In the age of “smart” – smart phones, smart inboxes, smart folders, smart cars, and smart drugs, it’s a relief when we can look into the ancestral pharmacopeia of Ayurvedic wisdom to find something like Bacopa monnieri also known as brahmi but not the same as Gota Kola, which is also called “brahmi”, (1) water hyssop, a truly an amazing overall brain tonic. This is likely why Bacopa is being touted as a Bacopa monnieri is a nootropic, capable of promoting longevity while supporting anxiety, thyroid health (2)and cognitive enhancement.
Here’s a couple ways Bacopa can be a brilliant addition to your health regimen.
Cognitive Function, Memory And Depression
In Ayurveda, Bacopa is known for its supportive powers to cognition, memory, and is known to promote “optimal brain function”. Dozens of studies have been conducted in the last 20 years, and more are being conducted as the science has been revealing how Bacopa greatly “increases synaptic activity and the speed of nerve transmission and impulses.” This means your thinking process actually gets faster, and your ability to make connections grows as overall memory recall, improves. This proven outcome is due to the fact that memory is enriched due to increasing the levels of Acetylcholine in the brain, (one of the known benefits of consuming Bacopa monnieri) and can be measured in studies, visibly. As well as inhibiting inflammation in the brain. Acetylcholine (3) is the name of the neurotransmitter responsible for conveying synaptic “messages” from one of your brain cells to another. It also shows positive benefits to those suffering depression.“According to Drug Digest, animal studies of bacopa’s effectiveness in treating anxiety and depression have produced positive results, finding that bacopa was nearly as effective as common prescription anti-anxiety medications, but without the side effects.” – UPMC
While many studies have proven bacopa’s benefits in both long and short-term memory forth those consuming the herb, double-blind placebo-controlled independent-group found it to “improve higher order cognitive processes” according to University of Michigan Health. So, it’s really wonderful for young teens or college students who may be having issues with focus, memory or anxiety, as it leads to “the increase of learning-associated synaptic machinery”.
The Aging Mind and Alzheimer’s
It’s seems to be especially beneficial for anyone over the age of 40, as it keeps brain health high and supports a sharp memory recall. Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial study with a placebo run-in of 6 weeks and a treatment period of 12 weeks, in the Portland area worked with those 65 or older using S=standardized B. monnieri extract at 300 mg/day or a similar placebo tablet orally for 12 weeks. Only the Bacopa group improved! The placebo group was unchanged. The scientists said this provided more evidence that bacopa “has potential for safely enhancing cognitive performance in the aging” (4).
Did you know that 77% of people with chronic pains also have a degree of medically treatable depression? And the most common prescription for pain are opioids, even though they have proven a narrower safety index due side effects, least of all: the epidemic of dependence. Thankfully good science is being done to ascertain better options, and bacopa is one of them. Studies are showing that bacopa monnieri, […] has a strong antidepressant effect and significant antinociceptive effect[s], which is comparable to the effect of morphine (5) via adenosinergic, opioidergic, and adrenergic mechanisms.”
Simply Brilliant stuff. It’s really gentle yet powerful stuff.
The best way to take it is the traditional whole plant that has been powdered and encapsulated.
Contraindications: Bacopa monnieri interacts with the dopamine and serotonergic systems, (6) but its main mechanism concerns promoting neuron communication. It does this by enhancing the rate at which the nervous system can communicate by increasing the growth of nerve endings, also called dendrites. Bacopa monnieri is also an antioxidant. Women who are pregnant or nursing should first talk to their doctor before taking. May cause sleepiness if taken in high doses. Taking Bacopa monnieri on an empty stomach may rarely cause nausea, cramping, bloating, and diarrhea. (7)