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Need to Focus? 5 Botanicals to Help You Stay Alert

Have you ever needed to finish a big project right before a midnight deadline, so you just kept drinking coffee after coffee — only to feel run down and jittery? 

Siesta Botanicals offers several herbs to help boost your concentration levels and keep you working without the jitters and ultimate crash.

Yerba Mate

Yerba mate, a popular South American herbal tea, contains trace amounts of every vitamin and mineral your body needs, as well as seven out of 10 essential amino acids, including tryptophan and choline. 

In the body, tryptophan is converted into 5-htp and then into the neurotransmitter serotonin. You need serotonin to have a feeling of wellbeing and a stable mood. Many antidepressant medications work by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. Choline is another amino acid that plays a role in boosting focus and memory.

Along with these important amino acids and nutrients, yerba mate also gives you an energy boost with its 85 milligrams of caffeine per cup. 

This is almost double the amount of caffeine found in black tea but less than half that of coffee (100 to more than 200 mg per cup). As a bonus, many yerba mate drinkers say it increases alertness and energy like coffee, but it doesn’t have the same jittery effect.

Yerba mate contains an array of beneficial compounds including the following:

  • Xanthines: Stimulating compounds including caffeine and theobromine, which are also found in tea, coffee and chocolate.
  • Polyphenols: This is a large group of antioxidants, tied to a reduced risk of many diseases
  • Caffeoyl derivatives: The main health-boosting antioxidants in yerba mate.
  • Saponins: Bitter compounds with anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties.

Add a little honey or other sweetener and you’ve got yourself a delicious herbal tea to help you study or work well into the night.


Although you can drink yerba mate like you would a cup of green tea or coffee, ashwagandha has a very bitter taste that is best mixed with something else. Traditionally, ashwagandha root has been mixed with milk, honey or ghee.

In particular, milk is considered the best vehicle, as it helps increase the effectiveness and potency of the herb.

So what is ashwagandha? 

Ashwagandha is an ancient Ayurvedic herb known as an adaptogen. Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help increase your body’s ability to handle stress and fatigue. The idea behind the name “adaptogen” is that they “adapt” to your body’s individual needs.

In Sanskrit, ashwagandha means “smell of the horse,” which may be applied to its unique smell and its ability to increase strength.

Ashwagandha has been used for more than 3,000 years to help reduce stress, improve stamina and increase concentration levels. It boosts brain function and memory and enhances the nervous system.

Ashwagandha can keep you going even after you feel like giving up. In one study, researchers looked at the ability of ashwagandha to increase stamina among swimming rats. 

They write, “Ashwagandha was shown to increase swimming performance in rats as judged by [an] increase in swimming time during [the] physical endurance test.”

“Ashwagandha treated animals showed a significant increase in the duration of swimming time as compared to control. The control group of mice swam for a mean time of 385 minutes, whereas the drug-treated animals continued to swim for a mean duration of 740 minutes. Thus, the swimming time was approximately doubled after Withania somnifera (WS) treatment.”

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola rosea, also called Arctic root or golden root, can help reduce mental fatigue and stress and improve sleep patterns.

Several clinical trials have shown that a Rhodiola extract improves mental performance and attention after single and repeated doses, and also prevents physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion in people with fatigue syndrome. 

One study analyzed the effects of a 20-day regimen of Rhodiola rosea supplements on stressed-out students. The findings reveal that participants experienced significantly reduced mental fatigue, better sleep patterns and an increased motivation to study. In fact, their exam scores were 8% higher than students in the placebo group.

The extract may also be effective in treating mild to moderate depression and generalized anxiety.

Research has shown that when people with fatigue take a single dose of rhodiola extract, it can improve mental performance and attention. The herb has also been shown to prevent emotional, physical and mental exhaustion in people with fatigue syndrome.

In athletes, rhodiola has been shown to enhance the body’s natural resistance to fatigue and depression. Even Russian astronauts have used rhodiola to prevent fatigue and enhance performance.

Holy Basil

Holy basil, or Tulsi, is an ancient herb commonly used in Ayurveda. The herb has a place within the Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving holy basil plants or leaves. 

In Ayurveda, holy basil is commonly referred to as an “Elixir of Life” because of its healing powers. The herb is an important adaptogen that has long been recognized to treat many different common health conditions. 

Research shows that holy basil can improve mood, reduce fatigue and enhance sleep. Preclinical animal studies have shown that holy basil increases swimming survival times in mice and prevents stress-induced ulcers in rats. These anti-stress effects were found to be comparable to antidepressant drugs.


And last but not least, kratom is great for boosting your energy levels. White vein kratom is the strain typically linked to the most stimulating and energizing effects. We offer White Bali, White Borneo, White Maeng Da, White Malay and White Thai.

In addition, Thai kratom tends to lean more toward a stimulating effect. Maeng Da (a term that refers to high quality) is said to be one of the strongest strains and it has both energizing and stimulating traits as well as pain-relieving effects. In Thai, ‘Maeng Da’ literally translates to “pimp grade,” denoting high quality and alkaloid content.

Our kratom is sourced from deep in the heart of Borneo, Indonesia on the banks of the Kapuas River. In 2019, we had the pleasure of visiting farmers and seeing the authentic care and love that goes into cultivating the plant that has been integral to their culture for centuries. Kratom is a member of the rubiaceae family along with coffee, and is known by its scientific name, mitragyna speciosa. 


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