What Is Bacopa Monnieri?
September 30 2018
Bacopa monnieri – which is also known as brahmi – is an herb that has been used around the world for centuries. Bacopa monnieri is a lush plant found in the tropical marshlands of Asia, Africa, Australia, and the United States.
Brahmi, a Sanskrit word, can be loosely translated to universal consciousness and creative potential associated with pure awareness. Accordingly, bacopa monnieri is considered awareness and consciousness-promoting. The entire plant can be used in Ayurvedic medicine, including its oblong leaves, purple flowers, and roots.
Bacopa can be used as an oil, paste, powder, tablet, or extract. Oils and pastes can be applied externally for purposes such as skin health, improved joint function, wound healing, and hair growth. Since Ayurvedic medicine recommends tasting herbs, taking bacopa in the form of a tablet, powder, or extract is more common.
Benefits of the adaptogenic herb bacopa monnieri include open-mindedness, clarification of thoughts, strengthened intellect and memory, improved concentration and focus, balanced emotions, improved sleep and daytime energy, and healthy circulation, skin, and hair. Bacopa monnieri can also help to suppress the appetite, especially when taken in conjunction with herbs such as cardamom or ginger.
Due to its reputation of being somewhat of a super herb, bacopa monnieri has been very well studied for the effects it has on nerve and brain health. Bacopa monnieri offers a range of healing properties that directly target the brain, and it has traditionally been used to promote mental well-being as well as supporting cognitive functions such as the ability to focus and recall information.
Using to Improve Memory
One double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial studied the effects of 300 mg bacopa monnieri extract (daily for 12 weeks) on healthy elderly people without dementia. The trial concluded that, compared to placebo, bacopa supplementation resulted in improved scores related to delayed word recall memory and cognition, while depression and anxiety markers and heart rate decreased.
A similar study conducted in Australia had comparable results, as participants taking bacopa monnieri improved their memory acquisition and retention. Yet another study noted a marked improvement in spatial working memory accuracy in response to 300 mg bacopa monnieri daily. This research has exciting implications for people who wish to remain sharp and retain their intellect and memory as they age.
Cognitive function and learning
One study of college students concluded that 600 mg bacopa monnieri per day for 6 weeks were associated with increased test scores related to cognitive function. Other studies have found promising results using bacopa monnieri for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. While these two groups are vastly different, the fact that bacopa monnieri provides cognitive benefits for both in different ways is interesting and certainly warrants further research.
Using for Anxiety
Several studies have shown that bacopa monnieri has the potential to decrease the stress response by altering enzyme activity, and supplements containing bacopa may be useful in the management and treatment of anxiety. Additionally, a 2014 study concluded that reduced cortisol levels can be accomplished by taking bacopa. For people who have become accustomed to taking habit-forming medications for stress and anxiety, a natural option is certainly welcomed. Similarly, bacopa monnieri can be used for insomnia or general improvement of sleep quality.
As part of a non-habit-forming, stimulant-free brain support and focus supplement like Better Focus, bacopa monnieri can help improve your energy levels, concentration, motivation, and memory. Many people even find that they rely less on coffee and other caffeinated beverages as a crutch upon incorporating bacopa into their lifestyle. For best results, supplements containing bacopa monnieri should be taken for at least 4 to 6 weeks for long-term benefits.