Historys brain booster
Grace Ormstein, MD
Bacopa, or Bacopa monnieri, has been used as a brain booster in India since the sixth century. Used to improve focus and memory, it can enhance mental performance.
Since the sixth century, scholarly minds in India have often turned to bacopa (Bacopa monnieri, or Brahmi in Sanskrit and Hindi) for better comprehension, improved memory, and antioxidant support to the brain. This brain booster is one of history’s top choices for more successful learning.
For centuries bacopa has been used to promote learning ability. Recent research has shown that while bacopa promotes restful, dependable sleep in the long run, it has no immediate sedating effect. In other words, in the context of a work or school day, it calms the senses and rests the preoccupied mind without causing drowsiness, when used on an ongoing basis. It reduces anxiety, but keeps you sharp, not sleepy.
A recent study in the Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism shows bacopa is a safe and efficacious herb for improving cognitive functions in human subjects. The double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, affiliated with the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research in Kolkata, India, showed that bacopa significantly improved the participants’ ability to verbally recall information, perform mental tasks, and comprehend new information within 16 weeks.
Participants were given either a placebo, or one caplet containing 750 mg of Bacopa monnieri daily. The bacopa group showed significant improvement in memory parameters during the four-month study, while the placebo group showed no such improvements.
Part of the study’s significance was the fact that it tested multiple styles of learning and memory, both auditory and visual, along with comprehension tests, which demonstrate bacopa’s multi-faceted effectiveness.
The active constituents of bacopa, called bacosides, are thought to help synthesize neurons and strengthen worn-out ones in the hippocampus, where new memories are created. This effect may lead to enhancement of memory and learning capacity and prevent cognitive deficits while exerting an adaptogenic and antioxidant effect that counters oxidative stress on the brain.
Because of its adaptogenic, antidepressive, and rejuvenating effect on the mind, it’s common to see formulas containing bacopa used for improving classroom conduct, and frustration tolerance, as well as mood and motor performance. It’s a herb that students young and old can safely use for more focused study and calmer academic performance.
Want to get the school year off to a great start? Think about bacopa, history’s original brain booster.
And of course, make sure to consult a health care practitioner to ensure bacopa is right for you and your family.