Bacopa is a sub-family of many aquatic plant species found in tropical, and subtropical areas of the planet. These plants are aquatic herbs originating from the wetlands of India, parts of Australia and South America. Bacopa monnieri’s medicinal value is noted by its use in the Indian traditional healing system, known as Ayurveda. Bacopa monnieri has been referred to as brahmi, after the Hindu creator-God Brahma.
Bacopa extract is in a class of supplements called nootropics (otherwise known as smart-drugs). These are supplements that are believed to increase cognitive ability, particularly decision-making functions, memory, and overall intellectual drive. Bacopa monnieri is thought to be one of the top performing nootropics in use today. For thousands of years, bacopa has been utilized for brain rejuvenation, and memory recall enhancement. It is believed that scholars in ancient times, used Bacopa monnieri for recollection of long text quotations.
Bacopa’s pharmacological claims consist of anti-epileptic, antioxidant, sedative, and anti-inflammatory properties. But the main use for Bacopa is its impressive enhancement of cognitive abilities. Bacopa monnieri is an herb that has been prescribed for many decades, and has been noted to improve memory, and cognition. These traditional claims have been supported by extensive research and clinical studies. Listed below are some of the claimed benefits of Bacopa monnieri.
Brain Function and Cognitive Enhancement
Bacopa is traditionally used for improvement of neurological, mental and intellectual enhancement. Indian medicine, going back hundreds of years, describes bacopa as having the ability to hone intellectual abilities, and diminish mental deficiencies. The ability to learn, memorize, develop skills, and accept changes, are all a function of the brain’s ability to create new neurons; nerve cells that communicate with the brain.
The process of creating new neurons requires an ample supply of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, generally referred to as BDNF. Research suggests bacopa has the extraordinary ability to increase levels of BDNF in the brain. Since BDNF provides the framework for adequate learning, it makes sense that the absence of BDNF impairs the ability to learn at a high level. BDNF is essential for a healthy brain, because it serves almost as a soil fertilizer for the brain, keeping these proteins growing, driving the growth of new neurons.
Of course, having more BDNF in the brain is an ideal situation. But sometimes there is a lack of this essential protein. In such a case, learning is impaired, and other negative conditions can become apparent, such as Alzheimer’s disease, depression, schizophrenia, and perhaps epilepsy. You can find research that regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and healthy intake of omega-3 fatty acids can raise BDNF levels. These healthy habits are all things we should be doing anyway, right? But, why not keep your BDNF at its absolute peak level, by supplementing your natural BDNF with Bacopa Extract.
Research studies have concluded that Bacopa monnieri enhances brain function. Although these studies have tested short, and long-term effects of Bacopa, chronic use of bacopa monnieri showed much more promise than short-term use. Generally, it takes roughly twelve weeks of bacopa administration to realize full effects of verbal learning, and memory improvement.
Help for the Aging
The current increase in the aging population across the globe represents an emerging health concern when it comes to disability, and its economic burden. Even physically healthy seniors can experience cognitive decline. It’s simply mother nature taking her normal path. But it doesn’t have to occur so quickly. Since Bacopa safeguards the brain and nerve tissues, it could possibly contribute as a positive therapy for stroke and dementia, as well as other cognitive abilities. As we discussed the importance of BDNF earlier, it’s important to know that aging reduces BDNF levels. So it’s no surprise that as we age, we take longer to learn complex concepts. Another consideration is that everyone’s BDNF level decreases at a different pace.
While Bacopa monnieri is generally used to improve cognitive functions, it is also believed that it also has some positive benefits in the medicinal areas of; pain control, anxiety disorders, and perhaps even epilepsy.
Some early studies suggest Bacopa can be beneficial, along with other treatments, for pain management. Some studies suggest that Bacopa, with its Cox-2 inhibitor properties, can be helpful as part of a pain management regimen. In addition, bacopa monnieri may have properties that reduce the development of opioid dependance. This is good news for individuals who must use opioid medications as part of chronic pain programs.
Some studies indicate that taking 30ml of Bacopa each day for 28 days, can diminish symptoms of anxiety; including nervousness, increased heart rate, insomnia, headaches, and exhaustion. Some studies have shown that bacopa monnieri aids in transformation of enzyme activity involved in stress response, leading to the belief that bacopa may allow brain preparedness, for coping with causes of stress.
There are many different types of seizures, and just as many medications prescribed to control them. In many cases, more than one medication is used to control seizures in a patient. GABA regulates the level of dopamine, diminishing the possibility of seizures. Lack of GABA can cause seizures to be more likely. Bacopa monnieri promotes GABA activity, and along with anticonvulsant medication, could possibly help control the frequency of seizure activity. Seizures are a very serious matter, and Bacopa monnieri alone, should not be relied upon to control seizures. Do not use Bacopa to control seizures without speaking with your neurologist.
Forms of Availability
Bacopa is available in standardized liquid extract or encapsulated powder. Generally, high-quality bacopa will be certified as organic by a reputable third party organization, and packaged in light-resistant containers.
Drug interactions can occur with Bacopa monnieri. Bacopa can have negative interactions with allergy medications, and antidepressants. It can also have adverse effects on certain medications used for Alzheimer’s disease, or glaucoma. As with any dietary supplement, always check with your physician before starting use. This is especially important if you are under the age of 18, or pregnant.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.