There’s a worrying trend on college campuses at the minute. More students are turning to prescription attention drugs to help them get through their final exams.

In fact, some students in the US are using pharmaceutical grade drugs almost year-round in an effort to gain an edge over their classmates.

This is a worrying trend for obvious reasons.

Drugs like Ritalin, Modafinil, and Aniracetam are not conducive to long term mental of physical health.

They have seriously negative mental health effects if used by otherwise healthy people, even if just for short periods of time. Pharma-grade ADHD drugs can do some serious damage to your health over time.

The negative effects of specific drugs aside, being dependent on synthetic stimulants (many of which are either amphetamines or similar to amphetamines in action) in order to function properly is a problem in and of itself.

Kids who get through college abusing drugs like Ritalin or Modafinil will struggle to perform at work without these drugs. And we know exactly where that road leads in the long-run.

It is very encouraging to see that many colleges and institutions are trying to combat this trend head on.

Many colleges across the country are trying to offer help to their students, educating them about the real effects of these drugs, and showing them how to cope without them.

But the trend is not bucking fast enough.

Another way that the trend can be slowed is by showing students that there are plenty of natural alternatives to these powerful synthetic “smart drugs” which do not have the same associated dangers and which do not produce such drastic consequences.

Perhaps most importantly of all, many of the natural study aids out there are perfectly legal to buy and consume. This contrasts markedly to things like Modafinil and Piracetam which might land students in real trouble, not just with their college!

So here are some of the best natural study aids on the market today.

You may be surprised to learn that humble vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts are able to improve cognitive performance so drastically.

We haven’t listed anything here that is not backed by robust scientific evidence and thorough testing. So you can be confident that the substances listed below not only represent a safer alternative to “smart drugs”, but one that might be just as effective.

Best Natural Study Aids

  1. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biolba is a plant which also goes by the name of the maidenhair tree. It is native to China, where it actually grows pretty ubiquitously.

Ginkgo biloba has been used for centuries for its nootropic properties. It seems very effective at improving memory function if used regularly for a prolonged period.

It does this by improving cerebral circulation. This means that Ginkgo biloba opens up your brain blood vessels, thereby allowing for better delivery of oxygen and nutrients, which in turn promotes higher cognitive functioning.

Ginkgo Bioloba supplementation has been shown in numerous clinical trials to promote better memory function and focus in the short and long term.

It seems to be relatively safe (unless you have a pre-existing vascular condition or a high risk of stroke), is non-addictive, and is widely available from health food stores.

For these reasons, Ginkgo Biloba is widely used by students, business executives, and academics worldwide. It is also increasingly used as a kind of complimentary treatment for cognitive decline.

  1. Tyrosine

Tyrosine has a very specific application for students during exam season: it seems to reduce stress-induced memory loss.

We have all experienced this phenomenon at some point; you learn your material cold, but as soon as the examiner says “begin”, the stress of only having 2 hours to answer the questions overwhelms you and all of a sudden you can’t remember a thing.

Where Ginkgo Biloba benefits mental function in a kind of general way (by improving oxygenation), Tyrosine targets this one particular aspect of cognitive function.

This is not one of those wishy-washy natural remedies recommended by homeopaths; Tyrosine’s ability to keep you calm and focused while under acute stress has been observed in clinical settings.

Look at this study for a prime example. The researchers here found that “Tyrosine significantly decreased symptoms, adverse moods, and performance impairments in subjects who exhibited average or greater responses to these environmental conditions. These results suggest that tyrosine should be evaluated in a variety of acutely stressful situations.”

If you struggle to keep your head during exam season, then it is worth considering Tyrosine as a natural aid. We definitely think you should consider exploring the potential of Tyrosine before you turn to any kind of synthetic smart drug.

  1. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is an incredibly simple but immensely powerful weapon in the arsenal of any student.

B6 is an absolutely vital part of the process of deriving energy from food. Without sufficient B6 availability, you can’t metabolise your food properly, which means sub-optimal energy levels, less focus, and declining mental stamina.

Now, one thing that seems to be common to all college students is a poor diet.

No matter how many times they are told otherwise, it seems that large swathes of the student population insist on living on ramen noodles and Pepsi.

But sadly, many students will not see their diet as the obvious cause of their drowsiness in the library. Instead, many will try to treat the symptoms by either consuming stimulants or pharma-grade study drugs like Piracetam.

But this isn’t necessary. Simple dietary changes could have an even more profound and an unquestionably healthier impact on your mental stamina.

Making sure that you are consuming enough Vitamin B6 is a good place to start. If your B6 intake is too low, then you will feel the benefit of increased B6 consumption almost immediately.

B6 seems to be safe to consume in large quantities; we’re talking tens of times your RDI. However, at these levels side effects are not unheard of – muscle tingling, light-headedness, and so on.

Try ensuring that your B6 intake is right on target, and if you need more of an energy boost then up the dosage slowly.

  1. Theanine

One thing that we don’t have to recommend to any of you if you’re trying to cram for finals or your thesis deadline is caffeine.

If you’re a college student, then your caffeine consumption is probably already at dangerous levels.

But one thing that you may not have considered adding into your diet is theanine.

Theanine is an amino acid found naturally in green tea.

We’re interested in theanine because it works synergistically with caffeine.

Theanine works with caffeine, taking its good effects and amplifying them, while simultaneously suppressing its negative effects.

This doesn’t mean that it dulls caffeine down at all.

If anything, it makes caffeine better able to keep you focused and motivated. Rather than just ramping up your energy levels to the point at which you can’t even concentrate on one thing anymore, caffeine combined with theanine will keep you alert but calm, relaxed, and focused on the task at hand.

  1. Combined Stacks

Now, if you look at other articles like this one, you’ll see that there are an innumerable number of vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts and concentrates that are thought to help you study.

Once you see more than, say, 5 substances recommended to you, the natural inclination is to discount them all and stop thinking about it.

But you don’t necessarily need to research each individual substance, decide how they combine most effectively, and then go out and buy them all individually.

There are plenty of supplements on the market today that combine several natural study enhancers into one convenient stack.

Some of these stacks have been specifically designed to improve your ability to concentrate, to absorb information, and to retain it successfully. A smaller number have been crafted to do this while also promoting short-term focus and stress reduction.

This article lays out some of the most popular and highly rated natural study supplements available today.

Utilizing these supplements is a much better option than using drugs like Modafinil or Ritalin.

Not only are they much safer, both mentally and physically, but they are also much more predictable.

Drugs like Modafinil can sometimes backfire, making you behave strangely or focused on the wrong thing when you need to be performing at your best.

Natural study supplements, on the other hand, are much less potent but usually much more reliable when it comes to giving you the results you are looking for.


It is crucial that students are educated about the full range of options at their disposal when it comes to enhancing their cognition, becoming more efficient learners, and staying ahead of stress during exams.

If more students knew just how effective simple vitamins and herbal extracts can be, then fewer young people would be turning to drugs like Modainil. That means fewer young people would be putting their short term mental health and their long term physical health at risk for the sake of a few extra grade points.

When you realize just how easily things like Piracetam or Modafinil can go wrong, then natural alternatives become to obvious choice.