Bacopa monnieri, commonly known as water hyssop, is an herb often used in Ayurveda. It is taken for the purpose of improving cognitive function, stress relief, and a general enhancement of vitality. Bacopa monnieri interacts with the dopamine and serotonin systems, but its main mechanism concerns promoting neuron communication. It does this by increasing the growth of dendrites. Bacopa monnieri also has antioxidant effects.
An improvement in memory is the only known benefit of Bacopa, and the effect tends to be inconsistent across different tests and scenarios, making it difficult to know specifically when it’s beneficial. Though effects of this nature are usually studied in the elderly, Bacopa monnieri appears to affect young people as well. Some preliminary research suggests that it can reduce cortisol secretion and the depletion of dopamine and serotonin during chronic stress, but more research is needed to confirm this. It may have antidepressant effects, but is largely unproven for that purpose.
Taking Bacopa monnieri on an empty stomach may cause nausea, cramping, bloating, and diarrhea. Since Bacopa monnieri may have anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) effects, a relaxed person might experience a lack of motivation to work after supplementation, and it may not be safe to take it in conjunction with other anxiolytics.