You may have heard of it before. It’s an herb named Bacopa monnieri—Bacopa for short—but it also goes by the name brahmi and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, particularly for its brain health benefits.
What was presumed about Bacopa in the distant past has been confirmed by science in modern times. For example, back in 1996 at the International Brain Research Conference, it was highlighted that regular consumption of Bacopa cut back the time required to learn new tasks by a whopping 50 percent.
Along similar lines, the Department of Psychology at the University of Wollongong in Wollongong, Australia, in their academic paper Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory concluded that the results showed a significant effect of Bacopa on a test for the retention of new information. In the study, 76 adults between the ages of 40 and 65 years of age took part in the double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study in which a variety of memory functions were tested.
More recently, a study that took place in 2012 by scientists at Khon Kaen University in Thailand, had some study participants take Bacopa for a 12-week time period, while others took a placebo. After 12 weeks, those who took Bacopa scored higher in mental processing tests than those who took the placebo.
Why the impressive results from Bacopa? The University of Michigan Health System attributes the benefits to Bacopa’s bacosides, chemical compounds that repair damaged neurons, thereby improving nerve impulse transmission.
But wait. . . there’s even more to the benefits of Bacopa.
A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine cited that elderly volunteers who took a daily dose of 300 milligrams of Bacopa indicated greater improvement in attention and in verbal information processing than those who took a placebo. As a result, the study’s authors said that regular consumption of Bacopa can support cognitive function and lessen cognitive deterioration as well as mental unhealth that can frequently plague the aged population.
Then there are Bacopa’s mood-boosting capabilities. Bacopa has been linked to improved mood as well, including relief from stress, anxiety, nervousness and other mood sappers. This benefit is due to its chemical properties which support the effects of mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and acetylcholine. What’s perhaps even better is that these positive mood effects are achieved without any adverse side effects, unlike many prescriptions that are supposed to help support a healthy mood.
Additionally, Bacopa is noted for supporting the production of beneficial mucus in the gastrointestinal tract. In so doing, it provides protection from intestinal dryness, constipation and even stomach ulcerations. Likewise, Bacopa guards the villi of the intestines, whose chief role is to assist in nutrient absorption. Therefore, Bacopa helps to absorb those important vitamins and minerals from the food we eat, which is why many people choose to take Bacopa before or during meals.
Add that to the fact that Bacopa can help relax bronchioles and the blood vessels surrounding airway passages—to support respiratory health—and you have one impressive herb.
Bacopa. . . it’s a brain booster and much more.