Bacopa monnieri: Not the Herb You Think (and how to best use it)

Bacopa monnieri is known in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for improving memory, but most people do not realize it must be taken consistently for 8 - 12 weeks.

In ancient India, plant medicinals are a central part of the practices of Ayurveda, also known as Ayurvedic medicine, which is still widely practiced today in India and around the world.

These practitioners fundamentally believe that an energy called “prana” drives all things in the universe, therefore it is the energy responsible for all of the human body’s functions and thoughts.

Ayurvedic medicine is fundamentally centered around practices that restore this energy balance. Furthermore, Ayurvedic practitioners also believe that every person has a different energy, so each individual has different needs for restoring body and mind.

Ayurveda literally translates into the “science or wisdom” of life. Practitioners definitely have the wisdom to know that lifestyle and diet absolutely are drivers for better health. As such, Ayurvedic practitioners depend on many medicinal plants as the foundation for their healing. One such plant is Bacopa monnieri, and in this article, we will explore its benefits.

You might know the plant as bacopa herb or by its more common names of water hyssop or herb of grace. The plant grows in the wet Indian tropics and can even survive underwater. It is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine for many reasons.

Ancient practitioners have long used the water hyssop for reducing anxiety, improving memory, and as an anti-seizure medication. Modern research provides some insight into why the wise ancients thought so highly of Bacopa monnieri.

The Antioxidant Value of Bacopa

What Ayurvedic practitioners have known anecdotally for millennia is now being elucidated by modern science. Bacopa monnieri contains powerful antioxidant compounds called bacosides.

Chemical characterization of bacosides has shown them to have neuroprotective constituents. These bacosides were shown to activate antioxidant enzymes to minimize oxidative stress, and also shown to activate neuroreceptors in various parts of the brain.[1]

Oxidative stress and systemic inflammation both contribute to cardiovascular disease and other ailments like diabetes and particular forms of cancer. Patients often have prolonged elevated levels of markers of oxidative stress, such as inflammatory cytokines and reduced circulating antioxidants, implying that over time, oxidative stress can lead to overall frailty of health.[2]

Oxidative stress starts with free radicals, oxygen molecules that have split into unstable atoms that are seeking a bond with other atoms. This “seeking” process creates oxidative stress. Free radicals can be particularly damaging when binding to fat molecules because it creates a type of oxidation called lipid peroxidation, which is associated with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other diseases involving nerve degeneration.[3]

Bacopa Monnieri and the Brain

Scientists have particularly studied bacopa benefits and antioxidant effects in the brain. Studies have shown that Bacopa monnieri may reduce the effects of lipid peroxidation, as shown in one animal study where the plant reversed memory impairment symptoms.[4]

A similar study in mice showed that bacosides helped improve the animals’ ability to retain information and improve learning.[5]

The bacosides in Bacopa monnieri have been shown to suppress the release of chemicals called cytokines, responsible for stimulating the body’s inflammatory response. Scientists created a tea with a particular Bacopa monnieri dose, and administered it to rats. The bacosides clearly suppressed the release of two cytokines associated with brain inflammation.[6]

Human studies have also been conducted on Bacopa monnieri. In one small study, adults taking a Bacopa monnieri daily dose of 300 mg improved their rate of learning and memory retention compared to adults who took a placebo.[7] In a similar study on older adults, researchers had the same results with 300 mg and 600 mg doses.[8]

Bacopa monnieri has also been studied in children, specifically kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Several studies have demonstrated that a 125mg to 225 mg daily dose significantly reduced ADHD symptoms like poor impulse control, restlessness and inattention in the majority of children studied.[9][10]

Bacopa Benefits for Inflammation

Oxidative stress creates low-level but chronic inflammation not only in the brain, but throughout the body. Bacopa monnieri has long been described in Ayurvedic medical texts as a “therapeutically useful herb for the treatment of inflammation.”

Modern scientific studies have shown that to be true. In certain animal studies, bacopa has been shown to inhibit the enzymes that are needed to create cytokines. The plant even had comparable anti-inflammatory effects to certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – indomethacin and diclofenac – commonly prescribed by doctors. [7]

While NSAIDs are effective against inflammation, they have negative side effects, such as heartburn and stomach ulcers. While more research is needed in human studies, these early animal studies do show promise.

High blood pressure combined with inflammation can take a toll on the blood vessels and heart, weakening the body’s ability to circulate blood and greatly increasing an individual’s risk of heart disease.

Animal studies suggest that Bacopa monnieri may help maintain healthy blood pressure by enabling the body to create nitric oxide, a vasodilator that helps dilate vessels and thus reduce pressure.[11] Some human studies have had mixed results, and more research is definitely needed.

Large-scale human studies are necessary, but the evidence amassed thus far shows scientific promise. Bacopa monnieri has been studied for its effects on stress and anxiety, and may reduce these conditions by reducing cortisol, known as the stress hormone because its levels are high when a person is under stress. [12]

Purpose Brings Energy Balance and Focus

For all these reasons, we created Purpose (considered by us to be the best CBG supplement !) using the Ayurvedic principles of plant-based therapies, and Bacopa monnieri is included in the formulation. Purpose takes into account the ancient principles of energy balance and focus combined with the latest ingredient science.

The foundation of Purpose begins with our California-grown hemp broad spectrum extract. Purpose is fortified with cannabigerol and our custom Energy Terpene Formula rich in limonene and pinene. Many traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs that are also clinically studied are included in therapeutic doses.

We designed Purpose as a daily energy supplement to help provide energy support, mental clarity and greater focus throughout the long, stressful day. Purpose produces results that can be felt. Many of our customers have swapped Purpose for their daily cup of coffee.

Alternatively, you can pick up bacopa monnieri by itself. A brand called Bacognize is known to have high quality, heavy-metals tested.

Experience what Ayurvedic practitioners have known for centuries. Elevate your mood and capitalize on the brainy benefits that Bacopa monnieri and Purpose have to offer.