Best Nootropics for Pre-Workout

Nootropics Used for Pre-Workout Routines

What is a Pre-Workout Routine?

The Bureau of Labor statistics suggest that almost 20 percent of America works out or is engaged in sports.  It is arguable to suggest that these people typically care about getting the best gains for their time in the gym, while running, or performing other physical exercise. Pre-work out is also arguably one of the best things an athlete or training person can do to get the most out of their workout. And many people who workout would agree that the use of supplements and nootropics is one of the best ways to get the most out of any workout routine.

What Are Nootropics?

Pre-WorkoutThe word “nootropic” comes from the Latin terms “noos” and and “tropein”, which mean “mind” and “bend,” respectively.  It was first coined in the 1960s by Romanian scientist Corneliu E. Giurgea. They are most literally defined as substances which can purportedly improve cognitive function, with little to no side effects. Although, Giurgea did setup a list of principles which help us better understand these guidelines.

Giurgea’s five criteria for a substance being a nootropic include:

  • It must aid or improve working memory or learning in some way
  • It should support brain function under hypoxic conditions
  • It should protect the brain from physical or chemical toxicity in some way
  • It must enhance natural cognitive function
  • It must be non-toxic to humans.

These criteria help determine if a substance is a nootropic or not. It does not mean that other substances (which are not technically nootropics) can provide nootropic-like effects. And we will cover some of these other substances in our list as well.

It is also important to note that nootropics come in three categories: prescribed drugs, synthetic substances, and dietary supplements. Nootropics (especially dietary supplements) have recently become extremely popular amongst Western culture. That all said, many nootropics can assist in pre-workout regimens.

What Nootropics Are Best for Pre-Workout?

While there are hundreds of nootropics which could help with pre-work out routines, some are definitely clear winners and should be paid more attention to.  This is a list of the best pre-workout nootropics available today.

Natural Caffeine Producing Nootropics

Effects: Energy, Increased Focus, Mental Endurance

There is something to be said about natural caffeine. While many brands offer synthetic caffeine in their supplements, there is nothing like authentic caffeine metabolized naturally by the body. This caffeine has time to be converted and does not provide crash or side effects in proper dosages. Instead, the body is able to produce caffeine at a natural rate, and it comes from an unsynthesized resource.  There are many plants which offer natural caffeine.

Some of the nootropics that produce natural caffeine include Green Tea Extract, Guarana, and Yerba Mate.  Piratall and Pirate Blast make great use of a premium Green Tea Extract.

Siberian Ginseng

Effects: Increased Energy, Vitality

GinsengSiberian Ginseng is a superior version of Ginseng. While it is very close in composition to its cousin, Panax Ginseng (which also provides some benefits to pre-workout), it is a bit stronger and considered more premium.  Some of the best pre-workout nootropic stacks, such as Piratall and Pirate Blast include Siberian Ginseng to help give a workout that extra push when it is needed the most. For this reason, Ginseng is almost always encouraged to be included in a pre-workout nootropic stack.

Nootropic Adaptogens

Effects: Mental and Physical Stress Relief

Being stress-free is one of the best ways to get the most out of a workout routine. Some of the strongest adaptogenic nootropics are an excellent contribution to any pre-workout nootropic stack. Adaptogenic nootropics offer some of the best, natural stress relief effects, and are a common ingredient in some of best pre-workout nootropic supplements. Being stress free during a workout can have an incredible effect on the potential gains. It allows the body and mind to focus all of its energy on the work out itself.

Yohimbe Extract

Effects: Increases Blood Flow, Increases Athletic Performance, Increases Endurance

Yohimbe is underrated for sure. Yohimbe is an evergreen tree native to the Central and Western African regions. It has been well-known for its stamina and energy boosting effects by several indigenous tribes throughout Africa for centuries.  It also made its way through Europe, giving the Europeans similar effects for almost a century now. The most potent part of the plant, its indole alkaloid, is extracted from the Yohimbe tree bark.

Yohimbe is a component in our Pirate Blast formula, and helps our customers increase their blood flow and overall output.  For stronger endurance and increased athletic performance, Yohimbe is one of the best ways to go!

Rhodiola Rosea

Effects: Reduces Stress, Combats Fatigue, Increased Mental Performance and Focus

Rhodiola Rhodiola Rosea is mostly known for its ability to reduce stress and improve anti-fatigue symptoms.  It also helps improve mental performance and overall focus. It has a deep history of being used for its medicinal properties throughout Russia and Scandinavia, although it has also made an impact throughout much of Europe.  A lot of people use it to improve work performance and to reduce weakness.

One of the most powerful nootropics in the Pirate Blast formula includes a premium Rhodiola extract.


Effects: Strength, Endurance

Creatine is actually much older than people think. It was first discovered in 1832 by a scientist by name of Michel Eugene Chevreul, who isolated it from a basified water-extraction of skeletal muscle.  It is named after the Greek word for meat, “kreas.” The reason it is so little known is because it only recently made its way into popularity within the Western culture. Nonetheless, it is a popular bodybuilding supplement, and helps a lot of people get more out of their workout.

Huperzine A

Effects: Increased Mental Focus, Increased Mental Endurance

Contrary to many people’s belief, Huperzine A is naturally occurring. It is a sesquiterpene alkaloid compound that is extracted form a firmoss known as Huperzia serrata. It has a long history of use as a medicinal compound throughout China and it is a staple in Chinese medicine. The alkaloid compound provides many nootropic benefits which are extensively valuable to the workout community.

Both Piratall and Pirate Blast include high-quality huperzine a and can contribute to the improved cognitive function necessary to get the most out of a work out.


Effects: Improved Mood, Increased Focus

L-Tyrosine has been around for almost 200 years, being first discovered by German chemist Justus von Liebig.  It is in the protein class, and is extracted from cheese.  It is also named after the Greek word “tyros” which literally means “cheese.”  It is a natural amino acid and very valuable to the workout community for its ability to improve focus and mental clarity during physical exertion.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane MushroomEffects: Reduced Anxiety, Improved Mood

Lion’s Mane Mushroom is one of the sacred mushrooms of China, being cultivated throughout much of Asia.  There, it was originally utilized for its medicinal properties, and it holds a powerful place in Chinese, traditional medicine.  Normally, it is added to teas, however, in Western culture, it is popularly used as a dietary supplement.  It can improve brain health, increase positive mood, and reduce anxiety.

Alpha GPC

Effects: Focus, Increased Energy

Alpha GPC, also known as L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine or choline alfoscerate, is a naturally occurring choline compound that is found in the human brain. It is considered a parasympathominetic acetylcholine precursor, which is why it is typically used to treat forms of dementia and helps with cognitive function.  Basically, it delivers choline to the brain, easily passing through the blood-brain barrier. Many also consider it a biosynthetic precursor of acetylcholine. These benefits help improve energy and focus, allowing the brain to get more out of any physical exercise.


Effects: Improves the Effects of Caffeine, Improves Mood, Reduces Anxiety

L-Theanine is most commonly used during workouts accompanying caffeine. This is because it improves the benefits of caffeine (which is discussed in itself towards the end of this article).  Alone, it can still improve mood and reduce anxiety, which makes it an excellent contribution to many workout formulae.

B Vitamins

Effects: Energy

B Vitamins are perhaps one of the most commonly used workout nootropics, and they are largely underrated.  Although their name is common and simple, they are able to massively bolster natural energy and give people a chance to get more out of their workout.  While they may be a part of many energy drinks and energy supplements, the true power of the B Vitamin (almost all of them) should not be underestimated.


Effects: Endurance, Energy

TaurineTaurine was first discovered and isolated from ox bile in 1827 by German scientists Friedrich Tiedemann and Leopold Gmelin.  It comes from the Greek work “Taupoc” which translates as “ox” or “bull.” It is known for its ability to improve critical functions within the heart and the brain. It also supports nerve growth. It can lower blood pressure, and even calm the nervous system, making a workout much easier. This is why it is very commonly found in many energy supplements and energy drinks.


Effects: Increased Blood Flow, Endurance

L-Citrulline is derrived from actual citrullus, and the name comes from the Latin word for “watermelon.”  It was first discovered and isolated from watermelon in 1914 by Japanese scientists Yotaro Koga and Ryo Odake.  It was further developed by Mitsunori Wada in 1930. It is known for its ability to produce greater nitric oxide levels in the body and helps arteries relax and function better.  Relaxed, better functioning arteries produce better blood flow and can help improve the quality (and gains) of a workout.

Beta Alanine

Effects: Endurance, Anti-Fatigue

Beta Alanine is considered a non-proteogenic amino acid. It is produced endogenously in the liver and normally acquired through the consumption of meats, especially poultry. It is very commonly found in athletic and workout supplements for its ability to improve athletic performance. It also increases exercise capacity, allowing an individual to get more out of their routine.

Caffeine [Honorable Mention]

Effects: Focus, Energy

CoffeeCaffeine has made the list despite not being a true nootropic.  This is because it is typically used with nootropics to amplify their effects. Some of the best nootropics out there still include natural forms of caffeine which intensive the effects of the other nootropics within the stack.  For example, Piratall (one of our products) uses the caffeine from Green Tea Extract (which actually is a nootropic) to amplify the effects of the other nootropics in the supplement.

Final Words on Pre-Workout Nootropics

SportyIn the end, there are many nootropics which work great for pre-work out regimens.  Using nootropics to bolster your workout gains has never been more realistic than it is today. This is because there are a variety of nootropics which can directly impact one’s workout routine and bolster the overall benefits. Our products are designed to help with all sorts of things, including the creation of energy and mental focus. Piratall is a cognitive enhancer, which can help one push through their workout, while remaining focused. Pirate Blast is a stamina and energy booster, which can be highly beneficial when it comes to increasing blood flow and getting an extra drive while working out. Some people, athletes, body builders, and people who work out, even use the two supplements together for a greater, more significant boost.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been approved by the FDA. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is meant for educational purposes only and should be considered explanatory of the research the author has conducted.


Is Caffeine a Nootropic?

Is Caffeine Considered a Nootropic?

What is Caffeine?

CoffeeCaffeine is defined as a substance that works in the body as a central nervous system stimulant. It is a part of the methylxanthine class and it is one of the most popular drugs on the face of the planet. It alters mood, behavior, mental awareness, and even thinking.  The way it works is by blocking the action of adenosine on its receptors; subsequently, this prevents the body from becoming drowsy.  Caffeine is in a lot of supplements, especially when it comes to smart drugs and smart pills.  It can be found in energy drinks, teas, sodas, pills, and seemingly hundreds of other products and supplements.  It is a common ingredient in many nootropic stacks. Especially nootropic stacks which focus on memory, cognitive function, energy, or overall mental acuity.

That said, to determine if caffeine is a nootropic, we must first start by identifying the properties of a nootropic, and whether caffeine fits the bill!

What is a Nootropic?

In modern times, the word “nootropic” has become synonymous with the term “smart drug.” Nootropics have become very popular lately, especially among Western culture.  Nootropics can be classified in three categories including prescription drugs, synthetic substances, and dietary supplements.

The actual term “nootropic” was first coined in 1960s from the latin terms “noos” and “tropein” (which mean mind and bend, respectively) by the Romanian scientist Corneliu E. Giurgea. Nootropics are typically defined as substances which purportedly improve cognitive function with little to no side effects. These cognitive function facets include executive function, attention span, memory, creativity, energy, and motivation. In short, these drugs or supplements typically aim to enhance the function of the mind and body.

Giurgea’s five criteria for a substance being a nootropic include:

  • It must aid or improve working memory or learning in some way
  • It should support brain function under hypoxic conditions
  • It should protect the brain from physical or chemical toxicity in some way
  • It must enhance natural cognitive function
  • It must be non-toxic to humans.

These criteria help determine if a substance is a nootropic or not, and reconfirm that caffeine is not a nootropic for multiple reasons; however, this does not mean that caffeine cannot provide nootropic effects.

Is Caffeine a Nootropic?

In short: Not exactly, caffeine is not considered a nootropic. But there are definitely some nootropic effects which caffeine provides.  Thus, there are also different values in the types of caffeine we consume, and some caffeine is going to be better for the body and offer better effects than others. To clarify: not all types of caffeine are made equal. And those types which are natural, are additionally unequal, as they contain varying amounts (and strengths) of caffeine.

Important note: While caffeine may offer some nootropic benefits, no studies have proven that caffeine can improve memory directly by itself.  Additionally, no studies exist which can prove caffeine offers any neuroprotective advantages.

How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

Coffee at WorkWith that all said, the average person consumes between 50 and 90 mg of caffeine per day. This is not hard to accomplish considering the average cup of coffee contains about 70 to 130 mg of caffeine. Ironically, most people have their coffee in the morning, despite the fact it would be arguably more beneficial in the late morning or early afternoon.  This is because it can battle the effects of the adenosine building up in the system throughout the day (something we will get into later in this article), but is still early enough to allow the effects of caffeine to wear off before bedtime.  Remember, caffeine can last up to twelve hours in the system!

But before we go any further, let’s define the term nootropic, and explain a bit more about what it means for a substance to be a nootropic.

Nootropic Effects of Caffeine

The effects of caffeine will range from person to person, including both intensity and duration.  Generally, caffeine will offer increased mental alertness, physical energy, and enhanced memory and cognitive function.

Caffeine is an easily absorbable nootropic in the body.  Normally, the effects of caffeine are felt between 10 and 30 minutes of ingestion.  It can be faster when caffeine is consumed as a supplement or a nootropic stack.

Some of the negative effects of too much caffeine (especially synthetic caffeine) can include increased breathing, increased heartrate, headaches, and even a heavy crash. This is why it is important to consume proper doses of healthy caffeine only.

How Caffeine Actually Works in the Body

Working In BodyAs previously mentioned, caffeine works by inhibiting the process normally allowed through adenosine.  It literally binds to the adenosine receptors in its place, ensuring that the cell maintains its normal productivity and cannot slow down.  It even speeds up some of the processes produced by these receptors. Basically, caffeine is an adenosine receptor antagonist.

Adenosine itself is a neurotransmitter that creates a natural balance and serenity in the brain, encouraging relaxation and promoting drowsiness. As the day moves forward, more and more adenosine builds up, which explains why people generally become more tired later in the day. Essentially, adenosine works like a messenger in the brain, binding to nerve cell receptors and making the brain feel tired.

Caffeine has been known to improve mood by encouraging the production of dopamine in the system. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter as well and is responsible for mood. It also influences behavior.

It is also noteworthy that caffeine can constrict blood vessels in the brain, which is why caffeine often solves a headache rather quickly. Still, too much caffeine can also promote a headache, thus it should always be consumed in responsible, healthy doses.  Unfortunately, too much caffeine can also cause muscle tension, which can become unpleasant when experienced from heavier doses of caffeine.

Larger doses of caffeine typically create an effect known as the “jitters,” which may last a long while depending upon the amount of the overdose. Jitters can be accompanied by headache, shakiness, and even nausea.

Difference Between Synthetic Caffeine and Natural Caffeine

There are two primary forms of caffeine: synthetic caffeine and natural caffeine. Synthetic caffeine is typically found in energy drinks, sodas, and a variety of supplements (including many smart drugs on the market).  Natural caffeine is metabolized from natural herbs and plants and is not created by man.  This caffeine is arguably far better for the body, as it was intended to be metabolized naturally from the consumption of the plants it is found within.

To summarize: allowing natural caffeine to metabolize in the body via supplement or food gives the body a chance to work it into the system in a non-aggressive, purer fashion, whereas synthetic caffeine often provides too much of a boost all at once.

List of Plants Containing Caffeine

Many examples of plants that contain caffeine could be cited, but some of the strongest include green tea (and all tea), guarana, the coffee plant, cola tree, cacao tree, and yerba mate. The best nootropic supplements will make use of the natural caffeine that is metabolized from these plants. For example, Piratall utilizes a potent green tea extract that gives the body the energy boost and focus it needs, without any of the negative side effects of synthetic caffeine, including crash.

Should All Nootropic Stacks Include Caffeine?

Coffee PlantNot all nootropic stacks require caffeine to be effective. Some nootropic stacks only focus on the production of memory for example, and there are plenty of nootropic plants which offer memory-enhancing effects without the use of caffeine. But for those stronger, cognitive enhancers, some form of caffeine is almost always included. This is because caffeine can be an excellent aid to the effects other nootropics provide.

That all said, there is definitely a use for caffeine within nootropic stacks and supplements, and it can go a long way in contributing to the boost to mental acuity, memory, and energy that is sought after by taking these supplements. If the goal of the supplement has anything to do with cognitive enhancement, it is almost always suggestable that there is some source of caffeine within the supplement.

Final Words on Caffeine as a Nootropic

All-in-all, caffeine is most certainly not a nootropic; however, it possesses many nootropic properties, and it offers many nootropic effects. It is included in many nootropic stacks for these reasons. But with that said, there is also most certainly a difference between synthetic caffeine and natural caffeine, and natural caffeine is the clear winner. It provides a lot of the stimulating, brain-enhancing effects without the side effects and crash.  This is why our products only contain natural sources of caffeine, allowing the body to retrieve the nootropic benefits without any negative effects.  Natural caffeine is by far a very valuable constituent of successful nootropic stacks, especially smart pills like Piratall.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been approved by the FDA. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is meant for educational purposes only and should be considered explanatory of the research the author has conducted.

What Is Nootropic Cycling?

Does Nootropics Cycling Work?

Nootropic Cycling: Defined

NootropicsNootropic cycling should be defined as the modification of dosage plans for a nootropic supplement in order to reduce the tolerance buildup of said supplement, thereby encouraging the maximum effects of the supplement more regularly. A natural development of tolerance is a normal process, and a good thing in the sense that most things in life (substances especially) require some level of getting used to.  However, when it comes to a supplement that an individual relies upon in order to achieve certain effects, it can be a real downer when tolerance becomes too high.  This is true for nootropics as much as any other supplement.

Nootropics are often considered some of the most powerful brain-enhancing supplements, and they work by improving the way the body and mind function.  Therefore, it is important to recognize when they are losing their strength and to understand how to modify dosing strategies to improve the situation.

What is Tolerance and Why Does It Happen?

Tolerance buildup is a typical physiological condition implemented by the body as it gets used to the effects of a supplement. Understanding how the phenomena occurs will best help an individual avoid the tolerance trap. Developing a tolerance after regularly taking a supplement or substance means the body is less likely to respond to them with the same effectiveness, at least in terms of what can be experienced and felt. While the body is always seeking a level of homeostasis, or self-regulated processing to adhere to a stable state and condition, substances can greatly affect this state and alter its ability to remain or attain its most stable state.

SlothThe reason a substance or supplement is so much more effective from the start is largely due to the concept of physiological surprise.  In another sense, it is the first time the body is being acquainted with a substance, and it will metabolize it directly with no regard to homeostasis.  The more the body consumes the substance, the more it develops biological adaptations and measures to moderate how the substance is metabolized. This can include critical body mechanisms such as blood pressure, glucose and fluid levels, heart rate, body temperature, and more.

One of the prime methodologies the body has naturally produced to alter the way it metabolizes a nootropic, is its ability to constrict or increase the production of neurotransmitters.  In terms of tolerance, the body will always attempt to “neutralize” a substance or supplement, even a nootropic, by modifying its natural neurotransmitter production to maintain homeostasis.

In the simplest of senses, the more a substance is consumed, the more the body gets used to it, and prevents its full effects from being experienced.

In terms of nootropics, most supplements will still do their job, even if tolerance is developed.  Tolerance in this case usually just means the effects are felt less.  This is why nootropic cycling is so important. That said, it is still important to better understand nootropic tolerance and how it works.

Can You Build Tolerance to Nootropics?

Nootropics, like any other substance or supplement, are prone to tolerance buildup over time. As the body gets used to the nootropic, it will develop a natural tolerance. This does not mean that the nootropic is rendered worthless, as much of its value is still present and worthwhile. In most cases, it only means that the effects of the nootropic will be physically felt or noticed less.  It is worth mentioning that all nootropics will have different tolerance buildups, and that each buildup will be different from body to body.  Meaning, each person will experience varying levels of nootropic tolerance. Fortunately, it is possible to circumvent the development of tolerance, with a good nootropic cycling plan.

How to Prevent Nootropics Tolerance

There are some steps which can be implemented to prevent nootropic tolerance from building up in the system, namely, taking nootropics in cycles, rather than continuously. In other words, a good nootropic cycling plan can prevent nootropic tolerance buildup in the system.  An effective nootropic cycling regimen will be different from individual to individual. And no individual will experience the same effects from any one nootropic, or from nootropic cycling. For example, one person may notice their huperzine a dosage is becoming less and less effective after a few months, while another person may notice this negative development at a slower pace.  These two individuals will similarly have different, effective nootropic cycling regimens.

Understanding your body and how it metabolizes nootropics is one of the best ways to develop an effective nootropic cycling plan. Understanding more about the nootropics which are included in a particular stack can help an individual better comprehend how the nootropics will metabolize, as well as better analyze the effects the individual is experiencing from each nootropic.

While tolerance buildup is typically associated with addiction, it is important to note that most nootropics will not possess addiction-inducing values and are largely free of addiction-oriented properties. Some nootropics, however, such as caffeine, will possess addiction properties, and should be watched more carefully. For this reason, Pirate Botanicals uses only caffeine-free formulae.

How to Cycle Nootropics

Depending upon the nootropic, the cycling plan may vary greatly. This process relies heavily upon trial and error, in order to achieve an effective regimen.  Even if a nootropic supplement states it should be taken every day, sometimes, it is wise to take a few days off to reduce tolerance and maintain satisfactory effects.  The mechanisms within the body which metabolize the nootropic substances will be able to recalibrate and their ability to properly incorporate the nootropic to its fullest capacity will be reinvigorated.

RestIt is worth noting that natural nootropics (as opposed to synthesized nootropics) are some of the lowest tolerance-building nootropics available. Nootropics that are synthesized, such as synthetic caffeine, often require the most cycling, even being suggested for use only 2-4 times per week. Other nootropics which require longer durations in between use include adrafinil, Phenibut, sulbutiamine, racetams, and noopept. Because nootropics such as guarana and green tea extract metabolize as a natural form of caffeine, they can be used more often.

Pirate Botanicals supplements are comprised of some of the strongest functioning nootropics available, and these ingredients require less cycling than most nootropics. This is partly because Pirate Botanicals products are 100 percent natural ingredients only. Still, it is wise to take a few days off from time to time to allow the body to “reset,” and ultimately giving the body a chance to re-experience the same, powerful nootropic effects that are felt from the start.  Generally, Pirate Botanicals will suggest a cycle of 30 days on the supplement and 3 days off the supplement.

Final Words on Nootropics Cycling

Ultimately, understanding nootropic tolerance and tolerance in general can help one prevent the buildup of tolerance in their system. And in summary, the more a supplement is consumed the more the body will acclimate to the supplement’s effects, and the less the effects will be felt and experienced. Fine tuning a nootropic cycling plan will help individuals who regularly consume nootropics maintain the potency of the effects the nootropics offer. Creating or finding the best nootropic stacks can help eliminate the necessity to cycle as often, giving users the opportunity to make better use of the nootropic ingredients, more often.

WeeklyA very popular strategy for Pirate Botanicals supplements is cycling 4-5 weeks on the supplement, followed by 3-4 days off the supplement. This schedule provides the body an opportunity to reset the effects of our supplements and maximizes the overall effects, overtime. The ingredients in Piratall are all-natural and require far less cycling than many other nootropics, making the stack just as valuable in the long run as the short run.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been approved by the FDA. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is meant for educational purposes only and should be considered explanatory of the research the author has conducted.

Best Adaptogenic Nootropics

Best Nootropic Adaptogens

What Are Adaptogens?

Protecting your mental state of being is an extremely important facet of being a balanced human being. People do all sorts of things to keep themselves happy, healthy, and focused throughout their day.  And while there are many mindful practices, yoga techniques, and meditation skills which can help improve the mental state, there are also supplements which can help improve mind wellness.All Natural

Adaptogens are nature’s organic way to improve mental wellbeing. An adaptogen can be defined as an herbal substance that helps the mind and body adapt to and cope with stress. They are best explained as having the ability to create a normalizing effect on the natural processes of the body, helping the body achieve and maintain a stress-free homeostasis. In short, adaptogenic substances are a staple in holistic healing and help the body stabilize physiological processes.

Although adaptogens have been around for a long time, it is arguable to say their true start of being recognized as stress-relieving and health and balance promoting properties began around eight thousand years ago with Ashwagandha.  For this reason, it could be argued that humans have successfully been using adaptogens for around two thousand years. The term “adaptogen” itself was first coined in the 1940s by a sophisticated Russian scientist by the name of Dr. Nicolai V. Lazarev.  This man spent a lot of his career studying stress effects within the body, the body’s resistance to said effects, and how certain holistic approaches could diminish the body’s stress response. The term “adaptogen” finds its roots in the Latin phrase “adaptare,” which loosely translates to “to fit and adjust.” The term quickly became associated with substances and herbs which improve the body’s ability to resist stress.

Are There Adaptogenic Nootropics?

Nootropics are substances (natural or synthetic) which help improve performance within the mind or body. And yes, there is such a thing as an adaptogenic nootropic. In fact, perhaps some of the strongest supplements for improving mental well-being are nootropics adaptogens. This is because nootropics already possess the innate ability to improve the body’s performance. Additionally, by definition, adaptogens are natural, which means a nootropic adaptogen is arguably most likely to be accepted by the body and have the greatest impact over the body’s ability to achieve balance, and reduce stress, with as little opportunity for being rejected in terms of effects as possible. All of this also means that while many adaptogens can likely be classified as nootropics, not all nootropics will be classified as adaptogens.

Besides the fact that nootropics are already well-known for their ability to impact the mind, adaptogenic nootropics ultimately improve the body’s ability to fight stress, anxiety, and fatigue.  They will also help improve the body’s overall general wellbeing.

What Are the Best Adaptogenic Nootropics?

While there are literally hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of qualifying nootropics when it comes to adaptogenic properties, some are clearly more responsive and effective than others.

Hawthorn (Crataegus)

Hawthorn is an incredible herb, and it is one of the very few (known) Western herbs with adaptogenic properties.  And its adaptogenic effects are powerful, being able to assist in realigning the body, creating balance and ridding the mind of stresses.  It is natural, generally considered safe for consumption, and found in some of the most potent adaptogenic nootropic stacks.

Hawthorn remains one of the oldest medicinal herbs known to man, getting its start in Ancient Greece, as well as with the Native American population. Both cultures recognized the herb’s ability to help with the heart.  Also known as Crataegus extract, the plant was used as well throughout the Middle Ages of Europe. Even in medieval Europe, it was originally used to combat heart issues.

Hawthorn berry extract is one of the staples in terms of adaptogenic nootropics included in the Piratall formula.

Ginseng (Panax Ginseng and Eleutherococcus senticosus)

GinsengGinseng is a renowned herb in terms of offering adaptogenic effects.  It helps support living organisms in a variety of ways, and in terms of being an adaptogen, helps the body achieve optimal homeostasis.  It’s adaptogenic properties are thought to come from its ability to affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This results in elevated plasma corticotropin and corticosteroid levels, and ultimately, reduced stress.

The origin of Ginseng can be found in historical the Shangdang district of China during the first century B.C..  The Han dynasty era quickly recognized its powerful medicinal properties. In ancient times, it was used as an anti-aging, energy-bolstering, and aphrodisiac tonic, however, its antioxidant properties were also well-known.  It would be used throughout ancient times to treat cardiovascular, kidney, and reproductive issues.

Siberian Ginseng is often considered one of the strongest strains of ginseng, and it is also included in the Piratall adaptogenic formula.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is a powerful adaptogenic plant which develops in the cold, mountainous regions throughout Asia and Europe. It is very commonly found within the Artic wild regions of these areas. Many studies have indicated Rhodiola’s important properties contributing to overall general mental and physical wellness.  It is typically turned to for its ability to reduce stress and fatigue, as well as its ability to increase mental and physical performance.

Rhodiola made its first, recorded historical appearance in 1725.  It was extremely popular amongst the Vikings and was used to enhance and bolster mental and physical endurance. It also has a deep history of use throughout Russia and Scandinavia.

Rhodiola Rosea is a potent constituent of the Pirate Blast formula, offering an array of adaptogenic effects that help make this nootropic stack so great.

L-Theanine (extracted from Camellia sinensis and other plants)

L-Theanine is a potent adaptogen and classified as an amino acid found in tea leaves. It is known for its ability to aid the body’s healthy stress response.  It works by reducing cortisol, a stress hormone naturally produced by the body during anxiety.  It also increases brain alpha wave activity.

Being a relatively newer nootropic, L-Theanine was first discovered in 1949 as a powerful constituent within green tea.  It would be used heavily throughout Japanese culture, and can be found in nearly all types of tea and a variety of fungi.  A more powerful way to utilize L-Theanine through extraction techniques would quickly be unveiled in 1950 working the extraction from gyokuro leaves.

L-Theanine is one of the most effective proponents of the Pirate Chill formula, offering the supplement the opportunity to truly help reduce stress in the mind and body.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha Ashwagandha is a powerful nootropic adaptogen which possesses constituents that may help reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, improve the immune system, and (most relevantly) reduce stress.  The herb is well-known for its ability to create a calming effect in the brain. It has been traditionally used to alter the condition of anxiety and unnecessary stress, helping the body resist mental and physical stress levels.

Ashwagandha is also known as “Indian Winter Cherry” or “Indian Ginseng,” and is an evergreen shrub found throughout India, some parts of Africa, and some parts of the Middle East. Ashwagandha got its start around 6,000 years B.C., being first mentioned in Ayurvedic medicine throughout Ancient India. It has deep-rooted history of being used throughout all of Ancient Indian medicine. The culture used the herb to improve overall health, rejuvenate the system, and improve lifespan.

Bacopa Monnieri

Many reports exist which have outlined Bacopa Monnieri to have potent adaptogenic effects in terms of reducing chronic stress. It is well-known for its ability to reduce and fight anxiety as well as general stress.  Like many other adaptogens, it works by increasing the body’s natural resistance to stress. In addition to these properties, it helps bolster overall mental acuity, which is another reason it is very commonly found in nootropic stacks.

Bacopa Monnieri is a very popular Ayurvedic medicinal herb, having a long history of use throughout traditional Indian healing practices. It has a long history of use dating back as far as the 6th century A.D., and can be found discussed throughout many Sanskrit books including Caraka Samhita, Sushrita Samhita, and Astanga Hridaya. It is a creeping herb and found native in wetland environments throughout Eastern India, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and even the Americas.


Choline, also known as lecithin supplementation, is purported to have strong antistress and adaptogenic functions.  It is an essential nutrient for both humans and many animals, and forms as a cation, creating various salts. It is important to maintain proper Choline levels in order to be in good health.

Choline was first described (and discovered) by a scientist by name Theodore Gobley, while he was working in Paris.  He named the substance after the Greek word “lekithos,” which translates as “egg yolk.” In 1862, a later scientist, Adolph Strecker, discovered that heated bile from lecithin produced the nitrogenous chemical known as Choline.

Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

Gotu Kola is a mild adaptogen in terms of brain and nervous system function.  However, although it is only considered a mild adaptogen, it has long been used for its other medicinal properties for thousands of years.  It is commonly used throughout India for its powerful anti-aging properties, especially when it comes to the skin.

Gotu Kola has a lot of history throughout Ancient India and is still used to this day in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.  Supporters of the herb claim it has powerful abilities to boost brainpower, promote better liver and kidney function, and heal a variety of skin conditions. The first descript mention of Gotu Kola is found in the Chinese book entitled Shennong Herbal, which dates back to as early as 200 B.C..  This book describes the herb as the “Fountain of Life.”

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon BalmLemon Balm has been used as an adaptogen for a long time.  It is most frequently used in an herbal tea form.  It is known to reduce anxiety, promote calmness, and induce a feeling of serenity.  It can help with nervous exhaustion and restlessness, while also offering an aromatic fragrance. Lemon Balm is also used to promote a pleasant mood, which comes from its ability to offer the body rosmarinic acid effects.

Lemon Balm originates in North Africa and the Middle East, although it has also been cultivated throughout Southern Europe.  It is a perennial herbaceous plant and belongs to the mint family.  The leaves themselves are easily detectable by their natural lemon scent. And the small white flowers which come completely full of nectar make the plant easy to spot. In fact, the herb’s genus is named after the Greek word for “honey bee.”

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba possess powerful adaptogenic properties, helping the body rid itself of natural stresses.  It works by helping the body handle stressors. It also helps the body counteract the effects of high-stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. Additionally, it can help promote cognitive function, memory, and mental acuity.

Ginkgo Biloba is considered one of the more “ancient herbs” on this list. It is very commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is one of the oldest living tree species across the globe and dates back as far as the time of the dinosaurs, perhaps even older.  This is why the tree has earned the nickname “living fossil.” There is even a Ginkgo tree in China which is reportedly more than 3,500 years old. Still, it only became popular and well-known throughout Western cultures in the late 1600s after a German botanist named Engelbert Kaempfer found the tree growing in a Japanese temple’s garden.

Astragalus (Astragalus propinquus)

Astragalus is very rarely used alone, however, seems to work wonders when used in combination with other herbs to protect the body against disease and illness.  It is a potent adaptogen, helping the body rid itself of naturally formed stress.  It is also well-known for its use to promote a healthier lifestyle and provides a substantial boost to stamina and endurance. It can help the body fight physical, mental, and even emotional stress, while also containing a number of antioxidant effects.

Astragalus is native to the regions of China, North Korea, and Mongolia.  It has a lot of history being used throughout many Asian cultures and is known as the “Yellow Leader” (or “Huang Qi”).  The plant is easily identifiable by the yellow color of its inner root. While it was only first described in Western literature in 1753 by a scientist known as Carl Linnaeus, it has been recorded in Chinese medical books which date as old as 200 A.D. for its potent therapeutic effects.

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

Lion’s Mane Mushroom is an adaptogen that helps the body fight depression, anxiety, and age-related dementia. It is a member of the many mushrooms which have powerful adaptogenic properties and can greatly help the body maintain balance and reduce negative stressors. It has been suggested that it promotes better daily cycles of sleeping and waking, as well as supporting healthy circadian rhythms and promoting healthy adrenal function.  In addition, it can help promote healthy brain function.

While Lion’s Mane is largely cultivated throughout China and Asia in general, it has been found growing in other, surrounding regions as well.  It has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is typically used in tea preparations.  Also known as “Hou Tou Gu,” the mushroom has been historically consumed to improve brain function, gut health, and to purportedly fight off some cancers. Many Asian monk cultures have been known to utilize powdered Lion’s Mane to improve meditation.

Reishi (Ganoderma lingzhi)

Reishi Reishi is another adaptogenic mushroom that helps support the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis. It also helps promote healthy functioning of the adrenal glands. It can boost immune system function and has a molecular structure similar to steroid hormones. Additionally, it is known to increase the stimulation and production of white blood cells.

Reishi is first noted as being used in traditional Chinese medicine more than two thousand years ago throughout the Han dynasty.  It is also known as “Lingzhi,” which translates to “mushroom of immortality.” Some other common nicknames include “divine mushroom” and “magic fungus.”  Traditionally, it is used to fight viral and bacterial infections, improve cardiovascular function, reduce high cholesterol and blood pressure, as an anti-aging nootropic, and to improve overall well-being.

Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)

The Schisandra berry produces two main constituents which offer powerful adaptogenic properties. It is able to improve the body’s ability to resist and reduce anxiety. It is a stimulating adaptogen, helping the body promote balance and fight mental, physical, and emotional stress. Traditional medicinal use of the herb suggests it is able to protect against nervous system stress, and even holds anti-inflammatory properties.

Schisandra is a vine plant found native to the forests of China and Russia.  It is also found throughout Korea and Japan.  It is easily recognizable by its magnolia berry fruit, and is commonly called “Five Flavor Fruit.” It has been used for centuries throughout traditional Chinese Medicine and is thought to promote overall “chi,” including energy, virality, and youth.

Using Adaptogenic Nootropics in Your Stack

When discussing the topic of nootropics for the mind, adaptogens are almost always a smart constituent of an effective nootropic stack. They can help massively reduce cortisol levels, stress, and overall anxiety.  They help the body maintain homeostasis and produce a more balanced output of natural chemicals.  Adaptogens give other nootropics a better opportunity to function and secure their potential effects. With all the history supporting the use of adaptogenic nootropics within a healthy cocktail of herbal remedies, it is almost impossible to ignore their value in holistic herbal healing.

Final Words on Nootropic Adaptogens

Healthy PeopleIn a world where information is widely available and so much is known about such a large variety of substances, it is reasonable to assume some of the best nootropic stacks in the world have been developed.  These stacks will almost always include a proper, natural, adaptogenic nootropic. Without a healthy dose of adaptogens, it is arguable the body never has a chance to extract the most out of other nootropics within a stack. For this reason, it is reasonably encouraged that any nootropic stack or supplement include a healthy dose of adaptogens to improve overall nootropic effects.

Our products, especially Piratall, are designed to include appropriate adaptogens which improve the nootropic stack significantly.  After all, a large part of producing a balanced, functioning mind, is ensuring the mind is clear of stress and anxieties. Our nootropic adaptogenic formula is built using natural supplements only, and helps the body achieve and maintain homeostasis.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been approved by the FDA. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is meant for educational purposes only and should be considered explanatory of the research the author has conducted.