Plant Part Used
The leaf of bacopa, or water hyssop, has been used in the Indian medical system of Ayurveda since the 6th century A.D. to help improve mental performance. It is also considered the foremost tonic for the nervous system in Ayurvedic medicine. It has been used traditionally for epilepsy, mental illness, and to improve memory and mental capacities. Today, scientists think bacopa contains compounds that may enhance nerve impulse transmission, thereby strengthening memory and general cognition.
Interactions and Depletions
50-150mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day.
Most Common Dosage
100mg (standardized extract), 2 times a day.
[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]
The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 20% bacosides A and B per dose.
Modern studies may lend credence to what Ayurvedic practitioners have known for centuries about bacopa’s ability to enhance mental function. One such study suggested that bacopa may increase learning ability in laboratory animals. Other studies on humans suggest bacopa may improve intellectual activity in children. In adults, bacopa may be effective in reducing anxiety and increasing energy. This effect, scientists suggest, may lead to improved memory and mental performance. (1) Other human studies have supported these findings. (2) , (3)
In addition to these memory and mental performance enhancing effects, bacopa may function as an antioxidant in the body. More specifically, it may reduce oxidation of fats in the blood stream, which is a common risk factor for the development cardiovascular diseases. (4)
Finally, a study conducted in the 1960s suggested that bacopa may be useful in improving the symptoms and occurrence of epileptic seizures. (5) A more recent study confirmed improvement in memory and mental performance problems generally experienced in patients with epilepsy taking certain anti-seizure medications. (6)
Toxicities & Precautions
[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]
This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.
Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding
To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.
To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.
- View Abstract: Kidd PM. A Review of Nutrients and Botanicals in the Integrative Management of Cognitive Dysfunction. Altern Med Rev. Jun1999;4(3):144-61.
- View Abstract: Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). Aug2001;156(4):481-4.
- View Abstract: Roodenrys S, Booth D, Bulzomi S, Phipps A, Micallef C, Smoker J. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacology. Aug2002;27(2):279-81.
- View Abstract: Tripathi YB, et al. Bacopa monniera Linn. As An Antioxidant: Mechanism of Action. Indian J Exp Biol. Jun1996;34(6):523-26.
- Mukherjee GD, et al. Clinical Trial on Brahmi. I. J Exp Med Sci. 1966;10(1):5-11.
- View Abstract: Vohora D, Pal SN, Pillai KK. Protection from Phenytoin-induced Cognitive Deficit by Bacopa monniera, A Reputed Indian Nootropic Plant. J Ethnopharmacol. Aug2000;71(3):383-390.