Herbal extracts and cognition in adulthood and ageing



Publication Details

Camfield, D., Owen, L., Pipingas, A., Stough, C. & Scholey, A. (2012). Herbal extracts and cognition in adulthood and ageing. In L. Riby, M. Smith & J. Foster (Eds.), Nutrition and Mental Performance: a Lifespan Perspective (pp. 302-328). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


Chapter Overview: • Cognitive ageing involves multiple interacting systems which may be influenced by components of plants. Thus, certain herbal extracts may be effective in maintaining psychological health or 'wellbeing', particularly in ageing. • Certain plants have evolved with components that can modulate behaviour, including cognitive performance. • There is good evidence that certain extracts have properties that enhance cognition. These include extracts of ginkgo, ginseng, salvia, guarana, lemon balm, bacopa and polyphenols. • In the domain of mood, lemon balm has consistently been shown to have a calming effect; evidence for other herbals is less clear, although cocoa polyphenols may have anti-fatigue effects. • One constant challenge for the psychopharmacology of herbal extracts is the use of standardised extracts and the use of multiple extracts in some medicinal systems.

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