Herbal Remedy with Memory Boosting and Anti-Anxiety Activity
Bacopa is a great neurotonic, immuno-modulator, adaptogen, tranquilizing, memory and learning enhancing, cerebral activator, anti-ulcer, antispasmodic, anti-asthmatic ayurvedic herb. Other benefits are anti-allergic, free radicals scavenging effect and as herbal supplement in Epilepsy, anxiety and depression.
Know its beneficial actions on brain, memory, mental deficiency, Alzheimer’s disease, learning skills, anxiety, depression, stress, epileps and ADHD children.
The Effects Of Bacopa Monnieri Approved By Clinical Research Trials
Bacopa Effects On Brain Functions:
In a double blind randomized placebo controlled research study in Australia, at University of Wollongong, this ayurvedic botanical was found to be effective in tests for retention of new information.
In another similar study mentioned in Neuropsychopharmacology (Aug.2002), its effects were documented for several weeks and various memory functions were tested with levels of anxiety. The study revealed the same – B. monnieri decreases the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information, verbal learning rate and memory consolidation.
In yet another study, the chronic (3 weeks to 12 weeks) administration of B. monnieri showed significant improvement in speed of visual information processing by IT task, learning rate and memory consolidation as compared to placebo. There was improvement in higher order cognitive functions that depend on memory, learning and environmental factors.
However the single dose of this medicinal herb doesn’t show any improvement in cognitive or memory functions. The dosage in the above two studies was 300 mg of B. monnieri extracts daily.
Triterpenoid saponins and Bacosides of B. monnieri play key role for enhancing nerve impulse transmission. Bacosides support the repair of damaged neurons by enhancing kinase activity, neuronal synthesis, restoration and regeneration of synaptic activity resulting in nerve impulse transmission. These effects make it a wonderful nerve tonic or nerve nourishing agent as against the neuroleptic drugs that modulate the behavior.
In a study on this its effects on children, it showed significant improvement in exploratory drive, improved perceptual image of patterns and increased perceptual organization and reasoning ability.
During International Brain Research Conference in Australia 1996, CDRI scientists presented that B. monnieri reduced the time to learn specific task to six days while the control group took ten days to learn the same task.
Bacopa In Mild To Moderate Mental Deficiency:
B. monnieri was tested on men with mild to moderate mental deficiency. 172 persons received B. monnieri 500 mg of extract thrice a day while 114 persons received placebo for one year. At the end of study, there was improvement in concentration ability, memory span, and overall mental performance in individuals taking the extract as compared with placebo group.
There was improvement in the performance of school children with poor educational performance.
Alzheimer’s Disease And Bacopa:
Loss of cholinergic activity in hippocampus was the primary cause of Alzheimer’s disease. B. monnieri showed important antioxidant activity in many brain parts like hippocampus, striatum and frontal cortex. Further studies showed its protective effect against DNA damage in astrocytes and fibroblast cells. All this suggest its important role in Alzheimer’s and at least it could be useful in checking the progression of this disease to some extent.
Bacopa In Epilepsy:
Despite its mention as anti-epilepsy role it was found to exert this effect only on very high doses over long periods. The dose near LD50 showed effect against seizures. Research in India found hersaponin to exert some anticonvulsant effect. So it could better be used as an adjuvant in treatment of Epilepsy.
Anti-epilepsy drugs as Phenytoin have some side effects as cognitive impairment. Simultaneous administration of this botanical with phenytoin improved acquisition and retention of memory. B. monnieri extracts have corrective effect on phenytoin induced cognitive deficit.
Bacopa Improving Learning Skills:
In this research trial, the animals were trained in T maze. One group wasn’t given any medicine, second group was given Diazepam and third, fourth and fifth group received this ayurvedic herb. After 10 days there was comparable memory and learning enhancement in the group treated with B. monnieri. Biochemical studies found the Serotonin content of B. monnieri groups to be more compared to control group and the other group.
All the anti-depressants – SSRI’s, Tricyclic antidepressants and MAO inhibitors produce two effects – the augmentation of the effect of Norepinephrine and Seotonin by blocking their intracellular depletion. It is not clear how B. monnieri produced this effect of increasing Serotonin content. But in future as the understanding of these neurochemicals would grow, B. monnieri might emerge as the standard and natural treatment for anxiety and depression.
Bacopa In Stress:
In this study on rats, B. monniera showed the potential to be effective in stress. The response had been better in the group that was pretreated for one week with 20 to 40 mg/kg/daily of it even before exposing to stress.
The level of Hsp70 increases in brain as a response to stress. After giving B. monnieri for seven days, and then giving stress to animals, the Hsp70 was found in lower concentration in animals pretreated with Bacopa.
The two P450 enzymes respond differently to B. monnieri. These two enzymes EROD & PROD levels in pretreated rats were found more even before exposure to stress. Thus B. monnieri primed the brain for stress by stockpiling these useful enzymes even before stressful conditions. Our susceptibility to stress could be lowered by using this medicinal herb.
The SOD interpretation was difficult. Researchers concluded as “B. monnieri helps in coping with combined hypoxic, hypothermic and immobilization stress that could lead to onslaught of free radicals.” Thanks to this ayurvedic herb for all such beneficial effects without asking any recognition.
Bacopa For Anxiety:
Research on rats as models of clinical anxiety showed the anxiolytic activity of its extracts with 25 percent bacosides as comparable to Lorazepam. Plus there were no side effects of Lorazepam, like amnesia. Rather there was memory enhancing effect.
Another one month study on diagnosed anxiety neurosis patients, with syrup of this medicinal herb equivalent to 12 gm of crude powder, found significant reduction in anxiety symptoms, level of disability and fatigue. There was additional increase in immediate memory, decreased respiratory rate and decreased SBP or systolic blood pressure.
Bacopa For Depression:
The B. monnieri extract in the dose of 20 to 40 mg per kg was given once daily for five days and it was found comparable to standard anti-depressant drug Imipramine in anti-depressant activity in rodent animals.
Bacopa Potentiating Barbiturate Action:
Epilepsy patients who are taking Barbiturates can benefit from B. monnieri. It may potentiate the effect of Barbiturates so they are needed in lower dosage. Plus there would be relief from other side effects like behavioral abnormalities, diminution of intelligence, impairment of learning and memory, hyperactivity in children and mental confusion in older patients.
Bacopa & ADD Hyperactive Children:
Another double blind study at BRD Medical College, at Gorakhpur, India, on children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder) showed benefit after 12 weeks of B. monnieri use in sentence repetition, logical memory and paired associated learning tasks. The children were given the test four weeks after the B. monnieri had been withdrawn and it affirms its lasting effect.
GABAergic Action Of Bacopa:
Researchers believe that, among its other mechanisms, Bacopa meditates the GABAergic system. Gamma-aminobutyric acid is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that has been shown to possess anticonvulsive, antinociceptive (prevention of pain due to hypersensitive nerve endings), locomotor, and sedative effects.
Bacopa In Ayurveda
Bacopa monnieri or Brahmi is presented in Ayurveda as one of the leading herb for enhancing memory and promoting intelligence. Find its benefits and medicinal uses as described in Ayurvedic texts.
Brahmi According To Sushruta Samhita:
Sushruta described this ayurvedic herb as useful in ‘Raktapitta’ or Bleeding diathesis, beneficial to heart, useful in Skin disorders, Urinary disorders, Fever, Asthma, Bronchitis and Dyspepsia. This ayurvedic herb possesses light and cold quality, astringent in taste, sweet in Post-digestion effect and good for Pitta. (Sushruta Samhita, Sutra Section Ch.46)
Sushruta again mentioned this herb as beneficial for its rejuvenative and memory enhancing effect when its expressed juice is taken with milk. (Sushruta Samhita, Disease Management Section Ch.28)
Brahmi According To Charaka Samhita:
Charaka mentioned its rejuvenative properties as enhancing the quality and span of life, promoting intelligence, destroying the diseases, enhancing strength of body and mind, digestive power, body’s complexion and the quality of voice. (Charaka Samhita, Disease Management Section Ch.1)
Bacopa According To Bhava Prakasha’s Materia Medica:
Bhava Prakasha wrote clearly of the properties of this medicinal herb in his classical materia medica. This ayurvedic herb has cold, light and mobile qualities; it is astringent – sweet in taste and sweet in post-digestive effect. This medicinal herb is useful as rejuvenative agent, promoting the voice quality, enhancing the memory, helpful in skin disorders, anemia, urinary disorders, cough, fever, edema and poisoning.
The Traditional Use Of Bacopa Monniera Or Brahmi
The Traditional Uses of B. monnieri are as per Ayurveda texts and according to the traditional uses as found on its use.
Effects On Body Humors:
B. monnieri pacifies the Kapha and Pitta humor.
This is used as a paste in skin disorders and rheumatism.
Bacopa For Brain & Nerves Or Central Nervous System:
This ayurvedic herb promotes intelligence particularly the power of retention. Nervous irritation or agitation is found to be relieved by it. It is used traditionally for enhancing memory, and in Psychosis, Epilepsy and Anxiety.
Effect On Digestive System:
It is useful as digestive aid. In some studies the anti-amoebic activity is also found.
Effect On Cardiovascular System:
Edema and Bleeding disorders are found to be relived with its use.
Effect On Respiratory System:
There is expectorant property found in this medicinal herb.
Effect On Breast Milk:
Due to Galactagogue activity it promote the secretion of milk.
Effects On Urinary System:
Leaves possess diuretic action.
Effect On Skin:
The circulation in skin is increased due to dilatation of blood vessels that is why it does help in skin disorders.
Effect On Fever:
Aama or vitiated mucus is digested by its intake so it normalizes the fever due to Aama accumulation.
Effect On Prolonged Use:
The strength of body and mind is enhanced, the cells are stimulated to promote life and health.
Excretion Of Brahmi:
It is excreted by skin and kidney so these organs are stimulated during its excretion.
Bacopa Herbal Remedies
Bacopa monieri as the Medhya Herb – Herbal Remedies for promoting Intelligence, Focus, and Emotional Wellbeing
Bacopa monieri or Brahmi is surely one of the most prominent Ayurvedic herb for overall mental and emotional wellbeing and has been serving people for several thousand years. This is a great ‘Medhya‘ or intelligence promoting herbal remedy.
It is a great immunostimulant, tranquilizing, mind pacifying, neuroleptic, psychotropic herb with great action on Nervous system – anticonvulsant, antispasmodic, cholinesterase inhibition, CNS depressant or sedative, neuromuscular blocking, anesthetic and mild barbiturate potentiating effect. Besides it has antiviral, anti-bacterial, anti-tumor, antipyretic, antihistaminic or anti-allergic effects.
Ayurvedic Classification Of Bacopa:
It is present in following groups of Ayurvedic herbs.
- Bitter section of herbs.
- ‘Prajasthapana‘ or helpful in having children and retaining the embryo or fetus in womb.
- ‘Vayasthapana‘ or promoting the span and quality of life.
Commonly Mistaken For:
This medicinal Ayurvedic herb has been commonly mistaken for Gotu kola.
Brahmi or Water hyssop, Pennell, Herb-of-Grace.
Bacopa monnieri or B. monniera (Linn.). It has also been referred as Herpestis monnieri.
- Mandukiparni – because its leaves resemble the frog.
- Manduki – because it is found near the water bodies like the frog or it spreads like the frog on land or it is being utilized by a sage known as ‘Manduka’.
- Brahmi – it has the potential to enhance intellect on use or it is related to the creator God Brahma’s power of wisdom Goddess Saraswati.
- Saraswati – its relation to Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and learning.
Parts of Bramhi Plant working as Herbal Remedy:
- Whole plant
- Stem and leaves
Suggested Usage & Different Forms That Are Used:
- Traditional Dosage: 3-5 gm of non-standardized powder two or three times a day.
- Extracted Juice: 10 – 20 ml. two or three times a day.
- Infusion: 10 – 15 ml of infusion
- Standardized Fluid extract: 1:2 fluid extract should be taken in 4-12 ml for adults and 2-4 ml for children within 6 to 12 year of age.
- Standardized 20% Extract (Both Bacosides A & B): 200 to 400 mg per day in two or three divided dosage for adults and 100 to 200 mg per day in two or three divided dosage for children within 6 to 12 year of age.
Natural Active Ingredients Of Brahmi Plant:
- Alkaloids: Hydrocotyline, Brahmine, Herpestine
- Glycoside: the fresh leaves contain Asiaticoside in the concentration of 10-45 mg per kg. Another glycoside, Thanakunicide is also present.
- Vallerine, bitter substances, pectic acid, fatty acids, tannin, volatile oil, ascorbic acid, thanakunic acid, asiatic acid,
- Brahamoside, Brahminoside, Brahmic acid, Isobrahmic acid, Stigmasterol
- Flavonoids: Apigenin, Luteonin
- Additional Phytochemicals: Betulinic acid, Wogonin, Oroxindin, including Betulic acid, Stigmastarol, beta-sitosterol, as well as numerous Bacosides and Bacopasaponins, and amino acids like alpha alanine, Aspartic acid, Glutamic acid, and Serine, and its esters, Heptacosane, Octacosane, Nonacosane, Triacontane, Hentriacontane, Dotriacontane, Nicotine, 3-formyl-4-hydroxy-2H-pyran (C6H6O3), and its 7-glucoside.
- Saponins: d-mannitol , Acid A, and Monnierin (C51H82O213H2O, mp 262-63º); Hersaponin [ mp 232 – 34º (decomp.)], Bacoside A [C41H68O134H2O, mp 250º (decomp.)], and Bacoside B [C41H68O135H2O, mp 203º (decomp.)]
Some Phytochemistry Of Bacopa Monnieri:
- Monnierin gave glucose, arabinose and an aglycone (C30H48O4, m p 235-37º) on hydrolysis.
- On hydrolysis, Bacosides A and B gave glucose, arabinose and bacogenins A1,A2,A3, and A4.
- Bacogens A1 and A2 are apimers, and A4 is an ebelin lactone.
- Smith-de Mayo degradation of bacoside A gave jujubogenin and pseudojujubogenin.
- Bacopa’s alkaloids brahmine, herpestin are highly toxic when administered at doses of 0.5 mg per kg of body weight.
But Don’t Worry! This harmful alkaloid is found in very low concentrations. The extract of Brahmi up to a dose of 5 gm per kg of bodyweight didn’t reveal any toxicity on oral intake. The LD50 (Lethal Dose’s 50%) of the bacopa extract was 17gm per kg. This points that a person weighing 70kg would have to take more than 1kg of extract a day to produce a dangerous or fatal dose. And it is highly unlikely.
Ayurvedic Properties Of Brahmi:
- Qualities: light
- Taste: bitter
- Sub-taste: astringent
- Vipaka: sweet
- Active principle or Virya: Cold
- Specific effect: Medhya or promoting the intellect or enhancing the functions of brain
Ayurvedic Herbal Formulation Of Bacopa Monnieri:
- Brahmi Panaka: A kind of soft beverage prepared by Brahmi and usually used in summer.
- Brahmi oil:
- Saraswata Ghritam
- Brahmi vati or tablet