Buy Nootropics in China | The #1 A-Z Guide

Curious how to buy nootropics in China? If so, you’ve come to the perfect place.

This ‘A-Z’ guide will explain everything you could possibly want to know about buying nootropics in China.

You’ll learn:

  • The best natural and synthetic nootropics to try
  • Their side effects and safety
  • The legal status of popular nootropics
  • Where to buy nootropics for the best prices

P.S: Here’s my top 100% legal recommendation.

Whether you’re looking to boost your productivity, optimize your memory, or turbocharge your workload, this guide will help you meet your goals and get you where you want to go.

While there’s some unique legal challenges with nootropics in China, we’ll cover those inside.

This is not medical or legal advice. This guide is strictly for entertainment purposes only. Always consult a medical professional before consuming any nootropic and always abide by the laws of your country. Please read my disclaimer page, too.

What are Nootropics?

The term ‘nootropics’ was coined by the Romanian psychologist and chemist Dr. Corneliu Giurgea in 1972. It comes from the Greek words ‘nous’, meaning ‘mind’, and ‘trepein’, meaning ‘to bend’ [1].

According to Dr. Giurgea, a nootropic is any natural or synthetic substance that can;

  • Enhance memory, attention span, concentration, and the ability to learn.
  • Help the brain function under distress.
  • Protect the brain from chemical and physical stress.
  • Increase the efficacy of neuronal firing.
  • Produce virtually zero side effects and be non-toxic.

Broadly speaking, there are two main types of nootropics: natural and synthetic.

Natural Nootropics

Natural nootropics come from plants or plant extracts, amino acids, or other nutrients sourced from nature. Ginkgo biloba, which comes from the Chinese maidenhair tree and has been used by humans for thousands of years to improve memory, has been shown to help prevent dementia [2].

Caffeine, which is found in foods such as cocoa beans, tea leaves, and coffee beans, is a natural stimulant and cognitive enhancer that has been shown to improve attention span and information retention [3].

Some nootropics were discovered much more recently. Creatine is an amino acid found in the liver and kidneys that was discovered in 1835. It became popular as a sports supplement during the mid-1990s and became a widely used nootropic after studies showed that it could facilitate cognition on mental tasks [4].

Synthetic Nootropics

Synthetic nootropics are chemically synthesized substances that offer cognitive benefits. The first such substance was Piracetam, discovered by Dr. Giurgea in 1964. Clinical trials showed that it helped improve learning, memory, and brain metabolism [5]. Since then, numerous racetams have been synthesized and studied.

Many synthetic nootropics are medicines that were originally developed to treat people with specific neurological and psychiatric conditions. Modafinil, for example, was originally licensed as a narcolepsy treatment.

However, clinical trials found that it helped improve emotion recognition and task-related motivation [6]. It subsequently became extremely popular for its ‘off-label’ benefits among healthy individuals seeking cognitive enhancement.

smart drugs 2020

Nootropics Side Effects and Safety

While natural and synthetic nootropics offer numerous benefits such as increased alertness and productivity, they may also produce unwanted side-effects.

These side-effects largely depend on whether the nootropic is a natural or synthetic product.

Most individuals experience very minimal to no nootropic side effects.

Natural Nootropics Side Effects

Naturally-occurring nootropics such as Ginkgo biloba, caffeine, and creatine are the safest cognitive enhancers that we know of. As they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, they are sold over-the-counter in China as dietary supplements.

Natural nootropics are generally regarded as safe and non-toxic when taken at the recommended doses. However, how you respond to them will depend on a host of variables including your current health, genetic factors, and whether you are taking any prescription drugs. For this reason, we encourage you to read the prescription drug interactions of any nootropic you take. For example, Ginkgo biloba can increase the risk of bleeding when taken with certain herbal medications, antiplatelet agents, or warfarin [7].

The other main factor is the dosage. Some natural nootropics can produce serious side effects when taken in excessive quantities. For instance, high doses of caffeine can cause anxiety, hallucinations, and even dizziness [8].

Overall, natural nootropics are pretty safe and their side effects are rare and tend to be low in severity.

Synthetic nootropics side effects and safety

The safest synthetic nootropics that we know of are Piracetam, Aniracetam, and other racetams. Studies have shown that racetams possess very low toxicity and produce no serious side effects [9].

Most other synthetic nootropics are actually pharmaceutical drugs that are intended to treat specific medical conditions. While they have been well-researched for their intended medical use and are considered safe, there is little published research into their side effects and safety when used ‘off-label’ as nootropics.

For example, one of the most popular synthetic nootropics – Modafinil – is a prescription-only drug used to treat narcolepsy and other sleeping disorders. It is widely considered to be a safe drug when taken at prescribed doses under medical supervision. However, when taken ‘off-prescription’ by healthy individuals as a nootropic, its side-effects and safety have been little-researched.

One study found that when Modafinil was given to patients who had been incorrectly diagnosed with narcolepsy, it caused several unexpected side effects [10].

These included:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Lumbago
  • Diarrhea
  • Dyspepsia
  • Rhinitis
  • Vertigo

These side effects were found to be mild and subsided as soon as the dose was reduced, causing no lasting harm.

There is little published research into the side effects and safety of the popular social nootropic Phenibut, which is prescribed in Russia to treat anxiety and social anxiety. Documented side effects include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach cramps

One study found that patients who used Phenibut to treat a substance use disorder developed an addiction [11]. There are also reports of patients experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms when they cease use [12].

We recommend limiting Phenibut intake to less than 500mg for the initial dose and never more than 1,000mg per dose thereafter. Due to its potential for addiction, avoid consuming more than 4,000mg per fortnight, and always monitor your dosage carefully.

Overall, the nootropics on this list are safe and produce minimal side effects when taken at the recommended dosages.

Are Nootropics Legal in China?

The legal status of any given nootropic in China depends on whether it is classified as a dietary supplement or a pharmaceutical drug.

Dietary supplement nootropics such as Ginkgo biloba, caffeine, and creatine, are legal throughout China and can be purchased over-the-counter or online without a prescription.

Nootropics that are pharmaceutical drugs are classified as prescription medicines in China. This means that you need a prescription from a doctor to obtain and use them. If you are Chinese or live in China and want to buy pharmaceutical nootropics, this is the only legal route.

If you are visiting China, you can bring a personal supply of prescription drugs into the country with you to last for the duration of your stay providing that you bring a letter from your doctor or a prescription stating the condition for which you are receiving treatment.

In certain cases, a Chinese doctor may prescribe medicines to foreign visitors or expats based on a letter or prescription from a doctor in the visitor’s home country.

However, we’re guessing you don’t have one or you wouldn’t be reading this guide!

Fortunately, while buying prescription-only nootropics within China is nigh-on impossible, ordering them online is a cinch! Although this is technically illegal, nootropics aren’t narcotics and you shouldn’t have any hassles.

In fact, we’ve yet to hear of anyone experiencing any difficulties getting a personal supply of nootropics shipped to their address in China.

Our recommended nootropics vendor guarantees all shipments to China and even offers a free reshipment or a full refund in the highly unlikely event that an order doesn’t get through.

Basically, you have no risk.

But again, this isn’t legal advice and we advise you to abide by Chinese laws.

generic modafinil

Top 2 Legal Nootropics in China

Given China’s notoriously strict laws, many people don’t want the legal risks of being caught importing prescription drugs. And many people simply don’t want the health risks of using such drugs ‘off-label’.

We get it.

That’s why we recommend two powerful over-the-counter nootropics – Mind Lab Pro and Qualia Mind!

Unlike prescription drugs, these advanced nootropics contain 100% natural ingredients that work across multiple areas of cognitive enhancement with virtually zero side effects. What’s more, they are safe enough to be used year-round without any risk of addiction or dependence.

  • Mind Lab Pro

The most effective and consistently reliable over-the-counter nootropic we’ve ever reviewed is Mind Lab Pro. It’s essentially a ‘one pill solution’ for cognitive enhancement that uses a unique blend of 11 different natural nootropics to deliver a massive boost to creativity and productivity.

The first time we tried it, we felt a huge boost in our mood and alertness. This effect lasted for more than eight hours, almost as long as some prescription-only synthetic nootropics, yet with none of the side effects. Our energy levels exploded and we were able to put in a full day’s worth of work without feeling fatigued!

All 11 of the nootropics in Mind Lab Pro are safe and well-researched. They include:

  • Bacopa monnieri: This has been shown to boost cognition and decrease choice reaction times [13].
  • Citicoline: Citicoline has been shown to offer strong neuroprotective properties [14].
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom, or Yamabushitake: Yamabushitake has been shown to help protect against mild cognitive impairment [15].
  • Maritime Pine Bark Extract: Pine bark offers racetam-like improvements in spatial memory [16].
  • L-Tyrosine: L-Tyrosine has been shown to enhance mental performance and can boost motivation and focus almost as much as amphetamines like Adderall [17].

In short, Mind Lab Pro won’t disappoint! It’s a powerful all-in-one solution that can enhance memory, boost attention span and supercharge concentration.

  • Qualia Mind

The other nootropic we recommend is Qualia Mind. It’s a complete cognitive enhancer that turbocharges your productivity from the first dose.

Qualia has a two-step schedule — you take the first three pills in the morning and then six more later on in the day. This gives you masses of energy throughout the day with no peaks or troughs in your performance.

We experienced an instant boost in our mental performance from Qualia. It helped us power through work and still feel like we had plenty left in the tank at the end of the day. In fact, we crushed it in the office and still felt like we still had the energy to do more when we got home!

Along with the extra mental energy, Qualia gave our creativity an enormous boost. Our minds were literally buzzing with thoughts and ideas and even our dreams became more lucid and memorable. This gave us new perspectives and helped us power through tasks.

Best of all, Qualia’s caffeine-free formula meant that we didn’t experience any jitters. Instead of feeling on edge and irritable, we found that we could think clearly and easily transition into other activities like mediation when we wanted to.

Qualia owes its effectiveness to a unique blend of 21 natural nootropics. Our five favorite include:

  • Bacopa Monnieri: Bacopa Monnieri has been shown to help reduce anxiety, depression, and stress while increasing reaction times [18].
  • Citicoline: Citicoline boosts levels of neurotransmitters in the brain while helping to improve memory and recall [19].
  • Ginkgo biloba: Ginkgo biloba is great for boosting short term memory and recall and increasing mental performance [20].
  • Huperzine A: Huperzine A has very strong neuroprotective properties [21].
  • Phosphatidylserine: Phosphatidylserine is extremely effective at helping people retain their cognitive functioning ability [22].

Qualia Mind is so effective that you only need to cycle it five days on, two days off, for maximum effectiveness. It gives an instant cognitive boost with zero side effects and is one of the best natural nootropics to try.

The World’s Best Nootropic…

Legal nootropics are awesome for year-round brain optimization and protection. But sometimes you find yourself facing a tight deadline and need the ultimate boost to get you through.

When times get tough, try Modafinil — the world’s best nootropic.

Modafinil is an extremely powerful ‘eugeroic’ or wakefulness-promoting agent. It was discovered in France in the mid-1970s and registered there in 1992. Over the past three decades, it has developed a solid reputation as an effective treatment for a range of sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy and Shift Work Sleep Disorder.

But Modafinil also offers numerous ‘off-prescription’ benefits and has become renowned as the world’s premier smart drug.

A single 100-200mg dose of Modafinil can:

  • Dramatically increase attentiveness
  • Boost concentration
  • Enhance alertness [23]
  • Improve learning
  • Optimize working memory [24]

But, how does it work?

Modafinil works by elevating histamine levels in the hypothalamus region of the brain [25], which increases wakefulness and prevents sleep [26]. Modafinil binds to the dopamine transporter and inhibits the reuptake of dopamine [27]. This increases the amount of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the prefrontal cortex and has been shown to significantly improve functions in several cognitive domains including working memory and episodic memory [28].

Modafinil is great for studying, cramming, or meeting a tight deadline — as it reduces reactivity to fear stimuli in the brain region involved in anxiety, the amygdala [29]. Users can think more clearly and work more productively even if they are stressed or worried.

In short, Modafinil is the world’s best nootropic for cognitive enhancement for one simple reason:

Nothing else comes close.

Is Modafinil Legal in China?

Modafinil in China is an interesting topic.

In China, Modafinil is a prescription medicine, meaning that it is only legal to obtain or possess if you have been legitimately prescribed it. A Chinese doctor will only prescribe Modafinil to patients who have been diagnosed with either narcolepsy or Sleep Shift Work Disorder.

In certain cases, Chinese doctors may prescribe Modafinil to foreign visitors or expats based on a letter or prescription from a doctor in that patient’s home country. But this is rare.

If you are visiting China, it is legal to bring a personal supply of Modafinil into the country to last for the duration of your visit. You will need to declare this at customs and provide a copy of the prescription or a letter from your doctor stating that you are being treated with the medicine.

Technically, it is illegal to order Modafinil online and have it shipped to you from overseas without a prescription. Yet although China has notoriously strict drug laws, Modafinil isn’t a narcotic, and almost all shipments get through just fine.

In fact, we’ve yet to hear of anyone having any issue getting a personal supply (90 days’ worth) of Modafinil shipped to their address in China.

Our recommended Modafinil vendor ships directly from Singapore and guarantees all shipments to addresses in mainland China. They even offer a free reshipment or a full refund in the highly unlikely event that the order doesn’t get through.

In the extremely rare event that your shipment is stopped by customs, we’d surmise that the worse that happens is you are sent a letter asking for proof of a prescription. But we’ve honestly never heard of this happening before.

So basically, you have no risk.

But again, this isn’t legal advice and we always encourage you to abide by Chinese laws at all times.

Top “Social” Nootropic

The top “social” nootropic in China right now is Phenibut, aka ‘the happy pill’. It is commonly sold online as a dietary supplement or sleep aid and currently rules the roost as the ultimate party pill.

A 500mg dose of Phenibut can:

  • Dramatically lower stress levels
  • Improve overall well-being
  • Enhance working memory, verbal fluency, and alertness [30]
  • Promote restful sleep
  • Increase mood and clarity

Phenibut is so effective at alleviating nervousness and lowering social anxiety that it has become a popular alternative to alcohol. It gives users a warm ‘buzz’ that makes you feel more sociable and confident while remaining fully in control at all times. Many people take Phenibut before going out as an alternative to ‘pre-drinks’.

Unlike alcohol, which can make you feel drowsy or unable to function properly, Phenibut offers a cool, calm feeling of euphoria that lasts for hours. It is perfect for anyone trying to avoid alcohol for health reasons – especially fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders who want to avoid the sugar and ethanol found in alcoholic drinks, which have been shown to increase cortisol and lower levels of free testosterone [31].

So, how does Phenibut work?

Phenibut is an analog of GABA and was first synthesized in Russia in the 1960s. It works by blocking impulses sent to the brain through nerve cells, which makes users feel more sociable and outgoing.

Phenibut is prescribed in Russia to treat a range of conditions including anxiety, insomnia, and depression [32]. As an analog of GABA, Phenibut works by blocking impulses sent to the brain through nerve cells. This makes users feel more sociable and outgoing, and less anxious.

Is Phenibut Legal in China?


There are currently no laws prohibiting the sale or use of Phenibut in China. It is available online and is commonly marketed as either a dietary supplement to promote relaxation or sleep aid.

Our recommended Phenibut vendor offers fast shipments to China and even offers a free reshipment or a full refund in the highly unlikely event that an order doesn’t get through.

Basically, you have no risk.

But again, this isn’t legal advice and we always encourage you to abide by Chinese laws.


Nootropics China | Verdict

If you were curious about buying nootropics in China, that’s about it.

This detailed guide has covered everything from the best natural and synthetic nootropics to buy, their side-effects and safety, legality, and everything else in between!

While buying smart drugs in China presents some unique issues, we believe the information in this guide will help people buy the best nootropics in the world while in the country.

Click here to order Modafinil while in China!


  1. Giurgea C. Vers une pharmacologie de l’activité intégrative du cerveau. Tentative du concept nootrope en psychopharmacologie [Pharmacology of integrative activity of the brain. Attempt at nootropic concept in psychopharmacology]. Actual Pharmacol (Paris). 1972;25:115-156.
  2. DeKosky ST, Williamson JD, Fitzpatrick AL, et al. Ginkgo biloba for prevention of dementia: a randomized controlled trial [published correction appears in JAMA. 2008 Dec 17;300(23):2730]. JAMA. 2008;300(19):2253-2262. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.683
  3. Nehlig A, Daval JL, Debry G. Caffeine and the central nervous system: mechanisms of action, biochemical, metabolic and psychostimulant effects. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1992;17(2):139-170. doi:10.1016/0165-0173(92)90012-b
  4. Ling J, Kritikos M, Tiplady B. Cognitive effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation. Behav Pharmacol. 2009;20(8):673-679. doi:10.1097/FBP.0b013e3283323c2a
  5. Winnicka K, Tomasiak M, Bielawska A. Piracetam–an old drug with novel properties?. Acta Pol Pharm. 2005;62(5):405-409.
  6. Brühl AB, d’Angelo C, Sahakian BJ. Neuroethical issues in cognitive enhancement: Modafinil as the example of a workplace drug?. Brain Neurosci Adv. 2019;3:2398212818816018. Published 2019 Feb 15. doi:10.1177/2398212818816018
  7. Sierpina VS, Wollschlaeger B, Blumenthal M. Ginkgo biloba. Am Fam Physician. 2003;68(5):923-926.
  8. Wikoff D, Welsh BT, Henderson R, et al. Systematic review of the potential adverse effects of caffeine consumption in healthy adults, pregnant women, adolescents, and children. Food Chem Toxicol. 2017;109(Pt 1):585-648. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2017.04.002
  9. Gouliaev AH, Senning A. Piracetam and other structurally related nootropics. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1994;19(2):180-222. doi:10.1016/0165-0173(94)90011-6
  10. Lopes E, Pereira D, da Silva Behrens NS, et al. Cataplexy as a side effect of modafinil in a patient without narcolepsy. Sleep Sci. 2014;7(1):47-49. doi:10.1016/j.slsci.2014.07.015
  11. Zheng KH, Khan A, Espiridion ED. Phenibut Addiction in a Patient with Substance Use Disorder. Cureus. 2019;11(7):e5230. Published 2019 Jul 24. doi:10.7759/cureus.5230
  12. Ahuja T, Mgbako O, Katzman C, Grossman A. Phenibut (β-Phenyl-γ-aminobutyric Acid) Dependence and Management of Withdrawal: Emerging Nootropics of Abuse. Case Rep Psychiatry. 2018;2018:9864285. Published 2018 Apr 30. doi:10.1155/2018/9864285
  13. Kongkeaw C, Dilokthornsakul P, Thanarangsarit P, Limpeanchob N, Norman Scholfield C. Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;151(1):528-535. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.008
  14. Grieb P. Neuroprotective properties of citicoline: facts, doubts and unresolved issues. CNS Drugs. 2014;28(3):185-193. doi:10.1007/s40263-014-0144-8
  15. Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009;23(3):367-372. doi:10.1002/ptr.2634
  16. Paarmann K, Prakash SR, Krohn M, et al. French maritime pine bark treatment decelerates plaque development and improves spatial memory in Alzheimer’s disease mice. Phytomedicine. 2019;57:39-48. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2018.11.033
  17. Fond G, Micoulaud-Franchi JA, Brunel L, et al. Innovative mechanisms of action for pharmaceutical cognitive enhancement: A systematic review. Psychiatry Res. 2015;229(1-2):12-20. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2015.07.006
  18. Sukumaran NP, Amalraj A, Gopi S. Neuropharmacological and cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst – A review on its mechanistic aspects. Complement Ther Med. 2019;44:68-82. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2019.03.016
  19. Iulia C, Ruxandra T, Costin LB, Liliana-Mary V. Citicoline – a neuroprotector with proven effects on glaucomatous disease. Rom J Ophthalmol. 2017;61(3):152-158. doi:10.22336/rjo.2017.29
  20. Tan MS, Yu JT, Tan CC, et al. Efficacy and adverse effects of ginkgo biloba for cognitive impairment and dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;43(2):589-603. doi:10.3233/JAD-140837
  21. Damar U, Gersner R, Johnstone JT, Schachter S, Rotenberg A. Huperzine A as a neuroprotective and antiepileptic drug: a review of preclinical research. Expert Rev Neurother. 2016;16(6):671-680. doi:10.1080/14737175.2016.1175303
  22. Glade MJ, Smith K. Phosphatidylserine and the human brain. Nutrition. 2015;31(6):781-786. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2014.10.014
  23. Iglseder B. Doping für das Gehirn [Doping for the brain]. Z Gerontol Geriatr. 2018;51(2):143-148. doi:10.1007/s00391-017-1351-y
  24. Battleday RM, Brem AK. Modafinil for cognitive neuroenhancement in healthy non-sleep-deprived subjects: A systematic review. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;25(11):1865-1881. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.07.028
  25. Ishizuka T, Sakamoto Y, Sakurai T, Yamatodani A. Modafinil increases histamine release in the anterior hypothalamus of rats. Neurosci Lett. 2003;339(2):143-146. doi:10.1016/s0304-3940(03)00006-5
  26. Brown RE, Stevens DR, Haas HL. The physiology of brain histamine. Prog Neurobiol. 2001;63(6):637-672. doi:10.1016/s0301-0082(00)00039-3
  27. Zolkowska D, Jain R, Rothman RB, et al. Evidence for the involvement of dopamine transporters in behavioral stimulant effects of modafinil. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2009;329(2):738-746. doi:10.1124/jpet.108.146142
  28. Minzenberg MJ, Carter CS. Modafinil: a review of neurochemical actions and effects on cognition. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008;33(7):1477-1502. doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1301534
  29. Rasetti, R., Mattay, V. S., Stankevich, B., Skjei, K., Blasi, G., Sambataro, F., Arrillaga-Romany, I. C., Goldberg, T. E., Callicott, J. H., Apud, J. A., & Weinberger, D. R. (2010). Modulatory effects of modafinil on neural circuits regulating emotion and cognition. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 35(10), 2101–2109.
  30. Owen DR, Wood DM, Archer JR, Dargan PI. Phenibut (4-amino-3-phenyl-butyric acid): Availability, prevalence of use, desired effects and acute toxicity. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2016;35(5):591-596. doi:10.1111/dar.12356
  31. Haugvad A, Haugvad L, Hamarsland H, Paulsen G. Ethanol does not delay muscle recovery but decreases testosterone/cortisol ratio. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014;46(11):2175-2183. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000339
  32. Lapin I. Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug. CNS Drug Rev. 2001;7(4):471-481. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.2001.tb00211.x


After utilizing nootropics for the better part of a decade, I realized the potent results these products produce -- with regards to productivity and cognitive enhancement. Soon thereafter, I became obsessed with finding the premier smart drugs on the market. Then using them to improve my life. When I'm not devouring everything I can about nootropics and the science behind why they work, you'll find me traveling around the world or in the gym.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: