Bacopa monnieri, also known as water hyssop, is a creeping perennial herb native to the warm wetlands of India and Australia. It has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, where it’s called “Brahmi,” after the god Brahma, who is the supreme intellectual of the universe.
The benefits of bacopa monnieri are believed to be many. It is said that ancient Ayurvedic scholars used the herb to sharpen the intellect and memorize lengthy academic texts. Nowadays, bacopa is categorized as a nootropic, which are natural substances that can boost brain performance.
Modern research has found that bacopa monnieri is rich in a class of potent compounds called bacosides, which seem to be responsible for its neuroprotective effects. Here are 5 research-backed bacopa monnieri benefits.
Evidence shows bacopa monnieri can enhance brain function, improve attention, and boost memory.
The bacosides in bacopa monnieri have been shown to slow down age-related cognitive decline by helping brain cells and tissue regenerate. In one mice study, bacopa monnieri supplementation increased neuron’s dendritic length and branching in the brain. It also increased their memory retention and spatial learning.
Additionally, a 2014 review of nine studies with over 500 participants reported improvements in brain function, cognition, and learning speed after taking Bacopa monnieri. Memory was also significantly enhanced, as were learning speed and spatial awareness.
Another study of 46 healthy adults published in Psychopharmacology also reported that bacopa monnieri boosted memory, learning rate, and visual information processing.
Stress and Anxiety
We all feel stressed from time to time, but when it becomes chronic, it can have severe consequences on your health. Stress can increase your risk of developing a chronic disease, is a contributing factor for migraines and headaches, and contributes to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Bacopa monnieri is considered an adaptogenic herb, which are natural compounds that may counteract the effects of stress in the body. In a double-control trial of 17 adults taking either a bacopa monnieri supplement or a placebo, the herb successfully reduced stress and enhanced mood during demanding tasks.
In another study of 54 older men taking 300 mg of bacopa every day, the herb significantly reduced depression and anxiety scores after 12 weeks. And another 12-week study also reported antidepressant and anxiolytic effects after supplementing with bacopa.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that makes it hard to focus, sit still, and control your impulses. Research suggests that several natural compounds, including bacopa monnieri, could help reduce the symptoms of ADHD.
In a study of 120 children diagnosed with ADHD, taking a herbal compound of bacopa monnieri, centella asiatica, withania somnifera, and others improved cognition, attention, and impulse control. Another benefit was that the herbal blend was well-tolerated among children.
Another study of 31 children between the ages of 6 and 12 reported that taking 225 mg of bacopa monnieri for 6 months significantly improved ADHD symptoms, including impulsivity, inattention, and restlessness in 85% of children.
Bacopa monnieri is loaded with powerful antioxidants that can protect the body against free radicals and oxidative stress damage. Research shows that oxidative stress caused by free radicals can lead to chronic inflammation. And we know that chronic inflammation is associated with many conditions, including cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and more.
In a 2017 laboratory study, researchers found that bacopa monnieri extract inhibits the release of pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines. And other studies have also shown that the herb could inhibit the secretion of other inflammatory enzymes that could be associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
In animal studies, bacopa monnieri has been found to successfully lower high blood pressure and improve circulation. However, more research is necessary to determine if the effects extend to humans. To date, no large clinical trials have been conducted to study whether bacopa monnieri reduces blood pressure or protects against heart disease.
How to Take Bacopa Monnieri
You can find bacopa monnieri in various forms, including capsules, extracts, oils, and herbal blends, like Akeso’s Calm & Clever. In human studies, the standard adult dosage for bacopa monnieri ranges from 300 to 450 mg daily. However, doses can vary depending on the preparation you purchase.
In Ayurvedic medicine, bacopa powder is often mixed with ghee or clarified butter. You can also add it to hot water and take it as a tea one to two times daily.
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