Are you looking for a more natural way to handle stress and anxiety? Would you like to boost your memory and cognitive functions without the aid of chemical psychopharmaceuticals?

If you answered YES to any of the above, you might want to try out Bacopa monnieri. Also known as Bacopa monniera, water hyssop, brahmi or bacopa for short, this amazing plant has long been a mainstay in traditional Indian medicine. Used for hundreds of years in South Asia, bacopa is loaded with the distinct natural compounds bacopasides and bacosides. This herb is distinct from another plant that is also dubbed “brahmi”-gotu kola. There should be no confusion between these two plans despite their similar names since they have different medicinal properties.

Long used for improving overall thyroid health, soothing anxiety, boosting brain function, and aiding memory, bacopa has been a traditional Indian medicine favorite. It is quite well known in South Asia and is widely recommended for treating any kind of memory or cognitive issue. While it hasn’t been subjected to clinical trials on a large scale, smaller studies do suggest that it offers quite a bit of promise regarding its traditional medicinal uses.

Before you use bacopa, consult with your doctor so you can make an informed decision. Your medical provider will give you the rundown on the advantages and disadvantages this herb has. Your doctor will also know your medical history and would be in the best position to advice you on the feasibility of bacopa for whatever condition you may have.

Bacopa’s Many Claimed Health Benefits

Initial chemical research on bacopa suggest that this herb might possess antioxidant compounds. These chemicals may boost the efficiency of the brain’s chemical ‘messengers’-neurotransmitters. Improved neurotransmitter capabilities help improve memory, learning, and cognition. Initial indicators also suggest that bacopa’s compounds also inhibit or prevent brain inflammation.

Please note however that only a few studies have been done on bacopa’s health effects. All of these focused on the prevention of certain health problems and/or treatment of such health issues.

Boosts Memory and Brain Function

In a study published in 2014 in the Journal of Ethnophamacology, researchers did a cross-reference study of nine previously published reports on the impact of bacopa’s compounds on human cognitive function. The researchers concludes that the existing scientific literature on bacopa suggest that there is potential for cognition improvement. However, the study concluded that large scale well-designed clinical trials comparing bacopa to brain-boosting medication are necessary.

An earlier study that also analyzed previous Bacopa research papers found evidentiary support for the claim that this herb may also boost memory when test subjects are asked to recall certain pieces of information.

Finally, in a 2016 direct study involving 60 college undergraduates, researchers discovered that when subjects where given 300 mg doses of bacopa per day for six weeks, they performed better in cognitive function tests.

Alleviates Anxiety

Studies also show that bacopa can help boost certain enzymes’ capability in modulating the brain’s stress response. This suggest that bacopa can help people mentally cope with stress better. According to a paper published in 2014 in the journal Phytotherapy Research, healthy participants who did several tasks had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and exhibited improvements in both cognitive ability and mood when given bacopa.

Bacopa Bio-availability & Dosage

Bacopa can be found online or at local health and nutrition stores. It is normally available in table and capsule form.

Bacopa dosage depends on key factors like gender, age, and whether a person is suffering from an illness. To date, there’s no hard scientific study recommending the ideal dosing range for this herb.

If you are thinking of using bacopa, make sure to keep your doctor in the loop. Your physician should be able to determine if you should take the supplement at all and, if so, recommend the right dosage.

Potential Side Effects of Bacopa

This herbal supplement may cause a range of side effects from fatigue, dry mouth, bowel movements, diarrhea, bloating, stomach cramps, to nausea.

Additionally, bacopa may boost calcium levels in the bloodstream.

Please note that most supplements haven’t undergone rigorous safety and efficacy testing. The market for supplements is still largely unregulated. There might also be labeling issues among certain supplements because product descriptions and purity may vary from brand to brand.

For instance, one research paper analyzed a dozen supplement samples and found chromium, calcium, and lead in all the samples. Although these were below the legally allowed limit, these chemicals’ presence is worth noting. Another study discovered elevated zinc, lead, copper, and cadmium levels in certain supplement formulations. These studies highlight the need for consumers to pay careful attention to metal content levels before buying bacopa or other herbal supplements.

Bacopa may impact both the brain’s neurotransmitter levels and neurotransmitter efficiency. The current scientific literature on bacopa is unclear on what impact the herb may be when taken by people who are currently on antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.

It is also unclear how safe supplements like bacopa are for people with medical conditions, patients taking a wide range of medications for different conditions, children and juveniles, and nursing moms. Regardless, pregnant women are advised to avoid supplements like bacopa which haven’t been tested for safety during gestation. This needs serious attention since some studies in animals suggest that bacopa might reduce fertility.

You can find supplement usage and safety tips online as well as here. However, please note that self-treating any condition you may have or waiting to get care from your physician might have serious effects on your health.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bacopa

What other names does bacopa go by?

Since this is a traditional medicinal herb, it has been given quite a number of names over the years. It’s referred to as water hyssop, Indian pennywort, herpestis monniera, herpestis herb, herb of grace, bacopa monnieri, bacopa monniera, and andri.

How does the bacopa herb interact or react with other supplements or food herbs?

Unfortunately, there’s not enough studies done on bacopa to know for certain. As of today, it has no known negative interactions with other supplements, herbs, or food.

Does bacopa have any negative interactions with medications or drugs?

To be completely confident and sure, you need to consult with your doctor. Your physician is in the best position to determine if bacopa can be safely taken with whatever medications you are currently taking. Due to its area of impact, please note that bacopa might interact with medication metabolized by the liver, thyroid hormones,  acetylcholinesterase inhibitors,  cholinergic drugs,  anticholinergic medication, and Alzheimber’s treatments.

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