We all have our reasons for staying up late, and they all seem important until we wake up half-baked and hardly human. Integrative health and food therapy specialist, Christine Dionese, is familiar with the next-day struggle of that night owl life and her solution includes this easy-to-make herbal tonic loaded up with ingredients known for their brain-boosting properties…

Being a native New Yorker and lifelong night owl, I often find myself staying up into the wee hours working. I also find that my brain requires a little extra help the next day – help staying focused and energized, and help counteracting my tendency to reach for my beloved espresso pot.

Sacrificing a happy hour with friends because I have to work makes it tempting to imbibe at home, but we all know that the dehydrating nature of alcohol doesn’t exactly quench thirsty neurons! This brain food tonic poured straight into a cocktail glass always does the trick.

A word to the wise on working too many nights and the condition called adrenal fatigue. When we overwork without honoring our bodies by supplementing with tonics and superfoods, anxiety can get the best of our health.

Here are my favorite ingredients to fight fatigue and boost your brain power. I’ve fit them all into this Late Night Brain Tonic!

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s mane mushroom contains a neuroprotective protein called NGF. Along with enhancing memory and focus, lion’s mane can help regulate mood – this alone is critical in boosting late-night work morale!

Olive oil

High in polyphenols and vitamin E, it doesn’t take much of this superfood to help our brains think more clearly and stay focused. Bonus: It helps fight brain inflammation.

Gotu Kola

Gotu kola is a prized herb in traditional Chinese, rainforest and Indian medicine. Used for centuries, it even resembles the shape of the brain. Countless studies have shown that unlike many cognitive-enhancing herbs, gotu kola offers a balancing, non-stimulating effect making it ideal for enduring focused night work.

I especially prefer gotu kola because of its ability to repair and restore axons – ideal for anti-aging and for those of us who stay up late, but want to bypass the side effects.


In food and when sniffed, rosemary exerts a positive effect on speed of recall – great for anyone performing taxing work such as writing and editing or accounting.

If you want to start the next “vintage” fashion trend, place a sprig of rosemary behind your ear while working away; after all, this is what the Greeks did – students studying for exams once placed rosemary behind the ear to stimulate brain function and memory!

Purple carrot

By virtue of their color, purple carrots contain anthocyanins, brain-loving antioxidants. Along with preventing an overall decline in cognitive function, this antioxidant is partially responsible for protecting and enhancing memory.


In the early 2000s, lead scientist in the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, James Joseph, PhD, dubbed the blueberry “the brain berry.” Compared to most vegetables, fruits and berries, blueberries still score among the highest overall in total antioxidant activity per serving. What’s special about blueberries is that a bowl-full helps keep the brain active in the afternoon and evenings, so feel free to go for a serving during the day too!

the Late Night Brain Tonic


1 cup blueberries
1 purple carrot, leaves removed
1 Kirby cucumber
1 small lime
¼ cup mint + sprig for garnish
½ Tbsp rosemary
1 tsp dried gotu kola
1 tsp olive oil (set aside)

Therapeutic ingredient to add later:
1 tsp lion’s mane powder (+ rhodiola)
2 droppers Anima Mundi Cerebrum Brain Tonic


Juice together blueberries, carrot, cucumber, mint, rosemary, gotu kola and lime.

If using the lion’s mane as a powder, pour juice into a shaker, add rhodiola, shake well to incorporate for 25 seconds, then pour into desired glass. Garnish with mint. Pipe olive oil droplets along the surface of your drink for an olive oil “float.”

If using Anima Mundi Cerebrum Brain Tonic, pour juice into desired glass, then add the tonic and garnish with mint. Pipe olive oil droplets along the surface of your drink for an olive oil “float.”


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