Bacopa or Bacopa Monnieri is a highly renowned herb in Ayurveda, that has been documented for its benefits on the brain. There are hundreds of scientific research articles published in peer-reviewed international journals related to Bacopa and Ayurveda. It is widely known as Brahmi in Ayurveda.
It is important to not confuse Bacopa with ‘Gota Kola’, another herb that is also known as Brahmi in other regions of India. The two herbs are often used together to serve the singular purpose of enhancing the mind in both the young and old.
The herb is a particular favorite among students, as it is credited with the ability to enhance learning, memory and concentration. As a rejuvenation herb targeting the brain, Bacopa has been known to boost the intellect, calm the nervous system, maintain tranquility and provide the brain with much-needed energy. The common name for Bacopa is water hyssop in the West and it typically grows in moist places.
Bacopa possesses a distinct taste which is both bitter and sweet at the same time. It is known to pacify the Pitta, while also supporting Vata and Kapha. However, it is important to know that it can increase Vata in excess and should be consumed appropriately, especially for individuals with a Vata dosha or Vata imbalance.
Bacopa literally translates to ‘expansive state of awareness’, as such it helps open up minds and find serenity and content in our lives. This alone makes this herb a must-have in order to cope with the pressures of daily modern lives.
In this article, we will look at all of Bacopa’s proven and potential benefits to our overall wellbeing and understand why this Ayurvedic herb has found itself under the microscope of many prominent health studies worldwide.
Proven Benefits of Bacopa
Boosts Brain Health
Starting with the most obvious, Bacopa is known to boost brain function. After all, it is known as the ‘food for the brain’ in Ayurveda. Ayurveda has been prescribed by Bacopa for thousands of years to render benefits such as enhanced intellect, improved memory, and concentration, as well as soothing the nervous system.
Scientific studies have only proceeded to prove that Bacopa indeed works to improve brain health in more ways than one. A study in mice showed that supplementing with Bacopa improved the mice’s learning and ability to retain information. The same study also showed that the mice that ingested Bacopa also showed dendrites (nerve cells in the brain) that we’re branching out and increasing.
Prevent Anxiety and Stress
Bacopa helps calm and soothe the sadhaka pitta (an aspect of pitta that primarily resides in the brain and heart). As sadhaka pitta is known as the queen of emotional flow, its calming effect results in individuals inheriting a calm and serene temperament.
Many studies into Bacopa, have classified the herb as an adaptogen, meaning it is an effective stress reliever. Bacopa can drastically reduce the cortisol levels in your brain and elevate your mood to tackle both anxiety and stress.
A recent study has also shown that Bacopa actually has effects similar to the drug lorazepam – a prescription medicine for anxiety.
Help Alleviate ADHD Symptoms
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is a kind of neurodevelopmental disorder that can be identified by symptoms like inattentiveness, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity. If recent studies are to be reviewed, then Bacopa can prove to be an effective herb in reducing the symptoms of ADHD in children and adults.
In a study conducted on 31 children, aged between 6-12, it was found that those who took regular doses of Bacopa Monnieri extract, experienced drastically reduced symptoms like inattention, poor focus, and hyperactivity in only a matter of 6 months.
Although more large scale studies on human beings are needed, early studies prove what Ayurveda has been claiming for thousands of years. It can help ADHD affected individuals overcome restlessness, poor focus, and improve cognition.
Brahmi or Bacopa is also recommended as a supplement in the early stages of obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD).
Anti-oxidants are crucial substances that our body needs in order to tackle and eliminate free radicals. Free radicals keep our bodies open to severe chronic illnesses like heart strokes and cancer. BacopaMonnieri is known to contain many antioxidant substances that can effectively fight free radicals.
Antioxidant substances like bacosides are prominently found in Bacopa. This substance can not only neutralize free radicals but also prevent fat molecules from interacting with free radicals, which can result in lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation can then invite severe ailments like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
Other Potential Health Benefits
Many test-tube studies have shown Bacopa exhibiting anti-inflammatory properties. Bacopa Monnieri has been known to release pro-inflammatory cytokines with regards to stimulating inflammatory immune responses.
In animals, Bacopa has also shown the ability to reduce high blood pressure levels by releasing nitric oxide that dilates blood vessels and reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.
Researches have also shown that high levels of Bacoside and other anti-oxidant compounds found in Bacopa, arm it with anti-cancer properties.
Bacopa has a lot of potential in fighting a variety of ailments, both benign and chronic in nature. With large scale studies, it might very well become the miracle herb of the future pushed by Ayurveda and further validated by Science.
Ways to Consume Bacopa
Bacopa can be found and purchased in powdered or supplemental pill form from health stores in the market. The powdered form can be added to hot water for a soothing concoction of tea or mixed with ghee and warm water for a healthy herbal drink. Typical recommended dosage forms include:
- 10 to 20 ml of fresh Brahmi juice is also suitable to take
- 2 to 3 grams of Brahmi powder
- Extract capsules – 25 mg to 500 mg twice a day
- For children, Brahmi Ghritham is recommended
There are several other Ayurvedic medicines that have Brahmi as an ingredient. We suggest you consult with your Ayurvedic practitioner to learn what dosage of Bacopa Monnieri extract will be the most appropriate for you.