Hamburger black

Bacopa

Research Library

This scientific research is for informational use only. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Care/of provides this information as a service. This information should not be read to recommend or endorse any specific products.

Bacopa monnieri is a small plant with light purple flowers. Found in wet and marshy regions, it is native to India. Bacopa has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries; some believe it can be traced all the way back to 800 BC. In traditional medicine, it is used as a brain tonic to improve focus and memory and enhance learning. Bacopa is often referred to as Brahmi, which some scholars think originates from Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe in Hindu mythology.

Stress and Mood

A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study was performed on 17 healthy volunteers. Patients taking bacopa showed a more positive mood and had lower cortisol levels, a significant marker of stress reduction. This is a small study, but other studies have produced similar results. A 2001 study on 46 healthy volunteers showed significant reductions in anxiety for those taking bacopa when compared to the placebo group.

Healthy elderly adults with an average age of 73.5 years were given bacopa or a placebo for 12-weeks in a randomized, double-blind study. The bacopa group showed improved scores on a depression and anxiety test in comparison to the placebo group over the course of the test.

References
  1. 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.
    Benson S, Downey LA, Stough C, Wetherell M, Zangara A, Scholey A.,
    Phytotherapy Research,
    2014
  2. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects.
    Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, Nathan PJ.,
    Psychopharmacology,
    2001
  3. Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
    Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B.,
    Journal of alternative and complementary medicine,
    2008

Cognitive Function and Memory

A small, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study showed that people taking bacopa performed better on a multi-tasking framework test than those taking the placebo, indicating positive cognitive effects of bacopa supplementation.

A larger study performed on 47 subjects showed that subjects taking bacopa significantly improved speed of visual information processing, learning rate, and memory consolidation compared to placebo. Additionally, bacopa improved the retention of new information in a 2002 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study on 76 healthy subjects.

There has also been research on bacopa for its effect on working memory. A 2008 study published in Phytotherapy Research showed improvements in working memory and a reduction in false-positives recorded in people taking a Rapid Visual Information Processing Task. Similarly, bacopa showed positive effects on memory enhancement in a 16-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study on healthy adults. This 2006 study presented improvements in total memory score, paired associate learning and logical memory (although other memory tests performed showed no change between bacopa and placebo).

The studies listed above were all performed on healthy adults, but memory and cognitive problems are often associated with the elderly. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study performed on healthy adults 65 years or older with an average age of 73.5 years. This study found improvements in an auditory verbal learning test for volunteers taking bacopa.

References
  1. 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.
    Benson S, Downey LA, Stough C, Wetherell M, Zangara A, Scholey A.,
    Phytotherapy Research,
    2014
  2. Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial.
    Stough C, Downey LA, Lloyd J, Silber B, Redman S, Hutchison C, Wesnes K, Nathan PJ.,
    Phytotherapy Research,
    2008
  3. Randomized controlled trial of standardized Bacopa monniera extract in age-associated memory impairment
    Raghav S, Singh H, Dalal PK, Srivastava JS, and Asthana OP.,
    Indian Journal of Psychiatry,
    2006
  4. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects.
    Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, Nathan PJ.,
    Psychopharmacology,
    2001
  5. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory.
    Roodenrys S, Booth D, Bulzomi S, Phipps A, Micallef C, Smoker J.,
    Neuropsychopharmacology,
    2002
  6. Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
    Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B.,
    Journal of alternative and complementary medicine,
    2008