What’s a nootropic?
‘Nootropics’, from the Greek ‘noos’, for ‘mind’, and ‘tropē’, for ‘to turn’, or ‘turning’, are, broadly-speaking, substances meant to increase or enhance congnition.
The term was coined in 1972 by Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea. He wrote in French so we’re relying on Wikipedia for a paraphrase but his definition of nootropic is still the one widely accepted as the strict definition today. Acoording to Giurgea, a nootropic must:
- Enhance learning and memory
- Enhance resistance of learned behaviors to conditions with the tendency to disrupt them
- Protect the brain against physical or chemical injuries
- Increase the efficacy of the tonic cortical / subcortical control mechanisms
- Not be sedating, possess few or no side effects, if any, and be essentially non-toxic