Bacopa Monniera is an natural herb derived from the plant commonly called “water hyssop.” It has been used in Ayurveda medicine for thousands of years to treat a wide range of conditions including inflammation, fever, coughing, poisoning, various blood disorders, as an astringent and a laxative (1). In more recent times, it is used primarily as a nootropic to improve mental acuity and memory, and to reduce stress (2, 3).
In India, Bacopa it is known as Brahmi after Brahma — the Hindu creator god. The plant is mentioned in numerous ancient texts as a treatment for a range of mental disorders and conditions.
Bacopa has repeatedly been shown to improve cognitive function, aid in memory formation, and reduce both stress and anxiety (4, 5, 6). Studies indicate that anti-anxiety effects occur almost immediately, whereas the cognitive enhancing effect may take quite a bit longer, perhaps weeks. (7, 8). Importantly, Bacopa works for both the elderly and young people.
Finally, may have certain “neuroprotective” properties: it shows promise in reducing oxidative damage from aluminum and preventing iron toxicity in the brain (9).
Bacopa contains 14 biologically active compounds called Bacopasides (10). Bacopa primarily interacts with the dopamine and serotonergic pathways (involved with stress and anxiety reductions), and may have effects on cholinergic systems, relating to the benefits of enhanced cognitive function) (11, 12). Mechanisms of memory improvements are believed to derive from enhanced neuronal transmission and signaling (13).
The standard effective dose of Bacopa is 300 mg (14). At this dose Bacopa induces a relaxing effect and is sometimes paired with stimulants such as caffeine or theacrine to mitigate potential drowsiness. Bacopa is a fat-soluble supplement and should be taken with meals to avoid stomach upset or cramping.