Humankind is capable of performing higher mental functions and can store an unlimited memory.
Our brain then uses it to learn new phenomena and information. This is the very reason human kinds are known to be the best among creatures.
There is a scientific fact that human cognitive functions and memory can improve with certain measures.
Some herbs are undoubtedly famous for providing such benefits, and Bacopa Monnieri is one such plant.
Let’s see what this magic herb is and how exactly it helps us in the improvement of our brain function.
Some basic information about Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa Monnieri is a spermatophyte and belongs to Angiosperm subphylum. It is one of the dicotyledonous plants and belongs to Monnieri species.
It is famous as “The Herb of Grace” in some regions of the world. Other common names are Brahmi, Moneywort, Water Hyssop, and Indian pennywort. Bacopa or Brahmi is an aquatic herb and is present abundantly in areas where there are muddy lands, riverbanks, and coastal areas. We can also spot them along the river streams.
The most common areas to find Bacopa Monnieri are Australia, Bahrain, Bhutan, Oman, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America and Eastern parts of present-day India.
We can also find it in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Vietnam, and China. Because of its immense popularity, Bacopa Monnieri has seen the lands of Japan, Singapore, Portugal, and Spain. In these countries, the plant was introduced from other regions of the world.
How to recognize a Bacopa plant?
Due to its great medicinal importance, the herb has got much attention and demand. So, it will be helpful to describe salient features of the plant to differentiate from other similar plants.
Bacopa Monnieri or Brahmi is a perennial plant, which means it stays for longer.
We can identify the beautiful white-blue flowers of Brahmi all year long.
Brahmi being an amphibious plant, loves to make a bed over muddy and marshy places. Celsius Temperature, optimum for its maximum growth, in the range of 16 to 28 degrees is suitable.
Here, we can recognize the leaves as oblong but smaller in size arranged in a flower-like pattern and round apices.
The leaves are thick and juicy. Botanists mention that Bacopa Monnieri leaves are typically 6 mm thick.
Flowers are beautiful and small, and their color ranges from white to lilac. Bacopa flowers are actinomorphic or star-shaped and arranged symmetrically over the plant.
History of Bacopa Monnieri as a medicinal herb
Ayurveda is ancient medicine. It is thousands of years old practice, which has its roots to the Hindu Gods of sages.
Bacopa Monnieri is an equally ancient herb as a part of Ayurveda. This herb has got its name specifically after the Lord Brahma and recognized as one of the most effective herbs in the treatment of mental illness like epilepsy, anxiety, and lack of proper concentration.
We can identify the first description of this herb in the ancient Sanskrit books in the 6th century A.D.
The Great Trilogy, which includes Astanga Hridaya, Sushrita Samhita, and Caraka Samhita and the Athaea-Veda has some mentions of Bacopa plant.
These texts have categorically described Bacopa Monnieri as “Medhya Rasayana.” This means the herb has the ability for intellectual rejuvenation.
These texts have accepted the herb as a star medicine for improving memory, reducing anxiety, and maintaining focus.
For the very reason, the herb is popular among the people even after centuries. Newborn babies get this herb as a part of a ritual in the hope that these babies will acquire great intellect and knowledge.
What are the uses of Bacopa Monnieri?
Bacopa Monnieri and ancient medicine have a long and strong relationship. Bacopa Monnieri is one of the essential herbs in Ayurveda herb usage and famous for a number of uses.
We are enlisting some of the most common and widely accepted benefits of Bacopa Monnieri.
Nootropics are the drugs or substances that we use for improving the cognitive functions of the brain.
Bacopa Monnieri is a worldwide famous Nootropic. Bacopa Monnieri is reportedly used widely for improving the higher brain functions, especially in aging individuals.
We all agree on the fact that aging has a strong effect on memory and other cognitive functions in otherwise healthy individuals.
The use of Bacopa Monnieri reportedly stops the declining cognitive skills of the human brain.
Bacopa alcohol extract has more popularity as a Nootropic agent and has been part of numerous studies.
Some of these studies were extremely careful taken to pin-point the benefits of B.M. as a Nootropic.
2) Improving pathological brain conditions
For the same reasons and probably the same pharmacokinetics, Bacopa Monnieri or Brahmi is believed to improve the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders in any age group.
One study in which a group of 31 diagnosed ADHD children with an age spectrum of 6 to 12 years was taking Bacopa Monnieri extracts.
The extract began to improve the ADHD symptoms in such children in just 6 months.
Another similar study supported the effect of Brahmi and its extracts as an effective method of improving the symptoms of ADHD, but there is still more data required to come to a conclusion.
3) Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
Bacopa Monnieri contains a number of powerful antioxidants.
According to a study published the Journal of Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology in January 2009, Bacopa Monnieri modulates the antioxidant phenomenon in the kidneys and brains of the experimental rats with diabetes.
Extract of this plant was administered once daily for 15 days and levels of anti-oxidative enzymes like catalase and lipid peroxidase were determined in the brain and kidneys of these rats.
In the other group, only Glibenclamide was the drug of treatment.
There was a significant increase in the levels of anti-oxidative enzymes of the diabetic rats using Bacopa Monnieri extract, which supported the idea that Bacopa is capable as an effective antioxidant and enhances the body’s natural defense mechanisms against reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Similarly, Bacopa Monnieri has reportedly reduced the lipoxygenases and cyclooxygenases and similar pro-inflammatory enzymes in experimental test-tubes animals proving its anti-inflammatory role in the body.
4) Antihypertensive properties
Hypertension is one of the deadliest diseases of the world, especially with its complications.
Brahmi or Bacopa Monnieri has got some support as a hypotensive herb that directly affects the diastolic and indirectly lowers the systolic blood pressure leading to an overall hypotensive effect.
An animal study showed reduced readings of both systolic and diastolic blood pressures when normotensive rats received an intravenous Brahmi.
In one study, the mechanism observed was through the release of nitric oxide, which has a direct vasodilator effect.
While in another study with intravenous administration of Bacopa did show antihypertensive effect, but it was not nitric-oxide mediated. (This study was published by J Physiol Biomed Sci from April-September 2012)
There was another 12-week study on 54 healthy individuals who took almost 300 milligrams of Bacopa Monnieri once daily through the oral route.
These individuals showed no significant changes in their blood pressures over a period of three months.
5) Ornamental purposes and pet trade
You were not thinking about it, right??
A beautiful aquatic plant like Bacopa Monnieri nicknamed as B.M. is one of the favorite ornamental plants, especially in India.
The reason behind this is an association of this plant with the Lord Brahma and to God of Ayurveda, who used the herb and taught it to the disciples as one of the most ancient arts of healing and cure.
Since it can also grow well inside waters, it is one of the most commonly used plants in the aquariums as well.
It is adaptable and can grow in a wide range of environments and requires minimum care.
What components in Bacopa Monnieri make it a start medicine?
Bacopa Monnieri is rich in some of the most essential chemical components for the brain, liver, and other organs of the body.
We can state sterol, fatty acids, vitamin A, C, and E, bharmic acid, alkaloids, and bacosides as some of the hundreds of useful components which make it a golden herb rich in ingredients.
All of them can miraculously improve the brain functions of any man.
Mechanism of action of Bacopa Monnieri
The exact mechanisms of action of the plant are yet to describe, but there are numerous studies that have explained the possible ways through which Brahmi improves memory and provides other benefits.
In 2010, a study was published in JACM to know the role of Bacopa Monnieri as a memory enhancer.
It was a randomized control trial with a double-blinded study. 136 subjects volunteered for the study, out of which 88 completed the trial.
Bacopa improved memory acquisition, verbal learning, and memory retention in those individuals at a significant level.
However, it also caused some gastrointestinal side effects like nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea in some cases.
Another study by the Journal of Natural Remedies in 2007 tried to provide some more data on the Nootropic effect of Bacopa.
Bacosides present in the Bacopa plant are famous for the Nootropic effect of the herb. Bacosides in the Bacopa Monnieri is basically triterpenoid saponins.
These saponins are completely neuroprotective and hepatoprotective according to the latest studies as long as safe doses are administered.
Some of the mechanisms or pathways through which bacosides act are the acetylcholinesterase inhibition increased cerebral blood flow and also monoamine potentiation.
For convenience, we have summarized the mechanism of action of the Bacopa Monnieri plant in the following points.
We especially need you to understand how each and every constituent of the plant play an essential role in the overall enhanced neurological performance resulting in the improved higher brain functions.
1) Protection against harmful substances through antioxidants
Antioxidant compounds present in the herb, including vitamins A, E, and C in combination with some proteases protect the brain tissue from the ROS( We must understand here that reactive oxygen species are almost always harmful to the human body, especially brain tissue).
So the first way through which the Bacopa plant is improving brain function is by simply protecting it from the harmful effects.
2) Restoration of already present useful minerals
The use of Bacopa extracts in the experimental rats restored the stores of important minerals like zinc and selenium, which are extremely important for brain functions and several other bodily functions.
3) Limiting the age-related effects of brain
Aging is most definitely a natural phase that has impact to create on the higher brain functions, including memory and cognitive skills.
Lipofuscin, a biological marker of aging, shows a great reduction in the aging experimental rats after taking B.M. extracts on a regular basis.
Similarly, other effects of aging on the brains of these rats reverse with the continuous use of the herb extracts.
This supports the idea of Bacopa Monnieri as a neuroprotective as well as an anti-aging herb.
Who are the right candidates for Bacopa Monnieri?
From all the supportive data and statistics, even I would want to keep this phenomenal herb by my bedside. Because let’s admit it, who doesn’t want to have an I.Q. of 160 and memorize the length statements, figures, and even events in no time.
Bacopa Monnieri works undoubtedly well for almost every individual in all the age groups.
All the clinical literature published about this herb to date supports that it is absolutely safe for the brain, liver, skin, and technically every organ of the body. It is rather protective for them and that too for any individual from 18 years to 65 years of age.
This plant only has one effect on you, and that is POSITIVE!!!!!!
It really doesn’t make any difference which age group you belong to and what profession and lifestyle you possess at the moment.
Bacopa Monnieri will be extremely helpful in improving your memory and learning skills at all levels and activity levels.
If you think you need to have an even better memory, this medicine is an ideal choice and just the right decision for you.
Are there any side effects of the constant use of Bacopa Monnieri?
Well, every sane individual wants a comprehensive and convincing answer to the question.
Some studies for assessing the effects of Bacopa extracts showed minor side effects due to the increased dosage of the Bacopa.
These effects include
- Abdominal cramps
- Increase in the frequency of defecation
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Pregnancy, breastfeeding women and Bacopa use
We still lack sufficient data to advocate or support the safety of Bacopa Monnieri during pregnancy and lactation.
It is generally considered as safe but must be taken with caution.
Similarly, people with any kind of gastrointestinal condition must take with caution and also those who are suffering from thyroid diseases.
We do have literature full of supportive evidence in favor of Bacopa as a safe herb in the experimental rats. But we still need to have a lot more research on its harmlessness for humans because at the end of the day, humans are more interested in improving their higher brain functions.
What is the method of using Bacopa Monnieri?
- If you have decided to use Bacopa to have an obvious enhancement in your memory and learning skills, you need to get a little more of the information about it. After all, a proper portion of magic is required to have a miracle in our lives.
- Read below to know all the dos and don’ts while taking this plant extract.
- Bacopa Monnieri is available in different concentrations and formulations. The oral route is the most preferred and the only route for human beings. To have noticeable effects, use it for at least four to six weeks on a regular basis. Of course, you can stretch it to eight weeks or even 12 weeks.
- While we are encouraged to take it for 12 weeks maximum, there is still no hard and fast rule or written literature about the duration of its use. I know you will be thinking that the duration of usage in studies was 12 weeks. It still doesn’t discourage the use beyond this limit. If you use it for longer, your memory is only getting stronger, I bet.
- The number of milligrams for the adults mainly depends upon the weight and indication of the individual. It ranges from 125 milligrams to 300 milligrams and is entirely based on the individual need. You just need to hang in there until the bacosides present in Bacopa Monnieri unveil themselves and begin the dendritic growth and enhance the neuronal activity in the highest point of your body.
Wait until the neuronal connections in your head make you a super-intellect who remembers more than seven digits in a single read.
- Bacopa Monnieri is no doubt the most celebrated and debated plant because of its benefits with no adverse effects. Herbs like these are blessings for us from mother nature. The cherry on the top is its abundant availability. I am going to grab my three month supply of Bacopa Monnieri. This is going to be my elixir of great mind and greater memory. I am sure you are also thinking the same. I would definitely recommend it because it is totally worth the trial.