Bacopa monnieri: Medicinal and nootropic uses

13/02/2015 Tags: all

Please note: This article is for entertainment purposes only. We do not encourage intake of Bacopa monnieri or any nootropig drugs. Any undesirable effects from intake of this nootropic agent are sole responsibility of the user.

Also known as

Brahmi, water hyssop, Indian penny wort, thyme-leafed gratiola, herb of grace

Bacopa monnieri is known as “brahmi” in Ayurvedic  medicine tradition after “Brahma,” the creator in Hindu religion.

What is bacopa monnieri?

Bacopa monnieri, more commonly known as brahmi, is an herb that has been used in Ayurveda for longevity and for treating a host of conditions such as memory problems and anxiety. It has been used as an intellectual augmenting agent and is currently being studied for its potential neuroprotective and neuropsychological enhancing properties. Numerous studies have shown that brahmi is comprised of many active components including a fair number of saponins and alkaloids. Its major components however include Bacosides A and B and steroidal saponins.

What does bacopa monnieri looks like?

Brahmi is a perennial, creeping herb that is native to the swamplands of Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, North America, South America and southern India. It has white, small flowers and its leaves are described as oblong, juicy organized oppositely on its stems. Brahmi is able to live on water, swamplands and slightly briny waters making it a popular aquarium decoration.

Bacopa monnieri as a nootropic agent

Bacopa monnieri is considered as a natural nootropic agent. Numerous studies have shown that it has the ability to improve cognitive functions, brain health and memory similar to all nootropic drugs. It is even considered as the natural herb counterpart of piracetam. Brahmi is more potentthan most natural nootropic agents. Although it might not yield the efficiency of other commercial nootropics when used alone, it makes a fantastic addition to your favorite nootropic stack. Bacopa monnieri can be bought as it is or stacked with some nootropic mixes.

Traditional uses of bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri was traditionally used  by Indians to treat a host of medical conditions including asthma, epilepsy, ulcers, tumors, inflamed spleen, inflammations, skin problems, leprosy, anemia, indigestion and many other diseases. It has been used to increase intelligence and memory as well as treat anxiety.

Nootropic effects of bacopa monnieri

Memory enhancement

Studies have shown that bacopa monnieri may enhance the formation of memory through improving neuronal transmission (via proliferation of dendrites) and through serotonergic transmission that influences neurotransmission of acetylcholine. Improved dendritic proliferation and neuronal transmission are associated with greater memory map formation. More importantly, these memory enhancing effects encompasses individuals on all walks of life. Alongside gotu kola and milk, bacopa is said to be very effective in boosting brain powers of children.

Administration of bacopa monnieri on healthy individuals positively influences retention of learned information. This nootropic drug is able to decrease the rate of short term memory while increases recall speed. Daily supplementation of 300 mgs bacopa can enhance verbal learning, delayed recall and memory. It has also been implicated to decrease memory loss or amnesia through a specific collective mechanism. Indeed, there are a great number of clinical studies that have shown positive and promising results regarding the ability of bacopa as a memory enhancer.

Epilepsy treatment

Several studies have shown that bacopa can help in decreasing the symptoms of epilepsy (e.g. reduction in convulsion prevalence). It prevents epileptic tendencies through decreasing peripheral nervous system activity (PNS), altering GABA receptor sites in the striatal and hippocampal area, and upregulate release of the glutamate receptor, mGluR8 and serotonin receptors which are usually reversed or downregulated during epilepsy.

Stress reduction

Bacopa monnieri is categorized as an adaptogen. It can decrease physiological stress effects with daily supplementation. Studies have shown that bacopa decreases expression of some stress biomarker in the cortex, cerebellum and hippocampus. It works through modulating the body’s response to stress rather than simply suppressing it. Some researchers also hypothesized that bacopa allows stress gene expression preparing the body for the upcoming stress thereby decreasing its potency. It is also discovered to be effective in decreasing the levels of adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine in the brain producing anxiolytic and anti-depressant effects similar to that of the American ginseng.

Neuroprotective properties

It has been noted that bacopa is effective in decreasing the adverse and oxidative effects of certain minerals in the brain (specifically, excessive iron and aluminum). It appears that bacopa is effective  in protecting the brain from mercury induced brain damage as well.

Increases blood flow to the brain

Some studies have shown that bacopa can increase cerebral blood flow increasing the circulation of oxygen and nutrients in the brain. It also appears that it can help in decreasing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure through vasodilation.

Other than the abovementioned positive effects, minimal evidence shows that it is effective in treating anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.