Bacopa monnieri is an herb that has been used in Ayurveda medicine since antiquity to enhance memory and reduce anxiety. Promising preclinical data support these effects, but does Bacopa monnieri work in humans?

The study

This systematic review included 32 studies that investigated the effects of Bacopa monnieri on aspects of cognition in healthy people and people with Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Of these studies, 11 randomized controlled trials were included in a meta-analysis, all of which investigated memory and attention in a total of 645 healthy individuals.

The results

The meta-analysis found that Bacopa monnieri may slightly improve delayed recall and learning rate on an audiovisual learning test, forward and reverse digit span, and logical memory. That said, there was a considerable risk of publication bias.

In the systematic review, Bacopa monnieri appeared to slightly improve some measurements of cognition in Alzheimer’s and may also improve some measures of depression and anxiety. However, many of these studies lacked sufficient controls, so these findings are far from definite.

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This Study Summary was published on March 5, 2021.