Although the term "Nootropic" might seem new it actually has been around for quite awhile now, 1964 to be exact. The actual term Nootropic was born in 1972 by a chemist from Romania name Corneliu E. Giurgea. Piracetam(a nootropic) was first synthesized in 1964 by Corneliu E. Giurgea.
Giurgea created a basic outline/list of components and aspects that nootropics should follow.
They are as follows:
- Have little to no side effects
- Low Toxicity
- Lack of "Pharmacology/Pharmaceuticals" of Psychotropic Drugs (chemicals/man-made drugs)
- Enhance Learning
- Enhance Memory
- Help protect the brain against chemical injuries
- Help protect the brain against physical injuries
If you'd like to learn more about Corneliu E. Giurgea, you'll be happy to know that he has written three books(two written in French). You can find his books on Amazon.
What are Nootropics?
So what exactly is a Nootropic? According to the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health Nootropics are
"Nootropics are drugs which ameliorate the functional "plasticity" of the central nervous system. The nootropic drug acts at the telencephalic level through a series of bioenergetic, hemorheological, microcirculatory and neurochemical mechanisms. As to this, recent data show a facilitation by piracetam, of the efficiency of the central cholinergic system."
They are often referred to as a "smart drug" or a "memory enhancer". Smart drugs are known as drugs that help improve mental functions.
 - source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corneliu_E._Giurgea
 - source:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6660010
Stay tuned for part to where will we will discuss, How do Nootropics Work?