Brahmi is a staple plant in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, also known as Bacopa monnieri. For centuries, Ayurvedic medical practitioners have used Bacopa monnieri for a variety of purposes, including memory recovery, anxiety reduction, and epilepsy treatment. Here are 5 amazing health benefits of bacopa monnieri.
1. Can Help People With Anxiety and Stress
Bacopa monnieri can avoid anxiety and depression. It is called an adaptogenic herb, which means this increases the resilience of your body to stress. Research suggests that Bacopa monnieri helps to reduce stress and anxiety by elevating the mood and reducing cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress levels (1, 2).
One rat study shows that the anti-anxiety effects of Bacopa monnieri is like those of lorazepam (benzodiazepine), a prescription drug for anxiety treatment. The results of bacopa monnieri on anxiety is conflicting (3).
Another human study found that anxiety was not impaired by treatment with Bacopa monnieri. To validate its impact on stress and anxiety, we need more large-scale human studies (6).
2. Can Enhance Brain Function
Research suggests Bacopa monnieri may improve brain function. One research in mice, for example, found that supplementing with Bacopa monnieri enhanced their spatial learning and knowledge processing capacity (7).
The same study also found that the length and branching of dendritic increased. Dendrites are portions of the brain’s nerve cells associated with learning and memory (8).
In addition, a 12-week study of 46 healthy adults found that taking 300 mg of Bacopa monnieri daily improved the speed of visual information processing, learning levels, and memory compared with placebo treatment (9).
Another 12-week study in 60 older adults showed that, compared to placebo care, taking either 300 mg or 600 mg of Bacopa monnieri extract daily improved memory, focus, and ability to process information (10).
3. Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major health problem because it places stress on your heart and blood vessels. This can weaken the heart and increase heart disease risk. Research suggests that Bacopa monnieri can help maintain a healthy range of blood pressure (11, 12).
Bacopa monnieri decreased the levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure in one animal study. It achieved this by releasing nitric oxide that helps dilate blood vessels, leading to better blood flow and lower blood pressure (13, 14).
Another study showed that Bacopa monnieri lowered levels of blood pressure in rats with elevated levels, but had no effect on rats with normal levels of blood pressure (15).
In 54 stable older adults, one 12-week study found that taking 300 mg of Bacopa monnieri daily had no effect on blood pressure levels (16).
Based on current findings, in animals with high blood pressure, Bacopa monnieri can lower blood pressure. To validate these results, we need further human research.
4. Can Reduce Inflammation in The Body
Inflammation is the natural reaction of your body to help heal and fight disease. Several chronic conditions, including cancer, diabetes, heart and kidney disease, have been associated with chronic low-level inflammation (17).
To determine whether Bacopa monnieri reduces inflammation in humans, we need further research.
5. It Contains Antioxidants Properties
Antioxidants are compounds that help protect against cell damage from harmful molecules known as free radicals. Research suggests that many chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers are associated with damage caused by free radicals. Bacopa monnieri produces strong antioxidant compounds (24, 25).
For example, bacosides, the main active compounds in Bacopa monnieri, neutralize free radicals and prevent the reaction of fat molecules with free radicals. They undergo a process called lipid peroxidation as fat molecules react with free radicals (26).
There are several diseases associated with lipid peroxidation, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders. A research study, for example, found that Bacopa monnieri treating rats with dementia decreased free radical damage and reversed memory loss signs (27, 28, 29).
Bacopa Monnieri Side Effects
Although Bacopa monnieri is safe, some people may experience side effects. It can cause digestive symptoms, including nausea, cramps of the stomach, and diarrhea, for example.
For pregnant women, Bacopa monnieri is not recommended as no studies have tested the efficacy of its use during pregnancy. It may also interfere with certain drugs, including amitriptyline, a medication used to relieve pain.
Speak to your health care provider before taking Bacopa monnieri if you are taking other drugs. Bacopa monnieri is safe, but nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea can occur in some people.
The bottom line
For many illnesses, Bacopa monnieri is an ancient herbal remedy from Ayurveda. Human studies show that it can help improve brain function and reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, test-tube and animal studies have found that it may have anticancer properties and decrease inflammation and blood pressure. While these potential health benefits are encouraging, there is a need for more work on Bacopa monnieri to understand its full impact on human health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Typical dosages in human studies for bacopa monnieri extract range from 300 to 450 mg daily. Depending on the product you purchase, however, dosage recommendations can differ. If you have dose-related questions, speak to a trained health professional to ensure your safety.
The nootropic and anxiolytic effects of bacopa are because of its ability to improve neuronal connectivity and to modulate the release of several neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and GABA.
Bacopa monnieri’s acute stimulation effects work as soon as it enters the bloodstream, 15-30 minutes after intake. The potential benefits of bacopa Monnieri should take place within 4-6 weeks to improve memory and cognition.
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