In This Article
Rejuvenate Your Mind
Bacopa monnieri is the most potent and effective nerve and brain tonic in the Ayurvedic apothecary.
It has been used for centuries to help people of all ages learn and remember new information. It has also been traditionally used to support mood and cognitive function.
In the ancient Vedic texts, Bacopa is classified as a rasayana, which means it provides deep rejuvenation for the nervous system and brain function.
Bacopa for Memory
A 2002 study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that using Bacopa monnieri for three months might positively support memory. When 76 participants were tested on retention of new information, the placebo group forgot the information more quickly than the group taking Bacopa monnieri. (1)
For Cognitive Function and Mood
Bacopa supports healthy moods in the elderly. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study at Helfgott Research Institute, National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, 48 participants 65 or older were given a daily dose of 300mg of Bacopa or a placebo for 12 weeks.
While the participants did not have clinical signs of age-related cognitive decline, those who took Bacopa showed improved word recall memory scores in comparison to the placebo group. The Bacopa group also showed significant mood elevation and support after taking the supplement when compared to the placebo group. (2)
Bacopa Fights Stress
It’s also interesting that in this study, which appeared in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, heart rate decreased in the Bacopa group over time, but increased in the placebo group. This study provides further evidence that Bacopa has the potential for safely enhancing cognitive performance and supporting a healthy stress response in the elderly, without the risk of side effects. (2)
How does Bacopa work?
A number of compounds have been identified in Bacopa, including bacosides A and B, two chemicals that improve the transmission of impulses between nerve cells in the brain. These bacosides support cognitive function, making it easier to learn and remember new information. (3, 4) Bacopa also supports the neurotransmitters acetylcholine (important for learning and memory, [5, 6]) serotonin and GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), neurotransmitters that promote relaxation. (7) Bacopa has also been found to be one of a few select herbs called a Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This means it supports the healthy replication of brain cells. (8)
How safe is Bacopa?
Bacopa is safe and effective for people of all ages, including children, without any known side effects. It does not contain addictive ingredients and can be used indefinitely.
- Roodenrys S, et al. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002 Aug;27(2):279-81.
- Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Jul;14(6):707-13.
- Singh HK, Dhawan BN. Neuropsychopharmacological effects of the Ayurvedic nootropic Bacopa monniera Linn. (Brahmi). Indian J Pharmacol 1997;29:S359–S365.
- 27. Singh HK, Rastogi RP, Srimal RC, Dhawan BN. Effect of bacosides A and B on avoidance responses in rats. Phytother Res 1988;2:70–5.
- Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology 2001;156:481–4.
- Bhattacharya SK, Kumar A, Ghosal S. Effect of Bacopa monniera on animal models of Alzheimer’s disease and perturbed central cholinergic markers of cognition in rats. In: Siva Sanka DV, ed. Molecular Aspects of Asian Medicine. New York: PJD Publications, 2000.
- Ganguly GK, Malhtora CL. Some neuropharmacological and behavioral effects of an activefraction from Herpestis monniera Linn (Brahmi). Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1967;11:33–43.
- Perlmutter D. The Brain Grain 2013