6537566647Bacopa monnieri-1

Top 37 Science-Based Health Benefits of Bacopa monnieri (with references)

Bacopa is a great supplement that I take for relaxation.  It has a nice mood enhancing and anti-inflammatory effect.  I like to have this in my supplement toolkit.

6537566647Bacopa monnieri-1

Introduction

Bacopa monnieri is a creeping herb native to wetlands of southern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America (R).

It is a medicinal herb used in Ayurveda, where it is known as “Brahmi” after “Brahma”, the creator God of the Hindu pantheon (R) and“Jalanimba” in India (R).

Bacopa monnieri was initially described around the 6th century A.D. in texts such as the Charaka Samhita, Atharva-Veda, and Susrut Samhita as a “Medhya rasayana”–class herb taken to sharpen intellect and attenuate mental deficits (R). The herb was allegedly used by ancient Vedic scholars to memorize lengthy sacred hymns and scriptures (R).

Note: Most of the benefits listed for Bacopa here are studied in animals (as is most herbs) and not humans. However, there has been a long history of its usage in people, with many positive effects.  There’s also many positive anecdotes online.  I personally have good experience with it as well, which is worth more than any clinical trial in people (for me). The point isn’t to show that Bacopa helps with all of these conditions in humans – it may not.  But there’s a chance it does and people must make their own judgement call if they want to “Selfhack”, like I did.  The take away here is that Bacopa may have many great effects, and people need to try it out for themselves and see how it helps YOU.  This advice goes for all of my supplement articles.

The Best Bacopa to Take

Bacopa

Pros

Cons

  • Has anti-fertility effects
  • Can make you more tired if you’re living on a stress response to stay awake
  • Doesn’t taste good and can cause a bit of nausea or stomach upset

1) Bacopa is an Antioxidant

Bacopa

Bacopa (Brahmi) is a potent antioxidant and has a protective effect on cells (R1R2).

Bacopa is a component of “Protandim” an antioxidant supplement tested in healthy human subjects (R1R2).

Bacopa enhances the defense against ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) generated damage in diabetic rats (R).

Bacopa is said to have a significant superoxide radical scavenging activity (R).

Bacopa has a dose dependent free radical scavenging capacity and protective effect on DNA damage (R).

Bacopa was able to eradicate the oxidative stress and prevent the tissue damage in aluminium exposed mice (R).

Bacopa had a significant protective effect on H2O2 induced DNA damage in human fibroblasts (R).

Mechanism:

Bacopa’s antioxidant activity has been shown to be via metal chelation at the initiation level and also as a lipid peroxidation chain action breaker (R).

2) Bacopa is an Anti-Inflammatory

Bacopa

In test tubes, alcoholic extracts of Bacopa are effective in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (R).

Bacopa (Betulinic acid) suppressed lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced IL-6 production in blood mononuclear cells both in the lab and within organisms (R).

Mechanism:

Bacopa inhibits COX (Cyclooxygenase) and LOX (Lipoxygenase) and decreases TNF-α (Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha) (R).

Bacopa inhibits inflammation through modulation of pro-inflammatory mediator release (R).

3) Bacopa Reduces Stress/Anxiety

Bacopa Pot

Bacopa reduces cortisol and stress in healthy humans (R).

Bacopa reduced retrograde amnesia produced by immobilization induced stress in healthy humans (R).

Bacopa is a component of “Perment”, a herbal formulation which is effective for stress and  depression in humans (R).

Bacopa is an effective anti-stress agent against acute and chronic stress in rats (R).

Bacopa extracts can be used as a potent therapeutic agent in treating mixed anxiety-depressive disorder (MAD) in mice (R).

Bacopa normalized stress induced alteration in blood corticosterone and levels of monoamines like noradrenaline (NA), Serotonin (5-HT) and Dopamine in rat brains (R).

Bacopa showed antidepressant activity when tested on forced swimming and tail suspension in mice (R).

4) Bacopa Enhances Memory

shutterstock_310562189

Bacopa is traditionally used for enhancing learning and memory (R).

Bacopa extract had positive effects on learning and memory following 12 weeks administration (R).

Another study showed memory enhancing effects following 4 weeks (R).

An Australian survey showed Bacopa to be one of the most popular aid for memory among 60-64 year old consumers (R).

Bacopa improved memory free recall in human subjects with dementia or significant cognitive impairment (R).

Bacopa showed a significant effect on retention of new information and also decreased the rate of forgetting newly acquired information in humans (R).

Bacopa significantly improved memory acquisition and retention in healthy older people (R1,R2).

Bacopa has memory- and learning-enhancing effects on long-term dosing in patients with anxiety neurosis (R).

Bacopa leaf extract significantly enhanced the learning and retention of memory in postnatal rats (R1, R2).

Bacopa was effective against the scopolamine-induced impairment of spatial memory in mice (R).

Bacopa reversed diazepam-induced amnesia in mice (R).

Bacopa reduced the effect of L-NNA induced amnesia in mice (R).

Mechanism:

The antiamnesic (deficit in memory) effects of Bacopa suggest likely a GABA pathway (R).

5) Bacopa May Prevent Heart Disease

shutterstock_140637772

Bacopa (as a component of Protandim) decreases abnormal growth of normal cells (hyperplasia) in human sephanous veins which are widely used for bypass grafts (R).

Bacopa extract was able to dissolve clots in experimental organisms, hence could be a promising “thrombolytic agent” (R).

Alcoholic extract of Bacopa reduced cholesterol in high cholesterol diet induced rats (R).

Bacopa is a component of a herbal formulation (DHC-1) which had a protective effect against damaged heart in rats (R).

Bacopa protects the rat heart against ischaemia-reperfusion injury (R) and reduced blood pressure in rats (R).

Bacopa (Brahmi) could be an effective antihypertensive and vasodilator in various artery types (R).

Bacopa may provide protection on various biochemical changes and aortic pathology in rats with high cholesterol (R).

Mechanism:

Blood pressure reducing activity is partly via releasing Nitric Oxide from the endothelium (R).

6) Bacopa Protects the Brain

shutterstock_247872679

Bacopa is known as an effective “brain food” as it nourishes the brain and improves intelligence and memory (R).

An oil prepared with Bacopa is used for habitual headaches in humans (R).

Bacopa inhibits acetylcholinesterase and activates choline acetyltransferase, which increases acetylcholine (R).

Bacopa also increases blood flow to the brain in humans and rats (RR).

Bacopa (Bacosides) is effective against age related chronic neuroinflammation in the rat brain (R).

Bacopa (Bacosides) significantly reduced age dependant elevation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, iNOS protein expression, total nitrite and lipofuscin content in aged rat brain cortex (R).

Constituents present in Bacopa extract had neuronal dendritic growth stimulating properties in adult rats (R1, R2).

Bacopa protected neurons from beta-amyloid induced cell death in primary cortical cultures (R).

Bacopa was effective in reversing the aluminium mediated oxidative damage in the cerebellum of aged rats (R1, R2).

Bacopa has a protective effect on methylmercury-induced oxidative stress in cerebellum of rats (R).

Bacopa (Bacosides) aids in repair of damaged neurons (R).

Bacopa exerts a protective effect against DNA damage in astrocytes (a star shaped glial cell of the CNS) (R).

Mechanism:

Bacopa enhanced protein kinase activity and increased  protein in the hippocampus of humans (R).

7-9) Bacopa May Help Neurodegenerative Conditions: Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

Bacopa is said to be a promising anti-Huntington neuroprotective agent (R).

Bacopa is a potential anti-Parkinsonian agent (reduces alpha synuclein aggregation, prevents dopaminergic neurodegeneration and restores the lipid content in nematodes) (R).

Bacopa can protect cells through modulating cellular redox pathways which are altered in Parkinsons Disease (PD) (R).

Alcoholic extract of Bacopa might be helpful in reducing 6-OHDA (6-HydroxyDopamine) induced lesioning in Parkinsonian rat models (R).

Bacopa is a potential cognitive enhancer and neuroprotectant against Alzheimer’s disease animal model (R).

Bacopa extract reduces beta-amyloid deposits in the brain of an Alzheimer’s disease animal model (R).

10-11) Bacopa Improves ADHD and Dyslexia

shutterstock_284764343

Bacopa as part of a compound herbal preparation is effective in improving attention, cognition and impulse control in children with ADHD (R).

Standardized extract of Bacopa was found to be effective in reducing the symptoms of ADHD and was well-tolerated by the children (R).

Bacopa is effective in the management of Dyslexia (reading disorder) in children (R).

12) Bacopa May Help Cognitive Decline in Schizophrenia

Bacopa (Brahmi) might be a novel therapeutic agent for the cognitive deficit treatment for schizophrenia in rat models (R).

Mechanism:

Bacopa has the ability to reduce Nitric Oxide-induced cellular alterations in neurological disorders (R).

Bacopa enhances kinase activity, neuronal sythesis, restoration of synaptic activity and nerve impulse transmission (R).

13) Bacopa For Bronchitis/Asthma

A hot soft moist mass of Bacopa is applied for Bronchitis and chest ailments in children (R).

14) Bacopa Balances The Immune System

Bacopa (BacoMind) protects human lymphocytes against various agents which damage DNA (R).

Bacopa diet stimulated more secretion of IgA and IgG in the blood of rats compared to Echinacea or Ashwagandha (R).

Bacopa slightly suppressed splenocyte proliferation and decreased T-Lymphocyte proliferation in rats (R).

Bacopa is effective in managing diseases involving chronic brain inflammation driven by the innate immune system (R).

Bacopa is used to treat enlargement of spleen (R).

Bacopa (Brahmi) reversed the age-related increase in lipid peroxidation in the spleen cells of both early-middle-aged and old rats (R).

15) Bacopa is an Anti-Diabetic

In India, some tribes (Orissa region) use the decoction of aerial parts for the treatment of Diabetes (R).

Bacopa (Bacosine) had insulin like activity (lowered blood glucose) in alloxan-induced diabetic rats (R).

Bacopa (Bacosine) reversed the weight loss in diabetic rats, returning the values to near normal (R).

Bacopa (Bacosine) increased glycogen content in the liver of diabetic rats and glucose utilization in the diaphragm of diabetic rats (R).

16) Bacopa is Antimicrobial

Alcoholic extract of Bacopa had antifungal activity against Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger (black mold) (R).

Bacopa is used to treat Tuberculosis (R) and Syphilis (R).

Bacopa showed antimicrobial activity against Vibrio cholera (R).

Bacopa showed anti-Helicobacter pylori (a bacterium associated with chronic gastric ulcers) activity (R).

Alcoholic leaf extract of Bacopa exhibited antibacterial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumonia and E.coli (R).

Alcoholic (diethyl ether) extract of Bacopa had maximum inhibitory effect against Staphylococcus aureus and Proteus vulgaris (R).

Bacopa has a broad spectrum antibacterial activity against other bacteria like Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Salmonella typhi and Proteus vulgaris (R).

Bacopa leaf extract along with Azadirachta seeds showed antibacterial activity against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, the causative organism of Typhoid fever (R).

Bacopa plant extract is taken to treat gonorrhoea (R).

17) Bacopa May Help Prevent Cancer

Oral administration of alcoholic extract of Bacopa slowed the development of solid tumors (R).

Alcoholic extract of Bacopa induced cell death by apoptosis in mice cancer cell lines (R).

Alcoholic extract of Bacopa (dammarane triterpene saponins) showed antitumor activity in human breast cancer cell lines (R).

Bacopa may be a possible chemoprotective agent against colon cancer (R).

Bacopa (Bacoside A) is effective in preventing N-nitrosodiethylamine (DEN) induced liver cancer and may play a role in preventing this cancer (R).

Bacopa can protect the human brain cancer (neuroblastoma) cells against H2O2 and acrolein (R).

Water extract of Bacopa was able to induce apoptosis in mouse breast cancer cells (R) and in Walker cancer cell lines (R).

Alcoholic extract of Bacopa whole plant was active against human breast cancer cell lines (R).

Bacopa extract helped prevent cancer in a mouse model of skin cancer (R).

Bacopa (Stigmasterol) had a protective effect against Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma in mice (R).

Alcoholic extract of Bacopa has anti-tumor activity against Daltons Lymphoma Ascites (DLA) (R).

Bacopa extract promotes the antioxidant status, reduces the rate of lipid peroxidation and the markers of tumor progression in the fibrosarcoma bearing rats (R).

Bacopa inhibited the proliferation of cells in human carcinoma of larynx (R).

Mechanism:

Bacopa may be effective against DLA due to its radiomimetic, nucleotoxic and cytotoxic effect. It also inhibits cell division (R).

Studies also suggest Bacopa’s ability to prevent cancer is by preventing DNA replication of cancer cell lines (R).

Bacopa (cucurbitacins) has anti-tumerogenic activity by inducing cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase and formation of multiplied cells (R).

18) Bacopa Promotes Longevity

Bacopa prevents the formation of malondialdehyde and lipofuscin, which are the indicators of aging (R).

The imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants during aging can be minimized by Bacopa (R).

Bacopa promoted longevity in worms (R).

19) Bacopa Helps Protect the Gut

A juice of leaves of Bacopa is given to children for relief from diarrhea (R).

Bacopa is effective in treating patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) (R).

Bacopa showed significant anti-ulcer and ulcer-healing activities in normal and Type-2 diabetic rats (R).

Fresh juice of Bacopa was earlier reported to have anti-ulcer properties (R).

Bacopa is effective in treating constipation and stomach disorders (R).

Mechanism:

Bacopa extract may protect the gut due to its predominant effect on mucosal defensive factors (R).

20) Bacopa has an Antifatigue effect

Bacopa extract (Bacoside) improves various impairments associated with physical fatigue in rats (R).

21) Bacopa is a Mild Sedative

Bacopa has a mild sedative property (R).

Bacopa plant has been studied for its sedative effect in dogs and frogs (R).

22) Bacopa Protects the Liver

Bacopa protects liver against Tylenol induced liver damage in rats and increased the activity of the antioxidants catalase and glutathione in in this model of liver damage (R).

It significantly inhibited Alkaline Phosphatase (marker of liver damage) and bilirubin levels in rats (R).

Alcoholic extract of Bacopa also exerted a liver protective effect against morphine (R), Nitrobenzene (R), N-Nitrosodiethylamine (R) and “ferrous sulphate cumen hydroperoxide” (R) induced liver injury in rats.

23) Bacopa May Help Muscles

Bacopa (Ecdysterone) has an muscle growth promoting effect on mice, rats, and pigs (R).

Bacopa extract prevented smooth muscle spasms in rabbits and guinea pigs by inhibiting calcium influx (via both voltage and receptor operated calcium channels of the cell membrane) (R).

24) Bacopa Promotes Hair Growth

Bacopa (leaves) is a component of a Herbal oil which showed excellent hair growth activity (R).

Bacopa (as a component of a herbal formulation) also significantly decreased hair loss in animals (R).

Alcoholic extracts of Bacopa, Emblica officinalis and Cyperus rotundus are useful in treating “Indralupta” (hair loss) in rats (R).

Mechanism:

Bacopa promotes hair growth by an enlargement of follicular size and prolongation of the anagen phase (R).

25) Bacopa Relieves Pain and Fever

Bacopa is also an effective anti-pain agent in mice and rats (R) and also reduces fever (R).

Whole plant of Bacopa (50-100 grams) boiled in coconut oil and applied on the knees relieves from pain on the knees (R).

26-28) Bacopa Helps With Histamine Intolerance, Respiratory Problems and Allergies

Bacopa is an effective mast cell stabilizer, which can be useful for histamine intolerance and allergic conditions (R).

Bacopa is traditionally used to treat Asthma (R).

Bacopa produced significant inhibition of carbachol-induced lung constriction in rats (R).

Mechanism:

Bacopa possess broncho-vasodilatory activity, which is attributed mainly to inhibition of calcium ions (R).

Bronchodilatory property shown by Bacopa extract is reflected by a reduction in exhaling pressure (R).

29) Bacopa Protects Against Cigarette Smoke Damage

Bacopa (Bacoside A) has a protective effect against chronic smoking induced toxicity and can protect the brain from the toxic effects of cigarette smoking in rats (R).

Bacopa extract upgrades various impairments associated with neuronal and physiological changes in rats exposed to smoke from fireworks (R).

30) Bacopa Protects the Kidney and is a Diuretic

Bacopa is used as a diuretic (increases urine flow) (R).

Bacopa extract exerted protection against morphine induced kidney toxicity in rats (R).

31) Bacopa is Good For Skin Health

Bacopa (Brahmi) is traditionally used in the treatment of blisters, itching and skin diseases (R).

Bacopa (Bacoside A) was found to enhance wound healing of the skin in rats (R).

Bacopa is used to treat Leprosy and eczema (R).

Bacopa is also used to treat ringworm (skin infection caused by a fungus) (R).

The wound healing activity of Bacopa (Bacoside A) was more effective in various wound models compared to the standard skin ointment Nitrofurazone (in rats) (R).

32) Bacopa may Reduce Morphine Dependence

Bacopa (Bacoside) has potential benefits in the treatment of Morphine Dependence in mice  (R).

Bacopa extract may be useful in reducing the withdrawal symptoms induced by morphine in guinea pigs (R).

33) Bacopa Increases Thyroid Hormones

Bacopa increased Thyroid hormone (T4) levels in male mice with Hypothyroidism (R).

34-35) Bacopa Reduces Age-related Problems in Women

Bacopa extract reduced insomnia (habitual sleeplessness/inability to sleep) in postmenopausal women (R).

Bacopa may reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in postmenopausal women (R).

Bacopa significantly reduced Blood pressure and may help in reducing the risk of Cardiovascular Disease in post menopausal women (R).

The fresh whole plant of Bacopa is crushed and juice is taken along with cows milk for treating irregular menstrual cycles (R).

36) Bacopa is Effective for Snake Bite

Fresh root decotion of Bacopa has traditionally been used as an antidote for snake-bites and scorpion stings (R).

Bacopa powder (except the root portion) about 1 teaspoonful is given (with warm goat milk or black tea) as an antidote for snake bite (R) about 30 ml infusion is administered orally as antidote for Cobra bite (R1, R2).

37) Bacopa Prevents Convulsions and Epilepsy

Bacopa is a component of “Mentat” syrup which is used to treat children with febrile convulsions (R).

Bacopa is the most preferred plant for the treatment of epilepsy by some tribes in the sub-himalayan region in India (R1R2).

Bacopa as part of a combination ayurvedic herbal (Brahmighritham+ ghee) is effective for the control of epilepsy in male rats (R).

Bacopa had a protective effect on cognitive damage that occurs with pilocarpine-induced epilepsy in rats (R) and reversed the depressive behavior pattern associated with pilocarpine (R).

Bacopa (Bacoside-A) treatment prevents the occurrence of seizures (R) and reversed epilepsy associated changes in rats (R).

Bacopa had a potential protective effect on cognitive deficit associated with PHT (Phenytoin) therapy in mice (R).

Bacopa Synergies

Bacopa (Brahmi) and deprenyl together can protect the nervous system (R) .

Bacopa in combination with Gingko biloba extract has shown improved anti-cholinesterase and anti dementia activities in scopolamine induced amnestic mice (R).

Extract of Bacopa and rosemary is more neuroprotective than each of the extracts individually (R).

Curcumin and Bacopa combined showed additive effects on antioxidant activity with a trend toward synergistic effects (R).

Bacopa Side Effects, Cautions, and Toxicity

Bacopa (Brahmi) treatment inhibited fertility and caused a suppression of sperm creation that was reversible – without producing toxic effects in male mice (R).

Bacopa was found to be safe and well tolerated by normal healthy male human volunteers in single dose (20-300 mg) and multiple doses (100 and 200 mg) (R).

No-observed adverse effect level of 500 mg/kg body weight was established in rats (R).

Bacopa administration might cause a mild stomach upset (R1R2).

Active Chemical Constituents

Steroidal saponins and Bacosides A and B are the active chemical constituents responsible for improving both learning and memory (R).

Other constituents include Bacopasaponins D, E and F as well as alkaloids, flavonoids, phytosterols (R) and steroids (R).

Molecular Targets

Neuroprotective activity

Anti-Oxidant activity

  • Increases Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) (R).
  • Increases Catalase (CAT) (R).
  • Increases selfdecode.com/gene/gpx1/?utm_source=seo&utm_medium=selfhacked&utm_campaign=id00002″>Glutathione peroxidase (GPx) (R).
  • Increases Glutathione (GSH) (R).

Anti-cancer activity

  • Activates Protein phosphatase 2A (R).
  • Activates Caspase-3 (R).
  • Decreases Bcl-2 gene expression (R).

Buying & Dosage

Daily doses of Bacopa are 5-10 grams of non-standardized powder, 8-16 ml of infusion and 30 ml daily of syrup (R). Dosages of a 1:2 fluid extract are 5-12 ml per day for adults and 2.5-6 ml per day for children ages 6-12 (R).

My preferred Bacopa Supplement:

Comments

  1. An-Marie

    My experience with Bacopa : 250 mg had no significant influence, I tried it for 4 days. A dosage of 500 mg gave me a lot of energy in the morning, which soon became an untenable drive that wouldn’t stop, my stress and anxiety worsened and I finally got depressed, exhausted and very irritated, accompanied with a lot of muscle tension and twitches in the face. Thus no relaxation. Thus disrupted sleep. Also got heart palpations. In the past, I experienced the same with Ritalin, which is a dopamine enhancer.

  2. bill

    I’ve read a study which, I think, indicates that bacopa actually increases serotonin production rather than decreases it–please correct me if I’m understanding this incorrectly. I desperately need to find a supplement that will work for me, and I thought that bacopa might it, but my serotonin is already high, so if I’m reading this study right, bacopa won’t work for me. Please advise. In case I can’t attach the study properly, the title of it is, “Molecular Docking of Bacosides with Tryptophan Hydroxylase: A Model to Understand the Bacosides Mechanism” (author, David Mary Rajathei et al.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4111882/

  3. I have read conflicting information regarding Bacopa’s effect on dopamine levels. I have also read of potential GU side effects. Your opinion?

Leave a Reply