Bacopa, a plant for memory.

The plant #Bacopa monnieri (L.) plays an important role in traditional Indian medicine; its use is already found in 7000 year old writings. Traditionally, the plant was seen as a tonic for the #hersenen - Yes. The herb would be the #geheugen and the ability to learn and concentrate, and it was used in anxiety disorders and epilepsy. In India and Pakistan, it has also been used for a long time as cardiotonic, digestivum and as a symptom reliever in bronchoconstriction.
The Indian name is Brahmi, Sanskrit for expanded consciousness. However, the name Brahmi is sometimes referred to as Centella asiatica, and these two tropical water plants are regularly changed. The herb is also listed in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, with the pinyin name Jia ma chi xian.

Botany and phytochemistry

Bacopa monnieri is a small, strongly branched marsh plant from the plantain family that blooms all year round with a blue flower. Harvesting is carried out several times a year. The whole plant is used as alcohol or water extract (tea). Several important alkaloids, saponins and sterols in them were described fifty years ago. The Bacopa in the trade is mostly wild collected in India, but there are now also some cultivars developed by government agencies in India. Traditionally, the whole plant is dried (root, stem, leaf, flower and fruit). In the American Pharmacopoeia, the monograph for the
dietary supplement, however, that the material consists of dried leaves and stems.

In recent decades, the interest of researchers lies mainly in the influence of the herb on brain functions. For this purpose, the isomers of Bacoside-A and -B are referred to as active ingredients. Bacosides are mixtures of triterpene saponins and their glycosides. Alongside the saponins, alkaloids (brahmine and herpestine), flavonoids (including luteolin and its derivatives) and triterpenes (including betulinic acid and various sterols) are also described in this herb.

Effect on the brain

In 2015, the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine devoted attention to the mechanisms of action known to Bacopa monnieri. The Indian Government has invested a lot of money in hundreds of studies that should clarify how it works at the cellular level and in brain tissue. In the government research institute Lucknow, a special extract called CDRI 08 was developed with which most studies were done, often with rats. In particular, spatial learning (maze testing) and working memory were improved by the administration of Bacopoa extract. It turned out that various effects play a role in this:
  • The antioxidative effect of the extract: cells in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and striatum are
  • protected against oxidative damage that plays a role in Alzheimer's
  • Reduction of beta-amyloid deposition and stress-induced damage in the hippocampus
  • Reduction of lipoxygenase activity and thus inhibition of lipid peroxidation
  • Increase in the activity of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase
  • Interactions with dopamine and serotonergic systems; specific corrective effects on stimulated N-methyl-D-asparate receptors in the brain
  • Protection of cholinergenurons and reduction of anti-cholinesterase activity similar to cholinesterase inhibitors donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine
  • Vasodilation in the brain due to nitrogen oxide production and therefore nerve cell protective
  • Promotion of dendrite growth (endings of nerve cells), allowing more and faster communication between these cells

A scientific research

Dave et al. published a study with Bacopa in children with low IQ in 2008. In 2014 they reported an open-label study in 31 children (90% boys) aged 6-12 years with ADHD. The standardised Indian product BACOMind (1 capsule/ day, 225 mg extract) was administered 225 mg/ day for 6 months.
At the start and end of this period, the parents completed a list of behavioral symptoms. Restlessness improved by 93%, impulsiveness by 67%, concentration capacity by 85%, self-control by 89%, mental problems by 52% and learning difficulties by 78%.


Bacopa monnieri is one of the most promising plants to investigate further for use in ADHD. There are many
conducted laboratory and clinical studies that suggest that Bacopa improves various brain functions such as ability to concentrate and alertness.
However, these have generally been small studies and the studies were largely limited to India. There is urgent
need for large-scale research in multiple countries to better value Bacopa's clinical potency
Sources and references
  • [1] Kumar N et al. Efficacy or standardized extract of Bacopa monnieri (Bacognize) on cognitive functions of medical students: A six-week, randomized placebo-controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2016; 2016:4103423.
  • [2] Thorne Research. Bacopa monnieri monograph. Alternat Med Rev 2004; 9 (1) :79-85. [3] English G & Brinckmann J. Bacopa. Herbalgram (American Botanical Council) 2011; 91:1 -4. [4] Rajan KE et al. Molecular and functional characterization of Bacopa monniera: A retrospective review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2015. Article ID 945217. doi:10.1155/2015/945217. [5] Stough C et al. Mechanisms, efficacy, and safety of Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) for cognitive and brain enhancement (Editorial). Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2015; 2015:717605. [6] Simpson T et al. Bacopa
  • Monnieri as an antioxidant therapy to reduce oxidative stress in the aging brain. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2015. Article ID 615384. (via [7] Rai R et al. A special extract of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI-08) restores learning and memory by upregulating expression of the NMDA receptor subunit GLUN2b in the brain of scopolamine-induced amnesic mice. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2015; 2015:254303. Doi: 10.1155/2015/254303. [8] Chaudhari KS et al. Neurocognitive effect or nootropic drug Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) in Alzheimer's Disease. Ann Neurosci 2017; 24:111 -122. [9] Kongkeaw C et al. Meta-analysis or randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects or Bacopa monnieri extract. J Ethnopharmacol 2014; 151 (1) :528-535