Herbs for Memory Loss

Everyone forgets where he or she left the car keys occasionally, but if you’re experiencing increased memory loss, it may be due to an underlying condition. Medline Plus, a division of the National Institutes of Health, lists stroke, dementia, head injury, Alzheimer’s disease and thyroid problems as potential causes of memory loss. Although the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the sale of herbal supplements, some may be beneficial in treating memory loss. Consult your doctor before starting an herbal regimen for memory loss.

Gingko Biloba

Available in capsules, tablets, extract or tea, ginkgo biloba may reduce cognitive decline and memory loss, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The Center reports that the results of many small tests vary, some showing promise, while others indicate that the herb is ineffective. Because side effects may occur while taking ginkgo, consult a certified herbalist or a doctor of naturopathy for the correct dosage.


Ginseng has long been used to boost energy and vitality. According to a Chinese study announced by the American Stroke Association, ginseng may also have a positive effect on the memory. The study monitored 40 patients with mild dementia cause by strokes. The subjects showed improved memory after taking a daily ginseng compound for 12 weeks. More studies are needed to confirm those findings.


The smell of rosemary may increase your memory, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The essential oil of Rosemary, used in aromatherapy, may increase concentration as well. Aromatherapy is the use of highly concentrated aromatic extracts of plants and herbs. Scientific tests confirming the effectiveness of rosemary essential oil in treating memory loss are lacking.

Folk Medicine

The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicines reports the use of additional herbs for treating memory loss. Used in folk medicine, these herbs include the seeds of the calabar bean, periwinkle leaves and extract of astragalus. While they may enhance memory, the effectiveness of these herbs is scientifically unproven. Because an overdose may result in serious side effects, you should use these herbs only under a doctor’s supervision.

About this Author

Glyn Sheridan is a freelance writer with published credits in regional and national media. Sheridan specializes in health, fitness, construction and business writing. She is also a past editor of “Kansas Women – Focus on Fitness.” Sheridan’s education includes marketing and journalism.