Bacopa Monnieri Leaf & Herbal Extract – The Most Powerful Brain Health Supplement?
For thousands of years, Bacopa Monnieri has been used for a wide variety of health benefits.
In this article we dive into the history of bacopa, what are the benefits of bacopa, the side effects of bacopa, standard uses, dosages, and where to find the best sources of bacopa.
Read on to discover how one of the most amazing plants has helped thousands of people for thousands of years
The history of Bacopa Monnieri as a source of healing and health for people
When searching for the single most powerful natural supplement for brain health, better thinking, sharper focus, and improved memory retention a darn good place to begin that search would be the one plant named after the Hindu god of creation.
According to Hindu religion Brahmā is responsible for all creation. So having been named after the Hindu god of creation, Bacopa Monnieri or Brahmi as it is also known as comes with some great expectations.Let’s see if it lives up to those expectations…
In traditional Ayurvedic treatments bacopa has been the go-to treatment for epilepsy, asthma, ulcers, tumors, inflammation, and even leprosy.
The reason you see it used for such a wide variety of treatments is that it tends to show positive effects for a wide assortment of ailments.
Specifically, in the last 50 years, Bacopa monnieri has been the focus of a great deal of scientific research on
- brain health,
- memory improvement,
- cognitive enhancement,
- and anxiety reduction.
This recent science is pointing to bacopa monnieri as one of the most powerful and natural nootropic substances you can find.
We would speculate this is why you see it used in such a wide variety of traditional treatments.
When you heal the brain, all your other body systems tend to work better. So, because bacopa has such beneficial effects on the brain you also see lots of subsequent health improvements.
Some of the recent science behind bacopa has been testing to see the beneficial effects (if any) on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, memory improvement, anxiety reduction, and help with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The results look very promising. . . see below
What is Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa monnieri thrives in soggy, bog-like conditions
and is a creeping, perennial herb found growing in wetlands around the globe.
The plant’s extensive use over the last 7,000+ years has seen bacopa be referred to as
- thyme-leafed gratiola,
- water hyssop,
- herb of grace,
- and Indian pennywort.
You will find bacopa used extensively in the world’s two oldest health practices; Ayurvedic medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine.
It is very easy to conclude some basic assumptions about the effectiveness and safety of the herb from these two ancient medical practices. Both are thousands of years old and continue to be leaders in health and medical practices.
Is there a difference between Brahmi, Bacopa Monnieri and Bacopa extract?
The short answer is no. Bacopa extract is the same as Bacopa Monnieri. It’s also commonly called Brahmi or Brahmin named after the Hindu creator God Brahma. It’s been used in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) as far back as the 6th century A.D.
Brahmi was described in Indian texts such as the Charaka Samhita, Athar-Ved, and Susrutu Samhita as a medhya rasayana–an herb taken to sharpen intellect and help with mental issues, especially when combined with other nootropic herbs like Rhodiola Rosea extract.
The herb was reportedly used by ancient Vedic scholars to memorize lengthy sacred hymns and scriptures. Brahmi /Bacopa Monnieri extract is consistently found in many Ayurvedic preparations prescribed for cognitive dysfunction.
Is Bacopa extract some kind of home remedy?
We’ve probably all heard the term “folk medicine”, right? This is a term for a home remedy that has generally been passed down through word of mouth from generation to generation. Don’t mistake Brahmi/Bacopa extract as just another home remedy without scientific backing though.
After 1400 years of Ayurvedic use, Brahmi has shown real results. The Indian government has invested large amounts of money and resources, and conducted hundreds of studies examining just how it works on the brain, at a cellular level.
A lot of this research into brahmi, has opened other side lines into learning more about anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, metal chelation, amyloid, and cholinergic effects within the body.
More recently researchers have turned their attention to better understanding how Bacopa monnieri extract works on various conditions. Although extracts of Bacopa have been studied and used to treat various disorders for centuries (pain, epilepsy, and inflammation, amongst many) perhaps the most well known use is its benefits in improving memory.
So What Makes Bacopa Monnieri Such A Powerful Nootropic?
First and foremost, bacopa is a natural growing herb. We tend to prefer nature’s solutions over our man-made counterparts.
Bacopa has two powerful pathways towards better brain health and increased brain functioning.
The first pathway is that bacopa is considered an adaptogen. You can think of adaptogen as any ingredient or chemical which helps your body overcome the effects of stress.
The second pathway are bacosides, bacopa's active chemical compounds. These unique bacosides help improve your brain’s ability to communicate.
Bacosides also help promote better kinase functioning in your brain (the enzyme process of breaking down substances to be used by your brain cells).
Think of protein kinases as the hallway monitor for your brain. They are the key regulators of cellular functioning.
With improved protein kinases you get help in repairing damaged brain cells and a boost in the creation of new brain cells which ultimately pays off with increased nerve impulse transmission (all hands on deck and working hard).
The combination of these two massive benefits unique to this plant make it one of the leading natural treatments for improved cognitive functioning.
Why is it used?
Bacopa Monnieri is used in a standardized format, for Alzheimer's disease, improving memory, anxiety, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among many other uses.
An estimated 3.4 million people are affected by dementia in the United States, most of that number will be the elderly. The elderly population (aged over 65) is expected to double by 2030, reaching 72 million, or 20% of the total U.S. population. That’s an epidemic of dementia.
We need weapons in the fight against dementia and Alzheimers, and Bacopa extract shows huge potential in that fight.
What has Brahmi tested positively for?
Bacopa has been shown to have benefits in the treatment of epilsepsy reducing the amount of convulsions.
Brahmi is an adaptogen which means it can reduce the bodies reaction to stress and how it processes it. It’s basically a huge buffer in your brain.
In general, Bacopa Monnieri extract appears to protect the brain from the oxidative damage and adverse effects of minerals on the brain, specifically iron overload.
Bacopa Monnieri has been shown to reducing neural inflammation associated with aging over a period of time and may actually promote neurological anti-aging.
Anxiety and Depression
Bacopa extract is well known for both it’s anti anxiety and stress releaving properties (an adaptogen).
Cerebral Blood Flow
Bacopa Monnieri has been shown to increase cerebral blood flow independent of overall blood pressure. It can also decrease blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic).
Bacopa extract is thought to increase certain brain chemicals that are involved in thinking, learning, and memory. Research suggests that it is also a neural protectant, safe guarding the brains cells from chemicals involved in Alzheimer's disease.
It is a fat soluble extract, and as such should be taken with some type of food containing fat. Something like whole fat yogurt, good oil, etc.
Bacopa Monnieri Reviews From Around The Web:
“My initial experience with Bacopa was pleasantly relaxing. I felt a little buzzed, tired, and my inhibitions generally low anyways, completely disappeared. When I would hang out with friends I would feel as though I was little drunk, and I often felt a subtle body high or euphoria. My dreams were incredibly vivid. I would fall asleep instantly, and wake up with what felt like lifetimes of incredibly vivid and exciting dreams every morning.”
“Bacopa did the opposite for me. I used to have fatigue and now it’s gone.”
“I’ve been taking bacopa everyday for a while now. It has helped my anxiety quite a bit. My memory has increased a fair bit. Both short term and long term memory.”
“Holy sh*t. I’ve been taking bacopa for about a week and the “emotional side” of me has come out of me so much that it’s almost weird. Definitely no placebo.”
“It worked great and gave me a clear mind + less stress + more energy.”“I am pretty impressed by this nootropic. It has been far more effective than any previous nootropic I have tried (piracetam, aniracetam, dmae-the epileptic hypomania trigger, ALCAR).”
“Not like it is turning me into a real (or imagined…) genius but rather it´s giving me a stable good mood, more goal oriented thoughts, a relaxed way of reasoning, more friendly, social and positive in general.”“Bacopa give me a more stable goal oriented mood, which in the end helps me get more done and am happier about doing it.”
“…in fact, like many people have stated, it’s one of the few supplements where i can be certain of the effects it’s having – increased clarity, focus, inner peace etc. only problem is i feel almost *too* calm, almost to the point of complete self-sufficiency.”
Can Bacopa Monnieri Help Improve Memory?
Bacopa’s primary role in helping improve your memory is by enhancing the way your brain communicates.
Primarily, the bacosides delivered from bacopa help with the growth and repair of your brain’s nerve endings called dendrites. With more and better performing dendrites your brain’s ability to retain and recall memories should improve.
Bacopa also has a great effect on reducing anxiety and the incredibly harmful effects of chronic stress on your brain.
We believe chronic stress is one of the most dangerous symptoms facing the world’s population today.
Further in the scientific literature review you can read about the results of several studies specifically researching bacopa monnieri and improved memory functioning.
Other Benefits of Bacopa
Having been a cornerstone treatment in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 70 centuries, bacopa could quite possibly have been used to treat just about every ailment out there.
Our theory is that the herb primarily helps improve brain health which in turn helps improve every other system in your body.
Specifically though, bacopa has been studied to help with:
- Bacopa and Liver Health
- Bacopa and Neonatal Hypoglycemia
- Bacopa Helps with Opioid Dependence
- Bacopa Encourages Normal Blood Pressure
- Bacopa as a Strong Antioxidant
- Epilepsy and Bacopa
- Bacopa as a Treatement for Bronchitis and Asthma
Side Effects and Adverse Reactions To Bacopa Monnieri
We have seen that bacopa is a very powerful plant used for thousands and thousands of years.
Because of the diverse use of this plant across ages, races, and health situations there is a good body of knowledge around side effects and adverse reactions to bacopa.
As with any herbal and medical treatment, we strongly encourage you to consult with your physician before taking any supplements.
Every human is different and has a unique biology which will react differently to any ingestion of chemicals (both naturally occurring and man-made).
That being said, the worst side effects reported from taking bacopa seem to be around upsetting your intestinal tract.
Increased bowel movements, a bit of nausea, cramping, or bloating may occur. And the simplest way to avoid these side-effects would be to ingest the herb with food (always a good idea with most supplements).
We have also seen reports that the beneficial effects of reducing anxiety can also be exaggerated and be overly sedative.
If you experience any of these side effects they tend to go away almost immediately with discontinued use of bacopa.
There is one study we could find on adult male mice which looked at the effects of Brahmi on fertility. The study found that the treatment on mice resulted in a reversible suppression of spermatogenesis without any apparent toxic effects.
The only other negative we could find about bacopa monnieri is that studies indicate that it is not immediately effective.
Studies set expectations for the herb at least 4-6 weeks with even better results seen after 8-12 weeks. If you are looking for a stimulant type effect, bacopa is not the supplement you are looking for.
Side Effects and Adverse Reactions To Bacopa Monnieri
The following are just a few of the scientific research and literature papers you can find on bacopa.
We have extracted the conclusions from the papers for you.
“The results show a significant effect of the Brahmi on a test for the retention of new information. Follow-up tests showed that the rate of learning was unaffected, suggesting that Brahmi decreases the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information.”
“Change from baseline scores indicated positive cognitive effects, notably at both 1 h post and 2 h post BM consumption on the Letter Search and Stroop tasks, suggesting an earlier nootropic effect of BM than previously investigated. There were also some positive mood effects and reduction in cortisol levels, pointing to a physiological mechanism for stress reduction associated with BM consumption. It was concluded that acute BM supplementation produced some adaptogenic and nootropic effects that need to be replicated in a larger sample and in isolation from stressful cognitive tests in order to quantify the magnitude of these effects.”
Phytotherapy Research – Doses of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on Multitasking StressReactivity and Mood
”This meta-analysis suggests that Bacopa monnieri has the potential to improve cognition, particularly speed of attention but only a large well designed ‘head-to-head’ trial against an existing medication will provide definitive data on its efficacy on healthy or dementia patients using a standardized preparation.”
Journal of Ethnopharmacology –
cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract
”There is some evidence to suggest that Bacopa improves memory free recall with evidence for enhancement in other cognitive abilities currently lacking perhaps due to inconsistent measures employed by studies across these cognitive domains. Research into the nootropic effects of Bacopa is in its infancy, with research still yet to investigate the effects of Bacopa across all human cognitive abilities. ”
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine –
The Cognitive-Enhancing Effects of Bacopa monnieri
“Therefore, in view of the important activities performed by this plant, investigation must be continued in the recently observed actions described in this paper. Moreover, other clinical studies have to be encouraged, also to evidence any side effects and possible interactions between this herbal medicine and synthetic drugs.”
Phytomedicine – Bacopa monniera, a reputed nootropic plant
“The results show a significant effect of the Brahmi on a test for the retention of new information.”
Neuropharmacological Review of theNootropic Herb Bacopa monnieri
“Adverse side effects of BM are rarely reported in humans. The most commonly reported and statistically significant symptoms are nausea, increased intestinal motility, and gastrointestinal upset. It is critical that long-term hematological studies be conducted with humans. In animal models, however, toxicity has been more precisely described.”
Pubmed – Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
on human memory
“Bacopa significantly improved memory acquisition and retention in healthy older Australians. This concurs with previous findings and traditional use.”
Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performancein older persons?
”This study provides further evidence that B. monnieri has potential for safely enhancing cognitive performance in the aging.”
Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly
”The Bacopa monniera product significantly improved performance on the ‘Working Memory’ factor, more specifically spatial working memory accuracy.”
Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly
... and these are just a few of the hundreds of studies we found on Bacopa. You can clearly see the incredible benefits this natural wonder plant provides.
Does Bacopa Monnieri Live Up To The Hype?
I think you can see now why bacopa or Brahmā was named after the Hindu god of creation, right?
Where can I find this?
Bacopa is available both online and in stores. You can buy it alone, or in a formula. It’s one of the most important ingredients in our proprietary brain formula - MindBoost Day.
This potent brain herb has been used for thousands of years to treat any number of ailments. What is most exciting is the research into cognitive improvements when taking the supplement.
In fact, were so amazed by the quantity of research surrounding this little plant, that we used bacopa as the foundation in our effective nootropic - MindBoost Day!