Bacopa monnieri has become a popular supplement, thanks to its many healing properties. You can recognize the herb by its creeping tendrils and tiny pink, purple, or white flowers. But, Bacopa monnieri does far more than make your garden look pretty. It’s also a powerful nootropic that sharpens your intellect and helps calm the mind. Keep reading to find out the many health benefits of Bacopa monnieri for your brain and body.
What Is Bacopa monnieri?
Bacopa monnieri, also known as Brahmi or water hyssop, grows in mild climates across almost every continent. From Eastern India to North America, you can recognize this perennial herb by its small leaves and delicate white, pink, or purple flowers that bloom in mid-spring through to mid-fall.
This fast-growing perennial loves water and grows in coastal hammocks, swamps, salt and freshwater marshes, rice fields, and along the banks of rivers, streams, and ponds. Its creeping tendrils and tolerance for water make it popular to grow in hanging baskets, water gardens, or draping over the side of planters.
What Does Bacopa Do?
For thousands of years, practitioners of the traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda, have recognized the healing benefits of Bacopa monnieri. In fact, ancient texts from 6th century India recommend the medicinal herb. They referred to it as “Brahmi”, named after Lord Brahma, the Hindu god and creator of the universe and all beings. No wonder it earned the nickname the “herb of grace.”
Ancient physicians considered Brahmi especially important in maintaining brain health. They used it as a powerful brain tonic to sharpen intelligence and maintain emotional balance.
Health Benefits of Bacopa monnieri
Modern medicine has begun to explore traditional herbs, like Bacopa monnieri, to see if their uses hold up to science today. So, does the herb actually do anything for our health? Surprisingly, they weren’t far off! Let’s take a closer look at Bacopa monnieri benefits for the brain and body.
1. It’s considered a nootropic.
The phrase nootropic refers to any ingredient said to enhance cognitive abilities. In the 1960s, Romanian chemist and psychologist, Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea first came up with the term. It comes from the Greek: “noos,” meaning “mind,” and “tropein,” meaning “to bend or turn.” He created a new class of “smart drugs”—ingredients said to “bend” the chemistry of the brain toward better health and function.
Nootropics do things like help you focus, improve your memory, increase creativity, and boost mental performance. Learn more about nootropics for your brain.
Ayurvedic practitioners used Bacopa monnieri as a nootropic long before the term even existed. They prepared neural tonics to sharpen intellect and support a healthy mind. Ancient Vedic scholars may have also included it in sacred ceremonies for heightened awareness.
Bacopa monnieri seems to enhance mental performance in several ways. It interacts with dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that help brain cells send and receive messages. It may also promote the growth of dendrites, tree-like extensions of nerve cells that receive communications from other cells.
Clinical studies support that Bacopa monnieri may enhance cognition, especially when it comes to memory and concentration. One study found that healthy adults experienced faster visual processing speed, learning, and recall after taking 300 mg of Bacopa monnieri daily for 12 weeks.
In another study, older adults demonstrated greater memory, attention, and information processing after taking 300 mg or 600 mg of Bacopa monnieri extract daily.
2. It helps calm the mind.
A healthy brain is a happy one. When your brain gets all the essential nutrients it needs to function, you also experience a calmer, relaxed state of mind. The health benefits of Bacopa monnieri seem to also help you feel more at ease and stable. Participants who took the herbal supplement over a 12-week period showed signs of a calmer state of mind and an overall improvement in mood.
Research links Bacopa monnieri’s positive effects to cortisol—the stress hormone. It appears that taking Bacopa monnieri helps the body regulate cortisol levels, which leaves you feeling more relaxed and better able to cope with stress.
3. It contains powerful antioxidants.
Our bodies use oxygen as energy. But, when cells process oxygen, they often leave behind unstable molecules called free radicals. Too many of these free radicals can interact with and damage healthy cells. Over time, this interaction causes oxidative stress, which can lead to mutations and health issues in the body.
Bacopa monnieri contains active compounds called bacosides, which may have antioxidant effects to protect against oxidative stress. These powerful antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and support healthy cells over a lifespan in the brain and body.
4. It supports blood flow to the brain.
Although scientists have yet to test its efficacy in humans, Bacopa monnieri shows promise in increasing cerebral blood flow. A healthy blood flow to the brain not only helps you think clearly, it also supports overall health.
Blood supplies the brain with the nutrients it needs to function. Cerebral blood flow also helps communicate information about the body to the brain. Blood travels around the body, collecting information. Then, it shares this information with the brain cells, to let them know what the body needs.
5. It protects long-term brain health.
Numerous studies show that Bacopa monnieri has the potential to protect brain health as we age. Clinical studies found that the herb enhances memory in both adults and children, keeping our brains sharp over a lifespan.
How to Take Bacopa monnieri
The standard dose of Bacopa monnieri is 300 mg daily. Bacopa monnieri is fat soluble, which means it should be supplemented alongside a meal for your body to absorb it. Traditionally, Ayurvedic practitioners prepared Bacopa monnieri brain tonics with ghee, a clarified butter used in Indian cooking.
In a clinical study, participants who took 150 mg of BacognizeⓇ Bacopa twice daily saw significant improvements in attention, focus, and memory after six weeks. Get your daily dose of Bacopa monnieri with NeuroQ Smart Thinking. This powerful nootropic formula contains 300 mg of BacognizeⓇ Bacopa extract for enhanced memory and mental performance.