Best Nootropics for Memory and Memory Recall

Nootropic Supplements Used for Memory

As humans age, so does their fluid intelligence (Kievit et al., 2018).  Memory becomes slower, sluggish, and more difficult to access.  It can be hard to both remember things and recall those memories.  Fortunately, there are natural, holistic ways to better store and retrieve memory. There are many nootropic supplements known to produce better cognitive function and improved memory (Chevallier, 2016). And adding one or more nootropics for memory and cognitive function is ideal for most nootropic stacks.

Top 12 Nootropic Supplements for Memory

These are the best nootropics for any stacks focused on cognitive support, memory, and memory recall.

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa is one of the most effective nootropics for cognitive benefits, including memory (Chevallier, 2016).  It also helps assist with executive function, concentration, learning, and overall cognitive function.  It has been proven to reduce actual learning time (2016).  Bacopa has a place in Ayurvedic medicine, being directly associated with the brain and bolstering mental acuity (Stough et al., 2001). Traditional Indian holistic healing is well-known for its insanely potent memory-boosting ability (Walker & Brown, 1998).  It has also been proven to improve the memory retrieval process (Stough, 2011).


Citicoline is proven to offer improved brain metabolism by manipulating numerous neurotransmitters (Secades & Lorenzo, 2006).  It has been shown through much empirical research to improve multiple cognitive rating scales.  Citicoline is also able to produce many neuroprotective effects, benefiting neuroendocrine cells. These cells are critical in sending and receiving information with the nervous system (2006). Citicoline can even reduce the progression of some neurodegenerative conditions and cognitive impairments (Grieb, 2014). Many studies have revealed Citicoline’s CDP potential to improve density of dopamine receptors (Gimenez et al., 1991) and ultimately improve learning and memory performance (Secades & Lorenzo, 2006). One study even suggested that the regular use of Citicoline can be used to directly reduce memory loss suffered from aging (Nakazaki et al., 2020).

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginko Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba has thousands of years of history of improving memory, concentration, and brain focus (Chevallier, 2016).  A lot of the herb’s memory-boosting abilities are attributed to its benefits to cerebral blood flow and blood circulation.  It has been proven that improving cerebral circulation provides a natural improvement to memory and concentration (2016). There are studies which outline the herb’s ability to improve short-term and long-term memory (Balch, 2010). These same studies even reveal the herb’s ability to improve the peripheral circulation system, which also enhances natural brain function (2010).

Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola may be one of the more versatile nootropics on this list, however, it most certainly retains its value in terms of a cognitive and memory enhancer. It is very frequently used throughout Eastern cultures for its ability to strengthen memory and cognitive function (Chevallier, 2016). Gotu Kola’s use as a cognitive enhancer and memory booster dates back thousands of years (Gohil et al., 2010). It has even been suggested as a way to “maximize one’s learning potential and memory” (Orr, 2014). Some studies have proven Gotu Kola’s ability to slow natural memory loss often suffered in elderly years (Walker & Brown, 1998). Gotu Kola is commonly used in Asian and Indian cultures for its ability to improve concentration, mostly thanks to its adaptogenic properties, concentration boost, and increase to attention span, alertness, and focus (Farhana et al., 2016).

Huperzine A

Huperzine A comes from a moss regularly hailed by chinese medicine for its abiltiy to improve cognitive function (Zangara, 2003). In fact, it has been used for thousands of years throughout traditional Chinese medicine for its memory-boosting capabilities (Walker & Brown, 1998). Even to this day it is used in Chinese culture for its memory-boosting and mental-capacity increasing properties (1998). Mostly these properties come from the herb’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier (Zangara, 2003). This is the same reason the herb is able to produce many neuroprotective properties (2003). Huperzine A has proven its value to many patient’s suffering neurodegenerative disorders, espeically Alzheimer’s disease (Beshara et al., 2019). There are many recent studies which outline Huperzine A as an effective herb for combating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and efficiently promoting boosts to overall memory (2019).

Lion’s Mane Mushroom


Lion’s Mane Mushroom is one of the most commonly mentioned nootropics when it comes to cognitive enhancement and memory. Recent studies have backed its notoriety as a memory booster, proving the herb can enhance cognitive function and improve overall mild cognitive impairment (Beshara et al., 2019). Lion’s Mane has most certainly asserted its strong influence on a variety of mental attributes including concentration, attention-span, and memory (Nagano et al., 2010). The mushroom has significantly proven its ability to boost overall cognitive function scores, including memory (Mori et al., 2009). This increase in cognitive ability and memory appears to increase with regular, daily use (2009). A lot of studies seem to indicate that the herb’s neuroprotective and antioxidant properties contribute heavily to its memory enhancing abilities (Kushari et al., 2019).

Longvida Curcumin

Tumeric (Longvide curcumin) is native to Asia and India and is commonly used as a nootropic for many purposes (Chevallier, 2016).  There have been a number of studies which have revealed Curcumin to have a significant ability to increase memory in many study participants (Cox et al., 2015).  These same studies also outline the herb’s ability to improve overall cognitive function.  Specifically, the study proved a higher attention span, and working memory performance (2015). There are many other studies which prove the herb offers powerful boosts to working memory, with these benefits stemming from its anti-amyloid brain effects (Small et al., 2018).  These study results show decreased plaque accumulation in the brain regions which are known to modulate memory (2018).


L-Theanine is derrived from Camellia sinensis (aka herbal tea), and it is a part of the second highest beverage consumed on the planet (Twilley & Lall, 2018). While L-Theanine is well-known for its general boosts to cognitive performance, there are many modern studies which show the nootropic has the potential to improve concentration and learning ability (Vuong et al., 2011). Part of the nootropic’s improvement to memory and cognitive ability come from its ability to increase cerebral blood flow, especially when it is combined with caffeine (Dodd et al., 2015). These contributions to brain health are the reported reasons for the nootropic’s cognitive benefits (2015). L-Theanine supplies the brain with increased subjective alertness, which also benefits cognitive function (Giesbrecht et al., 2010).  This is one of the biggest reasons it improves performance of cognitive demanding tasks, especially surrounding memory (2010).


Chemical Makeup

L-Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid naturally manufactured by the body from the amino acid phenylalanine (Bloemendaal et al., 2018).  It is most commonly used to create proteins (Slominski et al., 2012). One of its monstrous, proven effects on the brain is its ability to improve cognitive performance in stressful situations (Young, 2007). Additionally, there are studies which back its ability to improve working memory and overall mental processing skills (Colzato et al., 2013).  For these reasons, the nootropic is typically used to replenish cognitive resources as needed. With so many modern studies proving the herb is able to bolster cognitive function (McTavish et al., 2005), it is a very wise addition to almost any nootropic stacks.

Panax Ginseng

Panax Ginseng is one of most well-known and used nootropic around the world for improving cognitive performance (Beshara, 2019).  There are a lot of clinical trials which prove the herb to offer significant benefits to cognitive function and working memory. For these reasons it is even used by Alzheimer’s patients and those suffering from dementia (2019). Ginseng has also been shown in a number of modern studies to improve overall mental activity, attention-span, alertness, and energy (Balch, 2010).

Poria Mushroom

Poria Mushroom has been used for more than two thousand years in traditional Chinese medicine (Li et al., 2019). It has been hailed a significant memory booster by many Eastern cultures (Lin et al., 2012).  Most of its cognitive benefits purportedly come from its ability to increase cerebral blood flow (Sun et al., 2021).  Its powerful memory-boosting properties make it an excellent treatment for dementia and memory repair (Lin et al., 2012). For these reasons, Poria Mushroom is commonly used to help treat a variety of neurogenetic disorders (2012).  It is also heavily associated with enhanced learning ability and associated memory recall (Wu et al., 2020).

Rhodiola Crenulate

Rhodiola Crenulata is also knonw as the “Golden Root” in many Eastern cultures (Orr, 2014). The herb itself survives in some of the most extreme environments and can be harder to come by. It offers one of the most powerful nootropic aids to cognitive ability, releasing mental tension and honing mental acuity (2014). It can also improve circulation to the brain and is well-known to act as a precursor for neurotransmitters used in cognitive function (Tabassum et al., 2012).  For these reasons, it is one of the most common nootropics selected for career-focused and entrepreneur nootropic stacks (2012). Sometimes, it is combined with Ginkgo Biloba to improve mental endurance (Zhang et al., 2009, Al-Kuraishy, 2015).

Final Words on Nootropic Supplements for Memory

All-in-all, there are many nootropics which offer natural boosts to memory and cognitive support.  The nootropics on this list are some of the most commonly used for memory storage and memory recall. They have some of the greatest historic, traditional use, and are easy to add to almost any nootropic stack. Some people use more than one memory nootropic, adding multiple selections to their nootropic stack to achieve an even greater memory effect.

A Note From NooFiles

This article is intended to be used for information only.  We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.


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Cox, K., Pipingas, A., and Scholey, A. (2015). Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population. J Psychopharmacol. Vol. 29(5). Pp. 642-51. DOI: 10.1177/0269881114552744

Dodd, F., Kennedy, D., Riby, L., and Haskell-Ramsay, C. (2015). A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood. Psychopharmacology (Berl). Vol. 232(14). Pp. 2563-76. DOI: 10.1007/s00213-015-3895-0

Farhana, K., Malueka, R., Wibowo, S., & Gofir, A. (2016). Effectiveness of Gotu Kola Extract 750 mg and 1000 mg Compared with Folic Acid 3 mg in Improving Vascular Cognitive Impairment after Stroke. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine. PMID: 2795915. DOI:

Giesbrecht, T., Rycroft, J., Rowson, M., and De Bruin, E. (2010). The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutr Neurosci. Vol. 13(6). Pp. 283-90. DOI: 10.1179/147683010X12611460764840

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Gohil, K., Patel, J., & Gajjar, A. (2010). Pharmacological Review on Centella asiatica: A Potential Herbal Cure-all. Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences. Vol. 72(5). Pp. 546–556. DOI:

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Kushairi, N., Phan, C., Sabaratnam, V., David, P., and Naidu, M. (2019). Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. Suppresses H2O2-Induced Oxidative Damage and LPS-Induced Inflammation in HT22 Hippocampal Neurons and BV2 Microglia. Antioxidants. Vol. 8. Pp. 261. DOI:

Li, X., He, Y., Zeng, P., Liu, Y., Zhang, M., Hao, C., Wang, H., Lv, Z., & Zhang, L. (2019). Molecular basis for Poria cocos mushroom polysaccharide used as an antitumour drug in China. Journal of cellular and molecular medicine. Vol. 23(1). Pp. 4–20. DOI:

Lin, Z., Gu, J., Xiu, J., Mi, T., Dong, J., and Tiwari, J. K. (2012). Traditional chinese medicine for senile dementia. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine. PMID: 21808655. DOI:

McTavish, S., Mannie, Z., and Harmer, C. (2005). Lack of Effect of Tyrosine Depletion on Mood in Recovered Depressed Women. Neuropsychopharmacol. Vol. 30. Pp. 786–791. DOI:

Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y. and Tuchida, T. (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother. Res. Vol. 23. Pp. 367-372. DOI:

Nagano, M., Shimizu, K., Kondo, R., Hayashi, C., Sato, D., Kitagawa, K., and Ohnuki, K. (2010). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomed Res. Vol. (4). Pp. 231-7. DOI: 10.2220/biomedres.31.231

Nakazaki, E., Mah, E., Citrolo, D., Watanabe, F. (2020). Effect of Citicoline on Memory Function in Healthy Order Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Current Developments in Nutrition. Vol. 4(2). Pp. 1227. DOI:

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Slominski, A., Zmijewski, M., and Pawelek, J. (2012). L-tyrosine and L-dihydroxyphenylalanine as hormone-like regulators of melanocyte functions. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. Vol. 25(1). Pp. 14-27. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-148X.2011.00898.x

Small, G., Siddarth, P., Li, Z., Miller, K., Ercoli, L., Emerson, N., Martinez, J., Wong, K., Liu, J., Merrill, D., Chen, S., Henning, S., Satyamurthy, N., Huang, S., Heber, D., and Barrio, J. (2018).Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Vol. 26(3). Pp. 266-277. DOI:

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Stough, C., Singh, H., & Zangara, A. (2015). Mechanisms, Efficacy, and Safety of Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) for Cognitive and Brain Enhancement. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine. 717605. DOI:

Sun Y, Liu Z, Pi Z, Song F, Wu J, and Liu S. (2021). Poria cocos could ameliorate cognitive dysfunction in APP/PS1 mice by restoring imbalance of Aβ production and clearance and gut microbiota dysbiosis. Phytother Res. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.7014

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Can Nootropics Improve Memory

Are There Real Nootropics That Can Improve Memory?

The term “Nootropics” can be used for many things, but in general is used to describe a substance that provides a cognitive boost of some kind with no negative side effects.1 Finding nootropics that are particular to giving memory-capabilities a cognitive boost is not so complicated, as many of them can contribute to improved memory. It is true though that some nootropics are more popularly used to improve memory for a reason: they are more effective.5 In fact, some nootropics are so good at improving memory, they have been prescribed to patients with mental dementia (Alzheimer’s, etc.) and related disorders.2,3 Some nootropics work best when used in combination with other nootropics.8,18 This is often why nootropic stacks and nootropic-inspired supplements are created to give users the optimum balance of the right nootropics to generate optimum performance.

Many nootropics undoubtedly have the ability to improve long-term memory formation (Gc), or a generalized foundation for knowledge. But with that said, nootropics are not made equal and some nootropics are better than others for various applications, such as memory enhancement. Some nootropics only provide improvements to certain attributes of memory. While there are others which provide insanely strong benefits to nearly all memory formation and recall functions. In fact, some of the best nootropics for improving Crystallized Intelligence, or better memory retention, can start helping in as early as their first dose!6 And in terms of memory, there are some front runners which simply cannot be ignored!

List of Nootropics That Improve Memory and Crystallized Intelligence

Here are some of the most popular and effective nootropics for improving memory.

Huperzine A

Despite many other nootropics which have come and gone in terms of “buzz words,” Huperzine still regularly outperforms most of them. In fact, when it comes to memory, Huperzine A has one of the oldest histories of use and most substantial tract records available in research! Huperzine A helps people who have deficient levels in ACh by inhibiting AChE. AChE stands for ACh enzymes. Allowing the ACh to build back up is critical in the formation of new memory and for proper overall cognitive function.2,10,11 Studies on Huperzine continue to prove that it is an impressive nootropic in terms of having some of the greatest positive potential impacts on spatial memory, memory impairments, and overall recall.22

Huperzine is such a powerful nootropic in terms of cognitive benefit, that it has been regularly used throughout the centuries to treat all types of Dementia (including Alzheimer’s).2 Not only has this herb been prescribed by doctors of all types for those already suffering these diseases, it has also been suggested to help prevent general mental regression and that further research is absolutely worthwhile.2,9

Siberian Ginseng

siberian ginseng has been used for centuries to improve memory

Ginseng is very widely used as a cognitive enhancing nootropic. It is frequently used for memory. In fact, some studies have revealed that the power ginseng can have on cognitive function and memory to be comparable to that of Modafinil.5 Ginseng possesses awesome ability as an adaptogen as well,16 which can help the brain maintain a calmed, balance state. Studies exist which have shown certain strains of Ginseng significantly increase intellectual work capacity.16

Ginseng has been recorded as having acute positive effects on secondary memory and even heavier cognitive memory-related tasks.5,15 Siberian Ginseng is one of the most revered strains of Ginseng. It contains powerful nanoparticles that are considered super-efficient antioxidants (among other profound applications).19


Stress can have a significant impact on one’s ability to perform at their peak cognitive function. Stress is absolutely able to negative impact memory functions.13 It has been proven that stress can impact the ability to properly store new memory (memory formation), as well as the ability to accurately recount details of past events. This is evident in numerous student-based studies.14

To combat mental fatigue, many people turn to adaptogens such as Hawthorn (and the previously mentioned Ginseng). This is because adaptogens can improve mental performance, including memory.16 Hawthorn is one of the most effectively-employed adaptogens and has been proven throughout studies to reduce oxidative stresses and improve memory functions.17


Piracetam is commonly honored in many articles and reviews for its memory and learning-improving abilities, however, it has far less effectiveness than many of the other nootropics available for memory in specific. Most notably, trials that compare Huperzine A with Piracetam have shown Huperzine A to have far higher scores.2 Still, Piracetam is used for its cognitive enhancements that improve memory formation and recall with no negative effect to motor function.6


Vinpocetine has been used in many countries around the world to enhance memory and cognitive performance.4 Many studies have been done on Vinpocetine’s effects on cognitive performance, particularly memory. It turns out that it has had a significant impact on many memory-oriented functions and has even been useful for those with mental impairments.21

Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa deserves an honorable mention. Bacopa is more so used for its relaxing nootropic properties. Still, it has absolutely been hailed in many studies as effective for cognitive enhancement, learning improvements and memory improvements.5 Bacopa’s brain-destressing properties can also be helpful in memory recall.14

Nootropics Really Can Improve Memory and Crystallized Intelligence

nootropic supplements for memory improvement

So much of the formation of Crystallized Intelligence (and therefore, memory) has to do with maintaining good brain balance (especially great ACh levels11). Therefore, it is no surprise that Huperzine is one of the better nootropics to consider for a memory-improvement regimen. Although, many other nootropics exist which can help contribute to improving memory and memory recall. Some of these nootropics worth mentioning include: Ginkgo Biloba, L-Theanine, Guarana, and Lion’s Mane Mushroom.7,8,12 L-Theanine, for example, works great for relaxing the mind so it can achieve a greater functioning potential (including improvements to memory functions). This is especially true when used in combination with caffeine, both in their appropriate dosages.8 Therefore, using a supplement that provides a natural source of caffeine, such as Green Coffee Bean Extract and/or Guarana, along with a supplement that provides L-Theanine, can have awesomely stimulating effects on the mind’s ability to process thought and record memory.

There are many studies that provide irrefutable evidence that some nootropics (such as those mentioned above) have overwhelmingly positive effects on neurocognitive functions. This includes many cognitive functions from thinking and decision making to actual memory formation and recall.5,6,8

A lot of the nootropics which improve memory (Crystallized Intelligence, knowledge, or Gc) also improve Gf. And conveniently a higher Gf has been proven to lead to attaining a higher Gc.20 Basically, the two types of intelligence work together to create the most effective memory in the short-term and throughout the long-term. Selecting nootropics which improve fluid intelligence can be extremely helpful in developing better long term memory. Check out our other blog post Can Nootropics Improve Fluid Intelligence (Gf) to learn more.

Nootropic Supplements For Memory

Pirate Botanicals offers natural formulae nootropic supplements that help improve memory and the cognitive functions associated with memory. Improving Gf can improve Gc, and a lot of the supplements also provide a boost to Gf. Pirate Botanicals focuses on developing supplements that offer the best cognitive advantages in the short-term and long-term, including memory.

Check out the Pirate Botanicals Supplement Selector Tool to find a 100 percent natural supplement that is right for you. Pirate Botanicals offers premium nootropic supplements formulated using some of the most powerful nootropics for improving memory!

Disclaimer: These statements have not been approved by the FDA. None of this information is meant to substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a physician. Pirate Botanicals products are not meant to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease, illness, or condition.


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2Yang, G., Wang, Y., Tian, J., & Liu, J.-P. (2013). Huperzine A for Alzheimer’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. PLoS ONE, 8(9), e74916.

3Malkova, L., Kozikowski, A. P., & Gale, K. (2011). The effects of huperzine A and IDRA 21 on visual recognition memory in young macaques. Neuropharmacology, 60(7-8), 1262–1268.

4French, J. M. T., King, M. D., & McDougal, O. M. (2016). Quantitative determination of vinpocetine in dietary supplements. Natural Product Communications, 11(5), 607–609

5Neale, C., Camfield, D., Reay, J., Stough, C., & Scholey, A. (2013). Cognitive effects of two nutraceuticals Ginseng and Bacopa benchmarked against modafinil: a review and comparison of effect sizes. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 75(3), 728–737.

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7Amieva, H., Meillon, C., Helmer, C., Barberger-Gateau, P., & Dartigues, J. F. (2013). Ginkgo Biloba Extract and Long-Term Cognitive Decline: A 20-Year Follow-Up Population-Based Study. PLoS ONE, 8(1), e52755.

8Dodd, F. L., Kennedy, D. O., Riby, L. M., & Haskell-Ramsay, C. F. (2015). A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood. Psychopharmacology, 232(14), 2563–2576.

9Gorelick, P. B., Scuteri, A., Black, S. E., DeCarli, C., Greenberg, S. M., Iadecola, C., … on behalf of the American Heart Association Stroke Council, Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, Council on Cardiovascular Nursing, Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention, Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia. (2011). Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation, 42(9), 2672–2713.

10Nade, V. S., Kawale, L. A., Valte, K. D., & Shendye, N. V. (2015). Cognitive enhancing effect of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers on learning and memory. Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 47(3), 263–269.

11Haam, J., & Yakel, J. L. (2017). Cholinergic modulation of the hippocampal region and memory function. Journal of Neurochemistry, 142(Suppl 2), 111–121.

12Xirui, H., Xiaoxiao, W., Jiacheng, F., Yu, C., Ning, N., Hao, G., Linhong, H., Xiaoqiang, H., and Zefeng, Z., (April 2017). Structures, biological activities, and industrial applications of the polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane) mushroom: A review. International Journal of Biological Macromodules. Vol 97. Pp 228-236

13Ness, D., & Calabrese, P. (2016). Stress Effects on Multiple Memory System Interactions. Neural Plasticity, 2016, 4932128.

14Shields, G. S., Sazma, M. A., McCullough, A. M., & Yonelinas, A. P. (2017). The Effects of Acute Stress on Episodic Memory: A Meta-Analysis and Integrative Review. Psychological Bulletin, 143(6), 636–675.

15Kim, Y.-S., Woo, J.-Y., Han, C.-K., & Chang, I.-M. (2015). Safety Analysis of Panax Ginseng in Randomized Clinical Trials: A Systematic Review. Medicines, 2(2), 106–126.

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18Egashira N, Ishigami N, Pu FL, et al. Theanine prevents memory impairment induced by repeated cerebral ischemia in rats. Phytother Res. 2008;22:65–68

19Abbai, R., Mathiyalagan, R., Markus, J., Kim, Y.-J., Wang, C., Singh, P., … Yang, D. C. (2016). Green synthesis of multifunctional silver and gold nanoparticles from the oriental herbal adaptogen: Siberian ginseng. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 11, 3131–3143.

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