Studies indicate that Bacopa monnieri has neuroprotective, nootropic, and adaptogenic effects. Research shows that it improves memory formation and recall.
Other Common Names
Brahmi, Aindri, Lysimachia monnieri L. Cent., Graticola monnieri L., Herpestis monniera L. Kunth., Water hyssop, Thyme-leafed gratiola, Indian Pennywort, Jalabrahmi.
Supports memory formation
Supports memory recall
What Is Bacopa Monnieri?
India is known for holistic health practices, and bacopa monnieri is one supplement that epitomizes this characteristic. Children in Indian villages are still fed bacopa monnieri to improve their cognitive abilities, and it isn’t only due to folklore.
Scientists have studied bacopa monnieri extensively, and even the most rigorous meta-analysis shows significant memory-enhancing effects on adults . Bacopa is considered an adaptogen, which helps to reduce the amount and impact of stress and anxiety in the body. This translates to higher cognitive performance and learning ability.
The benefits of bacopa monnieri are manifold and well-studied. While there is no such thing as a magic pill, bacopa monnieri impacts many beneficial aspects of the brain.
Bacopa’s active bacosides – the active compounds in bacopa monnieri – are antioxidants that enhance other brain antioxidants, including superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) . This synergistic antioxidant activity helps protect brain cells from the age-accelerating effects of free radicals. Bacosides also promote acetylcholine, GABA, and serotonin – all brain chemicals tied to focussed thinking, clear memory, and healthy mood.
Bacopa has strong ties to memory performance and a long association with new learning and retention . Human research shows Bacopa may slow the rate of forgetting newly acquired knowledge . Researchers have also suggested it accelerates mental processing, optimize cognition under stress, and promote relaxation.
Memory enhancement, however, is the most well-known benefit of bacopa monnieri. Many studies suggest the memory improvements take up to 12 weeks before taking full effect, but when they do, the results are significant .
Another benefit of bacopa is as an “anxiolytic,” which means anti-anxiety. Studies suggest it is not a highly potent anxiety-reducer, but works sufficiently to help improve mental performance. A study of people over 65 found significant improvements in anxiety and less depression with a 12-week regimen of bacopa monnieri .
Bacopa Monnieri Key Mechanisms
Bacosides are the active ingredients in bacopa monnieri 
Inhibits acetylcholinesterase, activates choline acetyltransferase – increased levels of acetylcholine 
Increases neurite branching and proliferation – improves synaptic communication and memory 
Modulates the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems – mood enhancer 
Modulates the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and oxidative damage from metals in the brain-protective against neurodegeneration 
Anxiolytic and analgesic effects [9-11]
Reduce the levels of the stress marker HSP70 in the brain – adaptogenic effect 
Synergistic with curcumin, Alpha-GPC and EGCG 
Bacopa Monnieri Deep Dive
- Pase, M. P., Kean, J., Sarris, J., Neale, C., Scholey, A. B., & Stough, C. (2012). The cognitive-enhancing effects of Bacopa monnieri: a systematic review of randomized, controlled human clinical trials. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 18(7), 647–652.
- Aguiar, S., & Borowski, T. (2013). Neuropharmacological review of the nootropic herb Bacopa monnieri. Rejuvenation research, 16(4), 313-326.
- Raghav, S., Singh, H., Dalal, P. K., Srivastava, J. S., & Asthana, O. P. (2006). Randomized controlled trial of standardized Bacopa monniera extract in age-associated memory impairment. Indian journal of psychiatry, 48(4), 238–242.
- Calabrese, C., Gregory, W. L., Leo, M., Kraemer, D., Bone, K., & Oken, B. (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 (New York, N.Y.), 14(6), 707–713.
- Barbhaiya, H. C., Desai, R. P., Saxena, V. S., Pravina, K., Wasim, P., Geetharani, P., … & Amit, A. (2008). Efficacy and tolerability of BacoMind on memory improvement in elderly participants—a double blind placebo controlled study. J Pharmacol Toxicol, 3(6), 425-34.
- Morgan, A., & Stevens, J. J. (2010). J Altern Complement Med: Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Alternative Medicine Review, 15(3), 283-284.
- Sivaramakrishna, C., Rao, C. V., Trimurtulu, G., Vanisree, M., & Subbaraju, G. V. (2005). Triterpenoid glycosides from Bacopa monnieri. Phytochemistry, 66(23), 2719-2728.
- Rauf, K., Subhan, F., Abbas, M., ul Haq, I., Ali, G., & Ayaz, M. (2012). Effect of acute and sub chronic use of Bacopa monnieri on dopamine and serotonin turnover in whole brain. African journal of pharmacy and pharmacology, 6(39), 2767-2774.
- Chowdhuri, D. K., Parmar, D., Kakkar, P., Shukla, R., Seth, P. K., & Srimal, R. C. (2002). Antistress effects of bacosides of Bacopa monnieri: modulation of Hsp70 expression, superoxide dismutase and cytochrome P450 activity. Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives, 16(7), 639-645.
- Chatterjee, M., Verma, P., & Palit, G. (2010). Comparative evaluation of Bacopa monniera and Panax quniquefolium in experimental anxiety and depressive models.
- Bhaskar, M., & Jagtap, A. G. (2011). Exploring the possible mechanisms of action behind the antinociceptive activity of Bacopa monniera. International journal of Ayurveda research, 2(1), 2.
- Anbarasi, K., Kathirvel, G., Vani, G., Jayaraman, G., & Devi, C. S. (2006). Cigarette smoking induces heat shock protein 70 kDa expression and apoptosis: modulation by bacoside A. Neuroscience, 138(4), 1127-1135.
- Velmurugan, K., Alam, J., McCord, J. M., & Pugazhenthi, S. (2009). Synergistic induction of heme oxygenase-1 by the components of the antioxidant supplement Protandim. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 46(3), 430-440.