Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri)

Traditional Indications

Both Gotu kola (Centella asiatica and/or Hydrocotyle asiatica) and Bacopa monnieri are known as “brahmi.” Brahmi is a very important Ayurvedic herb, being particularly valued for its beneficial effect upon the nervous system. (1) In Ayurvedic medicine, bacopa is bitter and sweet and are especially good for pacifying pitta whilst also supporting vata and kapha. Bacopa monnieri is a nervine tonic used for enhancing cognitive function. It helps improve concentration, comprehension, recall and alertness.

Pharmacognosy

Bacopa monnieri's main active constituents are steroidal saponins, including bacosides. (2) Several randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have substantiated Bacopa’s cognitive enhancing effects with Bacopa Minniera having the potential to improve cognition. (3) There is also evidence for potential attenuation of dementia, (4, 5) Parkinson's disease (6) and epilepsy. (7)

Current evidence suggests Bacopa acts via the following mechanisms—anti-oxidant neuroprotection (via redox and enzyme induction), acetylcholinesterase inhibition and/or choline acetyltransferase activation, β-amyloid reduction, increased cerebral blood flow, and neurotransmitter modulation (acetylcholine [ACh], 5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT], dopamine [DA]). (8)

1. PFAF. Bacopa monnieri 2019
2. Ramasamy S, Chin SP, Sukumaran SD, Buckle MJC, Kiew LV, Chung LY. In Silico and In Vitro Analysis of Bacoside A Aglycones and Its Derivatives as the Constituents Responsible for the Cognitive Effects of Bacopa monnieri. PloS one. 2015;10(5):e0126565-e.
3. Kongkaew C, Dilokthornsakul P, P T, Limpeanchob N, Scholfield N. Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract2013.
4. Chaudhari KS, Tiwari NR, Tiwari RR, Sharma RS. Neurocognitive Effect of Nootropic Drug Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) in Alzheimer's Disease. Annals of neurosciences. 2017;24(2):111-22.
5. Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, NY). 2008;14(6):707-13.
6. Jadiya P, Khan A, Sammi SR, Kaur S, Mir SS, Nazir A. Anti-Parkinsonian effects of Bacopa monnieri: insights from transgenic and pharmacological Caenorhabditis elegans models of Parkinson's disease. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2011;413(4):605-10.
7. Paulose CS, Chathu F, Khan SR, Krishnakumar A. Neuroprotective role of Bacopa monnieri extract in epilepsy and effect of glucose supplementation during hypoxia: glutamate receptor gene expression. Neurochemical research. 2008;33(9):1663-71.
8. Aguiar S, Borowski T. Neuropharmacological review of the nootropic herb Bacopa monnieri. Rejuvenation research. 2013;16(4):313-26.