Support Mood + Memory with Ayurvedic Herbs Brahmi + Bacopa

This article will help you understand the differences between these two powerful herbs and how they work together to boost brain function and help keep the central nervous system (CNS) healthy. 

In This Article

What is Brahmi? 

brahmi

Brahmi is a common name for two Ayurvedic herbs used to maintain and enhance brain function. Brahmi is used to mean Bacopa monnieri in South India and Centella asiatica in North India.8 

This article will help you understand the differences between these two powerful herbs and how they work together to boost brain function and help keep the central nervous system (CNS) healthy. 

Bacopa monnieri 

Bacopa, also known as water hyssop and Herpestis monniera, is a creeping perennial plant with small leaves and purple flowers found in warm wetlands. It is native to South India, but commonly grows in the United States. 

bacopa product capsules

Contrary to most brain tonic agents, which stimulate and ultimately deplete brain neurons, bacopa has been shown to nourish the nervous system while boosting brain function, neuroprotection, and memory. The most well-studied constituents of bacopa are known as bacosides, a chemical compound that belongs to the triterpenoid saponin group.  

Bacosides have been shown to boost cerebral blood flow. These brain antioxidants stimulate neurotransmitters, resulting in neuroprotection.1 While bacopa supports many brain mechanisms, it seems to stand out in supporting healthy cognitive function, memory, focus, clarity, mood, and learning.1 

How Does Bacopa Work? 

The brain carries high levels of iron, which is easily oxidized. This makes the brain susceptible to damage from oxidation, much like an iron car is prone to rust. Many of the body’s natural antioxidants cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, and thus cannot prevent oxidative brain damage. However, Bacosides have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, supporting and shielding the brain from oxidizing agents.1 

lifespa image, bacopa, green plant with purple flowers

Bacopa has also been shown to help prevent oxidation of good fats (lipid oxidation) in the brain. This is important, as the brain is predominately made of cholesterol, which is very prone to oxidation damage.1  

New research shows that brain cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) cleans toxins in the brain. These toxins are flushed into brain glymphatics (tiny lymph vessels) in the sagittal sinuses, located in a mohawk on top of the skull. In one study, toxins were injected into the CSF of test subjects. The group that supplemented with bacopa was protected from cognitive decline oxidative damage in the brain and CNS.9 

Bacopa has also been shown to support healthy cerebral blood flow, which is important for numerous reasons. CSF is produced by blood vessels in the base of the brain called the choroid plexus. Here, brain lymph fluid or CSF oozes out and rinses brain ventricles, systematically washing the brain of toxins. It is here that bacopa and its numerous constituents cross the blood-brain barrier. 

In one study, rats were exposed to high levels of cigarette smoke and then measured for brain antioxidants with and without bacopa supplementation. In the brains of the bacopa-supplemented group, researchers found significantly higher levels of the following anti-oxidizing agents: glutathione; superoxide dismutase; and vitamins C, E, and A.7 

lifespa image, increase brain power, graphic, human, clouds

Bacopa is one of just a handful of agents recently identified to increase natural production of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNFs), which support genesis of new neurons. This means bacopa helps us replenish or replace old wornout brain cells with new ones. 

Bacopa was used in conjunction with centella in ancient times to help memorize lengthy Vedic hymns and chants as a part of their tradition.1 Today’s science helps us understand why these two herbs may be better together than apart. 

Centella asiatica: Brahmi 

brahmi leaves and juice

Centella asiatica, also known as Hydrocotyle asiatica, gotu kola, or brahmi in North India, is a small creeping plant with delicate leaves and small white flowers that bear fruit. Centella is generally thought to be more cooling than bacopa, but both are considered good for all three doshas (vatapitta and kapha). Centella can be grown in tropical climates or in the higher cooler elevations of India and China. 

Both herbs have similar active ingredients, but there are distinct differences. Centella, like bacopa, contains triterpenoid saponin members, but they are unique compounds, including: asiaticosidesbrahmosidesbrahminosides, and centellosides. These compounds give centella more diverse properties than the bacosides in bacopa. It supports not only the brain, but also the lymph and skin. 

brahmi brain capsules product

At LifeSpa, we use the term brahmi for Centella asiatica and bacopa for Bacopa monnieri. Below is some compelling evidence for the skin, lymph, and brain benefits of brahmi

Brahmi for Lymph 

Centellosides in centella/brahmi are responsible for skin health and microcirculation. In one study, centella was given to 66 flight passengers traveling economy for three to 12 hours. Subjects were given 60mg of centella extract (roughly equivalent to a 500mg whole herb capsule) two days before the flight, the day of the flight, and for two days after the flight. The results showed significant improvements in microcirculation function compared to the control group. Ankle swelling (common on flights) was lower in those who took the brahmi supplement.5 

airplane sky sunset flight

In another double-blind study, 94 patients who had venous circulation issues and limb heaviness were randomly selected to take 60mg of centella extract per day for three months. The centella group had a significant reduction in limb heaviness and venous circulation was greatly improved.5 

Brahmi for Skin 

For outer skin: One clinical trial evaluated 227 patients with scars or keloids, both caused by excess fibrous tissue buildup after surgery. One group were given centella for 18 months. In the centella group, 116 out of 139, or 82% of participants, experienced relief of their keloid and scar tissue-related symptoms.1 

For inner skin: Centella was shown in one study to significantly increase gastric mucin and glycoprotein secretion, which both maintain structural integrity and function of the stomach lining. This study suggests the stomach lining was protected from harsh aspirin-induced irritation by supplemental Centella asiatica.5 Studies suggest it is the asiaticosides in centella that support the health of both inner and outer skin. 

Brahmi for the Brain 

Numerous studies suggest that brahmi’s brahmosides and brahminosides offer antioxidant, neurotransmitter-boosting, stress hormone-reducing effects. Thus, they detoxify the brain; scavenge free radicals; and support mood, cognitive function, and memory.6 

Both brahmi and bacopa are non-stimulating brain tonics that support mental clarity, cognitive function, memory, mood, and focus. They are neuroprotective, antioxidant, and mood-stabilizing agents.4-6 Centella, however, has unique properties that support skin (inner and outer), lymph, and microcirculation channels.5,6 

Both brahmi and bacopa have been shown to support optimal brain function, but brahmi decongests brain glymphatics, which drain some three pounds of toxins from the brain each year. 

Bacopa increases cerebral circulation, which creates more CSF to wash the brain of toxins, while brahmi enhances glymphatic drainage of damaging brain toxins.4, 5, 6 In concert, they boost brain function, memory, and learning, causing them to share a common name. 

If you are experiencing brain fog, memory issues or have a family history of cognitive concerns then I recommend 1-2 capsules of bacopa and Brahmi Brain with breakfast for sharper brain function and mental clarity and healthy nervous system. Brahmi Brain can also be taken before bed for deep sleep and to support healthy brain lymphatic drainage while you sleep. 

We recommend "Sleep Solutions for Your Body Type": https://lifespa.com/sleep-solutions-for-your-body-type-sleep-deeply-wake-up-refreshed/

References

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225374904_Neuroprotective_Effects_of_Bacopa_monnieri_in_Experimental_Model_of_Dementia 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4124189/ 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22747190 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22074576 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116297/ 
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116297/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16050806
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5976976/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23772955 
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33 thoughts on “Support Mood + Memory with Ayurvedic Herbs Brahmi + Bacopa”

  1. I was hoping you could tell me the best way I could ingest Brahmi in powder form. I have the Bacopa in powder form and am not sure how much to take, i.e., tsp size, 1 or 2? Is water the best liquid to take with it? When the best time to take it… your insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi Janet, thanks for asking. A serving would be 1/4 tsp. You could experiment with taking up to 3/4 tsp’s of Brahmi about 1 hour before going to sleep. Mixed in a few ounces of water or your favorite tea. Be well.

      Reply
          • I heard these herbs can even cure pox. But what’s the dosage then and for how long to take? Does it matter which herb you use?

          • Hi Asta, thank you for the comment and questions. The dosage will vary from person to person as we are all unique and respond differently to herbs. In general, Bacopa may assist more in memory and concentration while Brahmi can offer more relaxation and calmer states of mind. Be well.

  2. I just started taking bacopa capsules. There are reports of some of these herbs containing toxic, heavy metals like lead. On the other hand, bacopa is supposed to be able to act as a “chelating agent” and remove heavy metals from the cns. Anything to be overly concerned about?

    Reply
  3. Can I start my husband on bacopa for his cognitive function?He is taking Brahmi 250 mgms a day.What is the dose of bacopa and Brahmi? Can we give both how much for moderate cognitive impairment. Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Shanta,
      Thanks for your question. Yes, Bacopa can be very supportive for brain health and cognition alongside Brahmi (Centella asiatica). General dosage recommendation for our Bacopa is 1 capsule (500mg) twice per day before meals.
      Here is a link to our Bacopa: http://store.lifespa.com/bacopa.html
      Be Well.

      Reply
  4. Hi there, I’ve taken these before and they are wonderful. I’ve heard the one typically referred to as Bhrami is not good for more than a few weeks at a time while Gotu Kola can be taken for longer periods. Is that true?

    Thank you

    Reply
  5. Brahmi Or Bacopa Extract is a perennial, creeping herb native to the wetlands of southern and Eastern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. Bacopa is a medicinal herb used in Ayurveda, where it is also known as “Brahmi”, after Brahmā, the creator God of the Hindu pantheon.Bacopa monnieri was initially described around the 6th century A.D. in texts such as the Charaka Samhita, Atharva-Veda, and Susrut Samhita as a medhya rasayana (Brain Rejuvenator)–class herb taken to sharpen intellect and attenuate mental deficits. The herb was allegedly used by ancient Vedic scholars to memorize lengthy sacred hymns and scriptures.

    Reply
  6. Hi Doctor John, I m christina from Malaysia
    My son is 17 years old and he is sitting for very inportant exam this year, he is very weak in his study n stressed alot and lack of sleep, could u please advice what is the supplement i can give him.

    My mom is MND / ALS deceases pass 2 years. doctors in Malaysia says It affects her motor neurons, the nerves that supply the muscles, resulting in a breakdown of these nerves at their source the brain and spinal cord. She lost her speech, difficulty in chewing and swallowing.

    Please advice on her conditions, out heart broke to she her suffer like this.

    Reply
  7. Hi there,

    My 7 year old daughter had first seizure when she was in sleep. Luckily we woke up and found it and took her to ER. Blood, urine and chest report came normal but she has to go for EEG .
    I was reading herbal remedy and found that Bacopa is very good herb.
    Can you please guide me if I can give her extract and how much ?
    Thank you

    Reply
  8. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I really enjoyed eading it, you could be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will
    eventually come back later in life. I want to encourage that you continue
    your great job, have a nice holiday weekend!

    Reply
  9. My mom is 82 yrs.suffering from parkinson almost 12 yrs.now. Which one is good for her bacopa or brahmi. And i have a daughter who is suffering from anxiety also. Thanku so much for ur help.

    Reply
  10. Thiis grouρing waѕ based on using DNA sequences, hоwever ᴡas ⅼargely congruent with a preνious research ߋf wood anatomy ( Olen and
    Carlquist, 2002 ).

    Reply
  11. My son is 18 years of age poor in Memory concentration and intelligence own thinking.Sir what would you suggest.He is preparing for Medicine NEET Exams which needs high intelligence.

    Reply
  12. Check out Dr Marco Ruggiero: “The lymph coming from the brain drains in the deep cervical nodes.
    Also the lymph from the mouth, nose and throat drains in the deep cervical nodes. Infection or inflammation in the mouth, nose and throat engorge these nodes. Engorgement and inflammation of these nodes is an obstacle to the flow of lymph from the brain. Lymph accumulates in the meninges and the cortex, metabolites and toxins are not efficiently removed, neuro-inflammation ensues as well as physical disruption of brain connections due to accumulation of fluid as we demonstrated in 2014.”
    He used simple ultrasonography to detect accumulated fluids behind blockages. I disagree strongly with point that blockades are from inflammation and infection. Why? Lymph CAN reverse direction. It is my experience, not a school medicine “ blasphemy”. Older people are full with toxins, and as we can see, younger and younger people( autistic) are getting their share earlier and earlier. One pair of valves in left lymphatic duct and and one pair in right lymphatic duct can “ malfunction”. This “ a little knowledge “ could disrupt economy. Only one school medicine doctor is talking about.
    “Number of industrial chemicals being produced globally grossly underestimated
    https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/number-of-industrial-chemicals-being-produced-globally-grossly-underestimated/4011207.article“.
    Industry is using Nickel, Palladium and others heavy metals, to hydrogenate fluid oils in to solid fats (margarine for example).
    You are free to observe and think.

    Reply

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