What is Polygala tenuifolia?
Polygala tenuifolia, which is also referred to as Yuan Zhi, is a very interesting plant that produces powerful compounds in its root system. In our opinion, it is one of the most noticeable herbal extracts out there and works for almost anyone who tries it. So what makes Polygala tenuifolia root so special? Unlike most plant extracts which are “uni-taskers” in the sense that they usually have very specific effects, Polygala tenuifolia has a very wide range of effects. Most noticeably, Polygala tenuifolia produces stimulating yet calming effects, which is an effect profile you can usually only achieve with a combination of supplements, such as the popular combination of Caffeine and L Theanine. Polygala tenuifolia also has the ability to produce the following highly beneficial effects:
● May help promote neuroplasticity
● May help promote a positive mood
● May help improve focus
● May help improve brain health
To better understand Polygala tenuifolia and the plethora of powerful effects it can produce, we will now take a deep dive into the fascinating world of Polygala tenuifolia root!
Polygala tenuifolia May Support Neuroplasticity
In the world of natural nootropics, supporting greater levels of neuroplasticity is always a highly sought-after effect. Enhancing neuroplasticity can help boost overall cognitive function and has the ability to bolster brain health. Neuroplasticity is the process by which our brains can change, adapt and grow which is an important process when it comes to many cognitive functions as they are dependant on adequate levels of neuroplasticity. This holds especially true for memory as memories are believed to be stored by physically changing neuron connections and these changes are dependant on neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity can also be greatly decreased in some areas of the brain which can lead to issues with low mood. An area of the brain that is particularly prone to this is the hippocampus. Through countless studies, it has been shown that increasing hippocampal neuroplasticity can have a very positive effect on mood. We’ll focus on that in the next section about mood. For now, let's get back on the topic of cognitive function and neuroplasticity!
There are a few big regulators of neuroplasticity, the two most important ones being nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). By increasing either one of these, neuroplasticity can be significantly increased. This is what makes Polygala tenuifolia such a powerful inducer of neuroplasticity as it increases both the levels of NGF and BDNF! By increasing NGF and BDNF, Polygala tenuifolia can help increase overall brain health and cognitive function. In our opinion, this is what makes Polygala tenuifolia extract one of the best stand-alone natural nootropics!
Polygala tenuifolia May Promote a Positive Mood
As we mentioned in the section above, neuroplasticity is a very important regulator of mood and Polygala tenuifolia appears to be a powerful inducer of neuroplasticity. Low mood has been linked to atrophy in the hippocampus and it has been shown that neuroplasticity enhancers such as Polygala tenuifolia may help reverse hippocampal atrophy. By reversing hippocampal atrophy, these neuroplasticity enhancers have been shown to help promote a positive mood. However, Polygala has some other mood boosting tricks up its sleeve!
Polygala may also help increase levels of key monoamine neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Polygala tenuifolia achieves this through its Yuanzhi-1 content which is a unique triterpenoid saponin, that inhibits the reuptake of these monoamine neurotransmitters. These three neurotransmitters each play an important role in maintaining our mood. Thus, in addition to enhancing hippocampal neuroplasticity, Polygala tenuifolia may also help promote a positive mood by enhancing levels of monoamine neurotransmitters in the brain. More importantly, however, is that serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine are highly involved in motivation and focus which we will discuss in the next section.
Polygala tenuifolia May Help Promote Focus
Staying focused and motivated can be a fairly hard feat sometimes, especially if you are studying a lot. Luckily, Polygala tenuifolia can help gently nudge serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the right direction allowing for enhanced levels of focus, motivation and energy levels. This makes Polygala tenuifolia root a favourite among students needing to study large amounts of information in a short period of time. What makes Polygala tenuifolia root extract even more of an attractive focus and energy booster is that it lacks any form of “jitters” (which is an effect mostly linked to excessive consumption of caffeine). In fact, instead of being jittery like caffeine, Polygala tenuifolia is simultaneously calming and stimulating. This allows for optimal levels of focus as it helps clear and calm the mind while also supporting cognitive function.
In our opinion, the combined calming and stimulating effects make Polygala tenuifolia one of the best supplements for individuals with busy work or school schedules. Polygala tenuifolia may simultaneously help alleviate stress while allowing you to focus on the important work at hand!
What really stands out to us about Polygala tenuifolia is that, anecdotally, Polygala tenuifolia root may also help support sleep quality. This is quite a strange effect to ascribe to a predominantly stimulating supplement, however, we have found that the calming effects experienced after Polygala tenuifolia supplementation, significantly outlast the stimulating effects. In fact, it has been shown that one of the bioactive compounds contained in Polygala tenuifolia root, tenuifolin, may help enhance sleep quality. It is also believed that tenuifolin is mostly responsible for the calming effects associated with Polygala tenuifolia root. It appears that the effects of tenuifolin are quite long lasting which helps explain why, anecdotally, Polygala tenuifolia root helps improve sleep quality. In various studies, it has been shown that sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality can greatly decrease our ability to stay focused and alert. By helping enhance sleep quality, Polygala tenuifolia may help improve daytime alertness, thereby further increasing the focus-promoting effects of Polygala tenuifolia extract.
Polygala tenuifolia May Support Brain Health
As if promoting cognitive function, mood, focus and sleep quality isn’t enough; Polygala tenuifolia root is also a fantastic supplement for enhancing overall brain health! Our brain is one of the primary consumers of energy in our bodies which also means it produces an enormous amount of metabolites. Some of these metabolites, such as hydrogen peroxide and superoxide, are very strong oxidants and can pose a serious threat to our overall brain health. Luckily, our brain has strong antioxidant defense systems which can take care of the majority of oxidative stress in our brains. However, our own antioxidant defenses sometimes aren’t enough to counteract the oxidative stress happening in our brains. This is where Polygala tenuifolia can help us out, yet again, as it does a fantastic job at boosting our brains own antioxidant defense systems.
The oligosaccharides in Polygala tenuifolia root, have been shown to help upregulate three very important antioxidant enzymes: superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase. These three antioxidant enzymes are our bodies and brains primary defense mechanisms against oxidative stress. By increasing the activity of these enzymes, Polygala tenuifolia root can have significant neuroprotective effects, as one of the main damaging processes in our brains is oxidative stress.
Furthermore, Polygala tenuifolia root may also help promote healthy levels of inflammation in our brains. Like oxidative stress, inflammation in the brain can be a major detriment to overall brain health. Some people even argue that mental fogginess can be cleared up by attenuating increased levels of inflammation in the brain. These inflammation and oxidation-regulating effects make Polygala tenuifolia a great stand alone supplement for clearing up mental fog, keeping our brains healthy, and increasing overall cognitive function!
How to Take Polygala tenuifolia
Due to its pleasant taste and low dosage, Polygala tenuifolia extract can be taken in a variety of ways. The most convenient option are our accurately dosed 100mg Polygala tenuifolia extract capsules. For optimal effects, one capsules should be taken three times a day. For more immediate, and potent effects, Polygala tenuifolia sublingual dosing is a great option. Polygala tenuifolia sublingual dosing will allow the active components in Polygala tenuifolia extract to be absorbed faster and reach their target receptors quicker. Various Polygala tenuifolia reddit posts on the nootropics subreddit have found that Polygala tenuifolia sublingual dosing is more stimulating and focus enhancing.
Polygala tenuifolia extract powder is also very soluble in water, and due to its mild and somewhat sweet taste, can be mixed into a variety of beverages. This makes for a convenient way to dose Polygala tenuifolia when you are on the go. Simply measure out your Polygala tenuifolia dosage, mix it into your beverage of choice, and take it with you to wherever you are off to!
Where can you find more information on Polygala tenuifolia?
There are a variety of great resources discussing in great depth all of the ins-and-outs of Polygala tenuifolia extract. We have found that one of the best Polygala tenuifolia resources is the Polygala tenuifolia examine page. A link for the Polygala tenuifolia examine page can be found here.
Another great resource for anecdotal reports, are the Polygala tenuifolia reddit posts over on the nootropics subreddit. A link for a collection of Polygala tenuifolia reddit posts can be found here.
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