The Bacopa (Monnieri) plant is one of the most widely-known and closely studied natural nootropics in the world. Other names for it include Brahmi and Hyssop. It’s a member of the herb genus and a very hardy perennial, growing mainly, like the Maca plant (see previous article) at high altitudes. It’s to be found on the Hindu Kush and Himalayan ranges, along with areas across South East Asia and in some of the southern states of America.
Bacopa comes with many colors of small delicate flowers and thick, succulent leaves. Due to its ideal habitat – wetland conditions – it has become a popular home aquarium plant. For that reason, it’s also an excellent candidate for commercial and hydroponic farm production. It doesn’t need much nutrition from soil and will grow even in poor quality or salt-tainted water without diminishing its powers.
The key to its success and toughness is that it produces an unusually large number of phytochemicals. These types of chemicals ward off bacteria, viral and fungal infection, as well as resisting insect and other bug-attacks, they include various amino acids – vital for healthy cells, Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) and numerous healthy flavonoids. Some of these chemicals may have the same protective and curative effects on us, particularly the antioxidant properties which protect us against cellular free radical damage – a key cause of the aging/inflammation cycle.
A note to the buyer:
A caveat: Please be aware that with Natural medicine, extraction method does not guarantee quality control, either of the source or of the extraction process itself. Please buy all your health products ONLY from high quality, certified vendors, as contaminated ones can be very harmful and even fatal in some cases. They are not subject to the same licensing scrutiny as pharmaceuticals. Nor are they subject to the same level of large scale, double-blind trials, before being marketed. All-Natural supplements must come with that thought-that more and better scientific research is needed to establish what they do and don’t do. It’s a wide-open field which potentially opens up a huge range of therapeutic options, not only those of today, but for our future.
That said, some of Bacopa’s medicinal properties have been scientifically verified, inspiring a high level of confidence in using and recommending it.
Another reason for its enduring popularity is its long history of use. For thousands of years, it has been and remains an important part of the traditional Ayurveda Healing method of India. It has been used safely for numerous conditions throughout the last 5000 years – at least. They include memory loss (mainly in old age) and memory enhancement (students often use it before taking exams). It is used as an anti-epilepsy drug (some mix Bacopa extract with modern epilepsy drugs, such as Epilim-a practice which often works well-BUT, if too much is used, is a life-threatening combination and should NEVER be attempted except under a Consultant’s direction).
The third and by far the biggest reason for Bacopa’s popularity is its powerful all round brain benefits. Not only in terms of memory and clarity of thought, but it’s powerful Nootropic effect. It boosts intelligence, speed of thought and learning, plus the overall quality of the thinking process, due to the well-documented actions of the Saponin chemicals in its products.. For a healthy adult, the best dosage is 300-600mg a day.
Additionally, human-trialed scientific studies have found it to reduce anxiety and blood pressure-making it a useful stress reliever and recreational love-drug. It can lower levels of inflammation and reduce pain. It is being tried to aid ADHD and ADD, with some apparent, but as yet unconfirmed success. It’s used for Alzheimer’s, IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), but in different dosages, also for constipation. Bacopa is a mild muscle-relaxant-and opens the tiny air sacs of the lungs (alveoli) – treating asthma and reportedly aiding athletes.
Above all Bacopa is a safe supplement for a healthy adult and contributes toward a life-improving diet. It has few side effects, with most not being serious, the most common being loose bowel movements and minor stomach cramps. It has no known negative interactions with other substances, except anticholinergics and some epilepsy medications (in high dosages). It should not be given to children except under medical supervision, nor to pregnant women, as it does have hormonal effects on all genders.
To get the best from Bacopa with the fewest side-effects, take it at the above level for 12 weeks, take a break and start it again. Double Wood supplements provides an excellent Bacopa extract as a convenient addition to your diet.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to augment the work of medical specialists, not to replace it. Before taking any supplement or new medication, always consult your Physician.