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Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri is a nootropic herb that has been used in traditional medicine for longevity and cognitive enhancement. Supplementation can reduce anxiety and improve memory formation.

Our evidence-based analysis on bacopa monnieri features 91 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Bacopa monnieri

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Bacopa monnieri, commonly known as water hyssop, is an herb often used in Ayurveda.

Supplementing Bacopa monnieri has been shown to improve cognition, by means of reducing anxiety. It is also reliable for improving memory formation. Though effects of this nature are usually studied in the elderly, Bacopa monnieri appears to affect young people as well, making it a useful nootropic.

Since Bacopa monnieri is also an adaptogen, a relaxed person might experience a lack of motivation to work after supplementation. Theoretically, pairing Bacopa monnieri with a stimulant would ward off malaise, but this combination has not been tested.

Bacopa monnieri interacts with the dopamine and serotonergic systems, but its main mechanism concerns promoting neuron communication. It does this by enhancing the rate at which the nervous system can communicate by increasing the growth of nerve endings, also called dendrites. Bacopa monnieri is also an antioxidant.

Taking Bacopa monnieri on an empty stomach may cause nausea, cramping, bloating, and diarrhea.

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How to Take

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

The standard dose for Bacopa monnieri is 300mg, assuming that the total bacoside content (the active compound) is 55% of the extract, by weight.

Bacopa monnieri can also be supplemented in a leaf or powder form. To achieve the ideal 10-20% of bacoside content requires a dose of 750-1,500mg of the leaf or powder.

Historically, Bacopa monnieri was consumed with ghee, a clarified butter that originated in India. Since Bacopa monnieri is fat soluble and requires a lipoid transporter to be absorbed, it should be supplemented alongside a meal.

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Human Effect Matrix

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The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Bacopa monnieri has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-b Notable High See all 8 studies
Although general and requiring a long time to take effect (4-6 weeks), bacopa appears to reliably and effectively improve memory in both healthy persons and during cognitive decline
grade-b - High See all 3 studies
There is unlikely to be an inherent effect of bacopa on attention, although at least one study noted improvements in attention in persons with attention deficit (ADD).
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
Appears to prevent rises in anxiety, and does not appear to unilaterally reduce anxiety. May be more of a modulator than anything, but doesn't appear overly potent
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
An anti-depressive effect has been noted, but to a relatively small magnitude. Requires more context-based evidence
grade-c Minor - See study
A small reduction of acute forgetting (just during a task, not outright amnesia) has been noted, which may contribute better to long term memory (ie. grasping concepts better)
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on blood pressure has been noted with chronic bacopa ingestion
grade-c - - See study
No significant influences noted on acute cognitive performance with bacopa monnieri ingestion

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Things to Note

Other Functions:

Also Known As

Brahmi, Aindri, Lysimachia monnieri L. Cent., Graticola monnieri L., Herpestis monniera L. Kunth., Water hyssop, Thyme-leafed gratiola, Indian Pennywort, Jalabrahmi

Do Not Confuse With

Cnidium Monnieri (Unrelated herb)

Goes Well With

  • In double-blind interventions, Bacopa tends to give upset stomachs much more than placebo. Would be advisable to take with food

  • Bacopa takes time to work. Studies that are too short tend to note either lesser or no effects, and studies that take multiple measures note that improvements are much better at 8-12 weeks than they are at 4-6 weeks.

  • Anxiolytic effects might be acute though; its just the cognitive enhancement that seems to take time.

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Click here to see all 91 references.