In the realm of natural health and wellness, where the synergy between ancient wisdom and modern science creates a tapestry of healing possibilities, there lies a green gem known as Bacopa Monnieri. Also known as Brahmi, this herb is not just another plant, it’s a beacon of hope for those seeking to enhance cognitive function, soothe the nervous system, and embark on a journey toward holistic health.*
Bacopa Monnieri has been revered in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, celebrated for its adaptogenic and nootropic properties. Nootropes are useful for brain health and memory.
Bacopa monnieri has been studied for its effects on various neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, serotonin, and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which play crucial roles in mood regulation, cognitive function, and overall brain health. Here’s how it works:
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, motivation, and reward. It may help support dopamine function indirectly through its antioxidant and neuroprotective properties, which can protect dopaminergic neurons from damage and support their function.
You might be interested in reading my other article, Have You Stopped Enjoying Life? It Could Be Low Dopamine.
Serotonin is another neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in mood regulation, emotional well-being, and cognition. Some research suggests that Bacopa may increase serotonin levels, contributing to its mood-enhancing and anti-anxiety effects. I once wrote an article that you might be interested in, St. John’s Wort, Serotonin and Depression.
GABA is what permeates our body when we sleep. It’s relaxing and is known as the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the human brain. The more GABA, the less anxiety. The more GABA at night, the better you sleep!
Bacopa Monnieri is known to enhance GABAergic transmission, which means it can increase the activity of your GABA in the brain. It’s not providing GABA, or making more of it, it’s allowing what GABA you have to work better. This makes Bacopa a natural anxiolytic herb and helps you to mitigate stress if you take it.*
Let’s explore the top 10 reasons Bacopa Monnieri could be the ally you’ve been looking for, backed by scientific evidence and in no particular order:
1. Enhances Memory and Cognitive Function
One of the most celebrated benefits of Bacopa Monnieri is its ability to boost memory and cognitive function. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that Bacopa significantly improved memory acquisition and retention in healthy older adults, making it a promising tool for combating age-related cognitive decline.*
This is why I added it to my Memory Script formula, which has now been patented because it’s so unique!
2. Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Bacopa’s adaptogenic qualities help mitigate stress and anxiety by regulating the body’s stress response. Research in the Phytotherapy Research journal showed that Bacopa reduces cortisol levels, the stress hormone, enhancing overall well-being and mental clarity. This benefit is such a plus right now as we live in times where there is constant talk of war, and economic hardship and something so simple like bacopa is amazing.
And there’s one more benefit of reducing stress (by reducing cortisol levels) that I should mention. It’s Bacopa’s indirect benefit on hair growth and thinning hair! No one talks about that, so let me explain.
Stress is a well-known factor that can negatively affect hair growth and overall hair health, potentially leading to conditions like telogen effluvium, where significant stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into a resting phase, followed by hair shedding. By reducing stress and cortisol levels, Bacopa Monnieri may help alleviate some of the adverse effects of stress on hair.
3. Promotes Neuronal Communication
Bacopa supports brain health by enhancing synaptic communication. It increases the growth of nerve endings, called dendrites, improving the brain’s ability to process information. This effect not only aids in learning but also in the overall function of the brain. In simple terms, you can think faster!
4. Antioxidant Properties
The herb is rich in antioxidants, which combat oxidative stress and protect the brain from free radical damage. This action is thought to aid in the prevention of various neurodegenerative diseases and promote longevity. Like many antioxidants, they counter oxidation or ‘rusting’ in the cells. By neutralizing the bullets and arrows aimed at the cell, you can increase the longevity of the cell.
5. Improves Attention and Focus
Bacopa Monnieri can also enhance attention and focus, making it an excellent aid for students and professionals alike. A study in the Neuropsychopharmacology journal found that Bacopa significantly improved the speed of visual information processing, learning rate, and memory, after just 12 weeks of use. In combination with something like magnesium L-threonate (MagFocus®), the benefits cannot be underestimated! My formula in MagFocus (both flavors) is on sale right now on AMAZON.
6. Supports Mental Health
Beyond its cognitive benefits, Bacopa has shown potential in supporting mental health, particularly in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Its calming effects on the nervous system can provide a natural way to enhance mood and emotional resilience.
7. Bacopa Monnieri Enhances Sleep Quality
The stress-reducing effects of Bacopa also extend to improving sleep quality. By calming the mind and reducing anxiety, it can help those struggling with insomnia or disturbed sleep patterns find a more restful night’s sleep.
Bacopa Monnieri offers neuroprotective benefits, safeguarding the brain against various forms of cognitive decline. Its ability to enhance antioxidant defenses in the brain makes it a valuable ally in the fight against age-related and neurodegenerative disorders.
Bacopa can cross the blood-brain barrier. (The blood-brain barrier is a highly selective permeable border that separates the circulating blood from the brain and extracellular fluid in the central nervous system (CNS)).
This barrier is crucial for protecting the brain from potentially harmful substances while allowing essential nutrients and compounds to support brain function.
The various bioactive compounds in this herb, including the “bacosides,” are believed to contribute to the neuroprotective effects.
9. Supports Brain Health During Aging
As we age, maintaining cognitive function becomes increasingly important. Bacopa’s ability to improve memory, enhance cognitive function, and protect the brain from oxidative stress supports healthy aging and mental acuity.
10. Improves Adaptability to Stress
Lastly, Bacopa’s adaptogenic properties help improve the body’s resilience to stress, allowing for better-coping mechanisms and a more balanced mental state. It lowers cortisol which is a stress hormone. This benefit is crucial in today’s fast-paced world, where chronic stress, micro stressors, and social media (all of it!) can take a toll on our overall health. Of all the benefits of bacopa, I think it’s adaptogenic effects are my favorite!
How to Use Bacopa
It’s not one of those herbs that tastes too good! Due to its bitter taste, Bacopa monnieri is rarely consumed on its own as a fresh herb, even the teas are kind of icky in my opinion. Instead, it’s commonly taken in the form of capsules (or tablets). If for some reason, you do prefer a liquid extract and tincture, dilute it with some other drink you like. Most people take it in capsule form so that a higher (more useful) dose can be achieved.
Incorporating Bacopa monnieri into your daily routine can be a transformative step towards enhanced cognitive function, reduced stress, and overall wellness. Whether through stand-alone supplements that contain “bacopa monnieri” only, or supplements like Memory Script that are multi-tasking, or herbal teas… whatever you want, integrating it into your supplement regimen can be a crucial step in soothing stress, feelings of anxiousness, insomnia and memory.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.