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.
What is Bacopa Monnieri?
Bacopa monnieri is a creeping herb native to wetlands of southern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America.
It is a medicinal herb used in Ayurveda, where it is known as “Brahmi” after “Brahma”, the creator God of the Hindu pantheon 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 “Medhyarasayana”–class herb taken to sharpen intellect and attenuate mental deficits. The herb was allegedly used by ancient Vedic scholars to memorize lengthy sacred hymns and scriptures.
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 are also many positive anecdotes online. I personally have had a 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 judgment 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.
- Great for reducing anxiety and relaxation
- Good for cognitive enhancement
- Good anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant
- 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 (Brahmi) is a potent antioxidant and has a protective effect on cells [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 aluminum 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
Alcoholic extracts of Bacopa demonstrated significant anti-arthritic activity [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 reduced retrograde amnesia produced by immobilization-induced stress in healthy humans (DB-PCT) [R].
Bacopa is a component of “Perment”, a herbal formulation which is effective for stress and depression in humans [R].
Bacopa was an effective anti-stress agent against acute and chronic stress in rats [R].
Bacopa extracts were used as a potent therapeutic agent in treating the mixed anxiety-depressive disorder (MAD) in mice [R].
Bacopa showed antidepressant activity when tested on forced swimming and tail suspension in mice [R].
4) Bacopa Enhances Memory
Bacopa is traditionally used for enhancing learning and memory [R].
Bacopa extract had positive effects on learning and memory following 12 weeks administration in post-menopausal women (Pilot study) [R].
An Australian survey showed Bacopa to be one of the most popular aids for memory among 60-64-year-old consumers [R].
Bacopa improved memory free recall in human subjects with dementia or significant cognitive impairment (RCTs) [R].
Bacopa showed a significant effect on the retention of new information and also decreased the rate of forgetting newly acquired information in humans (DB-RCT) [R].
Bacopa had memory- and learning-enhancing effects on long-term dosing in patients with anxiety neurosis (DB-RCT) [R].
Bacopa was effective against the scopolamine-induced impairment of spatial memory in mice [R].
Bacopa reversed diazepam-induced amnesia in mice [R].
5) Bacopa May Prevent Heart Disease
Bacopa (as a component of Protandim) decreases the abnormal growth of normal cells (hyperplasia) in human saphenous 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].
Bacopa is a component of a herbal formulation (DHC-1) which had a protective effect against damaged heart 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
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 (Bacosides) is effective against age-related chronic neuroinflammation in the rat brain [R].
Bacopa protected neurons from beta-amyloid-induced cell death in primary cortical cultures [R].
Bacopa has a protective effect on methylmercury-induced oxidative stress in the cerebellum of rats [R].
Bacopa (Bacosides) aids in the 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 a potential anti-Parkinsonian agent (reduces alpha-synuclein aggregation, prevents dopaminergic neurodegeneration and restores the lipid content in nematodes) [R].
Alcoholic extract of Bacopa might be helpful in reducing 6-OHDA (6-HydroxyDopamine) induced lesioning in Parkinsonian rat models [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
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
Mechanism: Bacopa has the ability to reduce Nitric Oxide-induced cellular alterations in neurological disorders [R].
Bacopa enhances kinase activity, neuronal synthesis, 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 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 the 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
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 an Antimicrobial
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 of 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 gonorrhea [R].
17) Bacopa May Help Prevent Cancer
Oral administration of an alcoholic extract of Bacopa slowed the development of solid tumors [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].
Alcoholic extract of Bacopa whole plant was active against human breast cancer cell lines [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 the 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-tumorigenic 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
Fresh juice of Bacopa was earlier reported to have anti-ulcer properties [R].
Mechanism: Bacopa extract may protect the gut due to its predominant effect on mucosal defensive factors (R).
20) Bacopa has an Antifatigue effect
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 May Help Protect the Liver
Bacopa was protective against Tylenol induced liver damage in rats and increased the activity of the antioxidants catalase and glutathione in this model of liver damage [R].
It significantly inhibited Alkaline Phosphatase (a 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 sulfate cumen hydroperoxide” [R] induced liver injury in rats.
23) Bacopa May Help With Muscle Growth
Bacopa (Ecdysterone) has a 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
26-28) Bacopa Helps With Histamine Intolerance, Respiratory Problems, and Allergies
Bacopa produced significant inhibition of carbachol-induced lung constriction in rats [R].
Mechanism: Bacopa possess Broncho-vasodilatory activity, which is attributed mainly to the 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 also used to treat ringworm (a 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].
33) Bacopa Increases Thyroid Hormones
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 decoction 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 an antidote for Cobra bite [R, R].
37) Bacopa Prevents Convulsions and Epilepsy
Bacopa is a component of “Mentat” syrup which is used to treat children with febrile convulsions [R].
Bacopa had a potential protective effect on cognitive deficit associated with PHT (Phenytoin) therapy in mice [R].
Extract of Bacopa and rosemary is more neuroprotective than each of the extracts individually [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 a 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].
Active Chemical Constituents
Steroidal saponins and Bacosides A and B are the active chemical constituents responsible for improving both learning and memory [R].
- Increases enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (TPH2) [R].
- Increases Serotonin Transporter (SERT) [R].
- Increases Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) [R].
- Increases Catalase and Glutathione peroxidase [R].
- Increases Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) [R].
- Increases Catalase (CAT) [R].
- Increases Glutathione peroxidase (GPx) [R].
- Increases Glutathione (GSH) [R].
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].