Bacopa monnieri, a plant commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, has an age-old reputation for being an effective and powerful herb helpful for memory and combating stress. Bacopa monnieri, known to most as Brahmi, acts as an adaptogen; which means it helps the body adapt to new or stressful situations
Supporting research & information
1. Supports the Brain
As people age, it’s common for age-related brain degradation to happen. The active compounds in Brahmi, known as bacosides, are beginning to be evaluated for their effects on the brain and human health. Some research has shown the compounds in Brahmi to positively influence brain cells that prompt the regeneration of brain tissue. In one animal study, long-term supplementation with bacosides showed therapeutic value against the rapid degeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Hopefully more will continue to explore its potential benefits for brain health.
2. Promotes Liver Health
The brain is not the only organ that benefits from Brahmi’s health-promoting compounds. The liver is the body’s main detoxifying organ, and studies suggest Brahmi may be useful for encouraging liver function following toxin damage. With the daily onslaught of toxins in our environment and food, it’s no wonder so many seek safe, natural compounds that support proper liver function.
3. Protection Against Neonatal Hypoglycemia
When it comes to newborn infants, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can result in serious and immediate brain damage, inducing future motor and cognitive impairment. Studies have found bacosides to be highly-active compounds that exhibit neuron-protecting effects in hypoglycemic infants. Therefore, many researchers believe that Brahmi extracts may be effective for protecting newborn brains against hypoglycemia-induced brain damage.
4. Positively Impacts Opioid Dependence
Doctors prescribe (and sometimes over-prescribe) opioids, like morphine and oxycodone, for pain management. Although these drugs are effective, their highly-addictive nature is a massive downside. Seventy-seven percent of chronic pain patients also suffer from depression and face an added risk of addiction. Researchers have discovered that bacosides may be helpful for enhancing the benefits of morphine while reducing the “high”, thus decreasing the risk for dependence. In addition, studies indicate that bacosides offer protective benefits for organs commonly affected by opiate toxicity.
5. Fights Systemic Redness and Swelling
Any illness or irritation can cause redness and swelling in the body. No location more dangerous than the brain. Brahmi may be helpful at fighting this. Research supports its use for managing systemic redness in the brain caused by the body’s autoimmune response . Much of the research is ongoing; however, the emerging data offers hope for new therapies in the treatment of chronic discomfort and redness.
6. Encourages Normal Blood Pressure
Brahmi has been shown to increase the utilization of nitric oxide in the body and also appears to encourage vascular muscle function, two benefits that positively influence normal blood pressure. While promoting normal blood pressure is not one of Brahmi’s most well-known uses, the herb may still provide a valuable, natural approach to those seeking this benefit.
7. Strong Antioxidant Activity
Antioxidants… can we get too many of them? Many researchers are evaluating natural plants, herbs, and foods for their antioxidant potential and findings indicate that Brahmi is a good one. It provides protection against oxidative damage, a type of cellular damage caused by free radicals. The herb has also been shown to enhance antioxidant activity in other organs, like the kidneys.
adapted from: 9 Must Know Facts About Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
Bacopa monnieri is a creeping herb native to wetlands of southern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America.
It is a medicinal herb used in Ayurveda, where it is known as “Brahmi” after “Brahma”, the creator God of the Hindu pantheon and“Jalanimba” in India.
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 “Medhyarasayana”–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.
Note: Most of the benefits listed for Bacopa here are studied in animals (as is most herbs) and not humans. However, there has been a long history of its usage in people, with many positive effects.
Bacopa Reduces Stress/Anxiety
Bacopa reduced cortisol and stress in healthy humans (DB-PCT). Bacopa reduced retrograde amnesia produced by immobilization-induced stress in healthy humans (DB-PCT). Bacopa is a component of “Perment”, a herbal formulation which is effective for stress and depression in humans. Bacopa was an effective anti-stress agent against acute and chronic stress in rats. Bacopa extracts were used as a potent therapeutic agent in treating the mixed anxiety-depressive disorder (MAD) in mice. Bacopa normalized stress-induced alteration in blood corticosterone and levels of monoamines like noradrenaline (NA), Serotonin (5-HT) and Dopamine in rat brains. Bacopa showed antidepressant activity when tested on forced swimming and tail suspension in mice.
Bacopa Enhances Memory
Bacopa is traditionally used for enhancing learning and memory. Bacopa extract had positive effects on learning and memory following 12 weeks administration in post-menopausal women (Pilot study). An Australian survey showed Bacopa to be one of the most popular aids for memory among 60-64-year-old consumers. Bacopa improved memory free recall in human subjects with dementia or significant cognitive impairment (RCTs).
Bacopa showed a significant effect on retention of new information and also decreased the rate of forgetting newly acquired information in humans (DB-RCT). Bacopa significantly improved memory acquisition and retention in healthy older people (DB-RCT). Bacopa had memory- and learning-enhancing effects on long-term dosing in patients with anxiety neurosis (DB-RCT). Bacopa leaf extracts significantly enhanced the learning and retention of memory in postnatal rats. Bacopa was effective against the scopolamine-induced impairment of spatial memory in mice. Bacopa reversed diazepam-induced amnesia in mice. Mechanism: The anti-amnesic (deficit in memory) effects of Bacopa suggest likely a GABA pathway.
Bacopa Protects the Brain
Bacopa is known as an effective “brain food” as it nourishes the brain and improves intelligence and memory. An oil prepared with Bacopa is used for habitual headaches in humans. Bacopa inhibits acetylcholinesterase and activates choline acetyltransferase, which increases acetylcholine [R]. Bacopa also increased blood flow to the brain in humans and rats. Bacopa (Bacosides) is effective against age-related chronic neuroinflammation in the rat brain. Bacopa (Bacosides) significantly reduced the age-dependent elevation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, iNOS protein expression, total nitrite and lipofuscin content in aged rat brain cortex. Constituents present in Bacopa extract had neuronal dendritic growth stimulating properties in adult rats.
Bacopa protected neurons from beta-amyloid-induced cell death in primary cortical cultures. Bacopa was effective in reversing the aluminum mediated oxidative damage in the cerebellum of aged rats. Bacopa has a protective effect on methylmercury-induced oxidative stress in the cerebellum of rats. Bacopa (Bacosides) aids in the repair of damaged neurons. Bacopa exerts a protective effect against DNA damage in astrocytes (a star-shaped glial cell of the CNS). Mechanism: Bacopa enhanced protein kinase activity and increased protein in the hippocampus of humans.
Bacopa has an Antifatigue effect
Bacopa extract (Bacoside) improves various impairments associated with physical fatigue in rats.
Bacopa monnieri displays in vitro antioxidant and cell-protective effects. In animals, it also inhibits acetylcholinesterase, activates choline acetyltransferase, and increases cerebral blood flow.
Several studies have suggested that Bacopa monnieri extracts may have protective effects in animal models of neurodegeneration. Small clinical trials in humans have found promising evidence for memory recall but research for other cognitive domains remains in its infancy. Bacopa monnieri (waterhyssop, brahmi thyme-leafed gratiola, water hyssop, herb of grace, Indian pennywort) is a perennial, creeping herb native to the wetlands of southern and Eastern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. B. monnieri is an herb used in Ayurveda, where it is also known as "Brahmi", after Brahmā, the creator God of the Hindu pantheon.
Bacopa monnieri is an ancient herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to enhance brain function. Several studies have found that Bacopa monnieri supplements can speed up information processing in your brain, reduce reaction times and improve memory.
Bacopa monnieri contains active compounds called bacosides, which protect your brain from oxidative stress and improve signaling in your hippocampus, an area of your brain in which memories are processed.
The effects of Bacopa monnieri are not felt immediately. Therefore, doses of 300‒600 mg should be taken for several months for maximum benefit.
Bacopa monnieri is an herbal supplement that has been shown to improve memory and information processing when taken for several months.