee but hate the jitters that come with it? Consider taking your daily dose of caffeine with CBD oil to get each day off to the very best start.
A mainstay in traditional Chinese medicine, Panax ginseng (or Asian ginseng) is an herbal root that is used to boost immunity and enhance cognitive performance. A favorite among natural nootropics, Asian ginseng has been shown to improve memory in healthy adults as well as help mitigate symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases.
Just as Mitragyna speciosa contains alkaloids that are responsible for its stimulating and pain-relieving effects, things like kratom such as Panax ginseng also owe their effects to their chemical composition. For example, Asian ginseng contains the natural nootropics Panaxadiol and Panaxatriol that increase the number of neurotransmitters in the brain. When taken consistently for five years or longer, Panax ginseng appears to improve cognitive function later in life.
Ginkgo biloba is an ancient tree species that has been used for culinary as well as medicinal purposes in China, Japan, and Korea. The antioxidant properties of the ginkgo leaf have been shown to protect cells from oxidative stress and death when ingested. The plant is also recognized in the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification as a supplement that can complement other treatments for dementia.
A popular option among natural nootropics, ginkgo biloba supplementation has also been linked with an improvement in depression symptoms and a slowing of age-related macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss). A more positive outlook on life and better eye health are just two more factors that can help with learning effectively and getting things done!
Bacopa monnieri (or Brahmi) is an Ayurvedic herb from India that grows in tropical, wet environments and has traditionally been used to boost cognitive function. Like many other natural nootropics, Bacopa monnieri also appears to provide health benefits beyond enhancing memory and reducing reaction times, including:
- Increasing the body’s resistance to stress
- Fighting free radicals due to its antioxidant content
- Treating symptoms of epilepsy
- Reversing signs of memory impairment
A Word of Caution
As with starting any new holistic living regiment, it is essential that you consult with your primary care provider before starting on a new supplement. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and anyone taking prescription drugs need to take special care to prevent negative and counteractive effects from natural nootropics (including coffee!)
Be Inspired to Live a Healthier Life at Kratora
Our purpose at Kratora is to provide you with research-based information about kratom and other things like kratom that can help you to live your happiest and healthiest life. From positive lifestyle habits to using CBD for focus, our in-depth blog has it all!
Learn more about natural nootropics by browsing our comprehensive health-related posts and shop our energizing kratom varieties for pure, ethically-grown kratom and the best kratom alternatives — all conveniently covered by our 30-day satisfaction guarantee and free US shipping on orders +$50!
Please note that none of the products sold on our website are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. The US FDA has not approved kratom to be sold for human consumption, sold for external use only.