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Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi), also known as Water Hyssop, has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to help with cognitive disfunction, sharpen the intellect, improve mental deficits, and enhance memory retention.  It has shown potential to offset cognitive decline associated with aging and provide a boost to memory and learning.  It is often associated with mood enhancing and anti-inflammatory properties and most recently has been used as a nootropic to improve mental capacity and performance.

Many scientific research studies support the use of bacopa and indicate it may have some of the following benefits:

1. Enhance cognitive function (1,2,6,9)
2. Improve mood (
3. Improve memory (
4. Improve focus (
5. Decrease heart rate (
6. Reduce effects of stress and anxiety (
7. Improve speed of visual information processing (
8. Improve rate of learning (
9. Improve attentions (

Scientific Studies Cited

1. Improvements in cognitive function, memory, and the effects of stress

“Change from baseline scores indicated positive cognitive effects, notably at both 1 h post and 2 h post BM consumption on the Letter Search and Stroop tasks, suggesting an earlier nootropic effect of BM than previously investigated. There were also some positive mood effects and reduction in cortisol levels, pointing to a physiological mechanism for stress reduction associated with BM consumption.”

Sarah Benson, Luke A Downey, Con Stough, Mark Wetherell, Andrea Zangara, Andrew Scholey (2014) An acute, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study of 320 mg and 640 mg doses of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on multitasking stress reactivity and mood, Phytother Research 2014 Apr;28(4):551-9. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.5029


2. Improvement in cognitive function

“Results:  From the various neuropsychological tests conducted digit span backwards and logical memory test showed statistically significant improvement in Bacopa group when compared with the placebo treated group.”

Navneet Kumar, ,  * L. G. Abichandani,  Vijay Thawani,  K. J. Gharpure,  M. U. R. Naidu,  and G. Venkat Ramana (2016) Efficacy of Standardized Extract of Bacopa monnieri (Bacognize®) on Cognitive Functions of Medical Students: A Six-Week, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial, Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,DOI: 10.1155/2016/4103423


3. Improvements in memory, focus, heart rate, and reducing the effects of stress and anxiety

“Results: Controlling for baseline cognitive deficit using the Blessed Orientation–Memory–Concentration test, Bacopa participants had enhanced AVLT delayed word recall memory scores relative to placebo. Stroop results were similarly significant, with the Bacopa group improving and the placebo group unchanged. CESD-10 depression scores, combined state plus trait anxiety scores, and heart rate decreased over time for the Bacopa group but increased for the placebo group. No effects were found on the DAT, WAIS digit task, mood, or blood pressure. The dose was well tolerated with few adverse events (Bacopa n = 9, placebo n = 10), primarily stomach upset.”

Carlo Calabrese, William L Gregory, Michael Leo, Dale Kraemer, Kerry Bone, Barry Oken (2008) Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, DOI: 10.1089/acm.2008.0018


4. Improvements in reducing the effects of stress and anxiety, rate of learning, speed of visual information processing

“Results: B. monniera significantly improved speed of visual information processing measured by the IT task, learning rate and memory consolidation measured by the AVLT (P<0.05), and state anxiety (P<0.001) compared to placebo, with maximal effects evident after 12 weeks.”

C Stough, J Lloyd, J Clarke, L A Downey, C W Hutchison, T Rodgers, P J Nathan (2001) The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects, Psychopharmacology, DOI: 10.1007/s002130100815


5. Improvement in memory

“Results: The Bacopa monniera product significantly improved performance on the ‘Working Memory’ factor, more specifically spatial working memory accuracy. The number of false-positives recorded in the Rapid visual information processing task was also reduced for the Bacopa monniera group following the treatment period. The current study provides support for the two other published studies reporting cognitive enhancing effects in healthy humans after a 90 day administration of the Bacopa monniera extract. Further studies are required to ascertain the effective dosage range, the time required to attain therapeutic levels and the effects over a longer term of administration.”

Con Stough,Luke A. Downey,Jenny Lloyd,Beata Silber,Stephanie Redman,Chris Hutchison,Keith Wesnes,Pradeep J. Nathan (2008) Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial, Phytotherapy Research, DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2537


6. Improvement in cognitive function, memory, and attention

"Conclusion: This study confirms the health benefit of Bacopa monnieri for the healthy elderly. In addition, no toxicity or side effects were observed throughout this experiment. It clearly demonstrated that B. monnieri suppresses AChE activity resulting in enhanced cholinergic function, which in turn enhances attention and memory processing and gives rise to the increased working memory. Since mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early phase Alzheimer's disease occur due to cholinergic degeneration and oxidative stress, this plant extract may provide a benefit in terms of decreasing memory impairment in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early-phase Alzheimer's disease and even in attention deficit disorder. However, these avenues of research require further investigation.”

Tatimah Peth-Nui, Jintanaporn Wattanathorn, Supaporn Muchimapura, Terdthai Tong-Un, Nawanant Piyavhatkul, Poonsri Rangseekajee, Kornkanok Ingkaninan, Sakchai Vittaya-Areekul (2012) Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Effects of 12-Week Bacopa monnieri Consumption on Attention, Cognitive Processing, Working Memory, and Functions of Both Cholinergic and Monoaminergic Systems in Healthy Elderly Volunteers, DOI: 10.1155/2012/606424


7. Improvements in attention and memory

“In conclusion, the study findings suggested that BacoMind® improved the cognitive functions such as attention and verbal memory in elderly individuals and was also found to be well tolerated.”

Harshad C. Barbhaiya, Rajeshwari P. Desai, Vinod S. Saxena, K. Pravina, P. Wasim, P. Geetharani, J. Joshua Allan, K. Venkateshwarlu and A. Amit (2008) Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Efficacy and Tolerability of BacoMind®on Memory Improvement in Elderly Participants - A Double Blind Placebo Controlled Study


8. Improvement in memory

“Conclusions: Bacopa significantly improved memory acquisition and retention in healthy older Australians. This concurs with previous findings and traditional use. Bacopa caused GIT side-effects of increased stool frequency, abdominal cramps, and nausea.”

Annette Morgan, John Stevens (2010) The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Does Bacopa monnieri Improve Memory Performance in Older Persons? Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Trial, DOI: 10.1089/acm.2009.0342


9. Improvements in cognitive function and memory

“Results: SBME produced significant improvement on mental control, logical memory and paired associated learning during the 12-week drug therapy.”

Sangeeta Raghav, Harjeet Singh, P K Dalal, J S Srivastava, O P Asthana (2006) Indian Journal of Psychiatry, Randomized controlled trial of standardized Bacopa monniera extract in age-associated memory impairment, DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.3155


10. Improvements in memory, effects of stress and anxiety, speed of visual information processing, and attention

“The characterized Bacopa extract showed significant improvement (p<0.05) over baseline in short-term memory, processing speed, attention and depression, an effect which was also observed at 16 weeks, four weeks after dosing stopped. No adverse events were reported in either group.”

L Hingorani, S Patel, B Ebersole (2012) Planta Medica, Sustained cognitive effects and safety of HPLC-standardized Bacopa Monnieri extract: A randomized, placebo controlled clinical trial, DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1320681