Bacopa monnieri is an herbal supplement that primarily aids in improving memory and helping the brain adapt to stress. First used in ancient India as a medicinal tonic, it is swiftly becoming regarded by modern medicine as a potent nootropic treatment of memory and stress-related disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and anxiety.
Bacopa monnieri is a perennial plant found in humid wetlands across the globe, particularly in the middle east. Known as “Brahmi” in India and other eastern cultures, it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as a treatment for all sorts of ailments, from ulcers and leprosy to infertility.
Modern studies of how bacopa monnieri extracts interact with the brain suggest that it can improve memory, particularly acquisition and retention.
Some believe that certain compounds in the plant protect against brain cell degradation and promote healing of brain tissue.
While the FDA still lists Bacopa monnieri as a poisonous plant in their database, it has granted access to bacopa monnieri as a dietary supplement since the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. You can find it online or in local vitamin and supplement stores all over the United States as a capsule, powder, or tincture. The plant itself is also available for sale online and from specialty garden stores.
Because bacopa monnieri works similarly to the synthetic nootropic Piracetam, studies have focused on using it as a natural treatment for age-related memory disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, for stress-related anxiety, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
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I appreciate that bacopa monnieri is a natural supplement derived from a plant, rather than synthesized. I find the fact that it has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries comforting. I’m not so fond of the extraordinarily bitter taste, however, and much prefer to take the capsule. Some brave souls turn the powder into a tea or add sweeteners and spices to cover up the taste. I’ll stick with the pill, thanks.
I would definitely take this supplement with a meal, and for me at least, always in the morning with breakfast. If I take it too late in the day, I’ve noticed I tend not to sleep very well at night. If I try to have it without something in my stomach, sometimes feel lingering nausea after.
It takes time, but after roughly four weeks I started to notice a difference in how well I remembered the contents of a book or article after reading it. My focus was improved, almost to a fault. I couldn’t seem to do anything else but the one task. For students, this would be invaluable. I also felt much more relaxed, which could sometimes backfire on me as motivation could be hard to find at times.
I am a little concerned that the effects I’ve been feeling might be all in my head. I’d like to continue taking bacopa until I’m confident that the cognitive effects weren’t just a fluke. Overall, I feel better about myself, am less anxiety-ridden, and have a clearer mind. If you’d prefer to try a purely natural nootropic, bacopa is a good replacement for synthetic supplements like piracetam.
Bacopa Monnieri Reviews
Users from Amazon to Reddit have given overwhelmingly positive reviews about their experiences with bacopa monnieri supplements. I’ve found the rare complaint of stomach problems or users lacking any measurable results, but overall bacopa has been thoroughly embraced by health enthusiasts. The popular supplement blog, Nootriment, reports that any cons are substantially outweighed by the pros.
Originally used in India as a treatment for tumors, stomach ulcers, inflammation, and a host of other illnesses, the U.S. primarily focuses on bacopa monnieri’s effects on the brain.
- Improving Memory
Repeated studies have shown a connection with the long-term use of bacopa and increased memory and language recall, particularly in older adults. Bacopa’s ability to improve cognitive function may further assist in creating treatments and act as a preventative measure for age-related brain disorders, like Parkinson’s disease. Continued study of other cognitive benefits is currently underway, as we continue to explore bacopa’s many effects on the body.
- Stress Management
Aside from helping with memory, bacopa is also believed to help reduce stress as an adaptogenic, or normalizer of stress hormones. The compounds found in the bacopa monnieri plant trigger an anti-stress response in test animals and human subjects alike, helping the brain to cope with anxiety-inducing situations. By lowering your stress hormone levels, bacopa also helps reduce the damage that cortisol and adrenaline have on your overall health.
- Enhanced Learning
Lower stress and increased memory function may also account for why bacopa seems to help with learning. By lowering anxiety and stimulating brain function, it becomes much easier to focus on and retain what you’re trying to learn, making bacopa a useful supplement for students of all ages.
- Treatment of Brain Disorders
Bacopa monnieri works to improve memory by giving the brain a one-two punch of stimulating memory-enhancing enzymes and encouraging synaptic communication. Bacopa helps to boost the release of Tryptophan Hydroxylase (TPH2), an enzyme that increases synaptogenesis, or the growth of connections between neurons in the brain. These neural pathways connect brain cells, which allow thoughts, knowledge, and actions to move through your mind. Bacoside A, a compound found in bacopa monnieri that improves synaptic communications, can increase how fast information flows through your brain.
Stress plays a factor in memory, as any of us who went through high school knows. Bacopa assists with reducing stress and helping us to think more clearly in two different ways. The first is by limiting the amount of biomarker HSP70 in the brain. HSP70 helps your brain to see and handle stress when it arrives, but by having your body notice less stress, your overall anxiety is decreased, making typically worrisome situations suddenly seem much less dire.
The second way bacopa helps to manage stress is in another one of its ingredients, herasaponin, an anxiolytic that causes relaxation. When combined with bacopa’s ability to increase your body’s secretion and regulation of serotonin and dopamine–the happiness neurotransmitters–your brain does much better at remaining calm and retaining information.
Because bacopa monnieri can potentially be toxic if taken in large amounts, it’s important to be careful when deciding on a dosage. A safe dose, to begin with, is 300 mg per day, with a bacoside content of 50%, though it varies between users and some experimentation could be required. It may be wise to consult a healthcare professional to find the dose that best benefits you.
Though bacopa’s side effects are mild and many users don’t report any at all, it can be hard on the stomach, especially if taken without eating, first. Common side effects include:
- Indigestion and cramping
- Increased bowel movements
Bacopa should not be taken with antidepressants, thyroid medication, or sedatives.
Due to bacopa monneiri’s potential for toxicity and low incidences of negative side-effects, it can benefit from having the dose decreased while stacking it with other nootropics. Depending on which of the benefits you’re going for, you can pair nootropics with similar effects to enhance the overall efficacy of the supplement.
For cognitive enhancement, try pairing bacopa with piracetam, pramiracetam, or adrafinil. To capitalize on stress reduction, popular stacks may include aniracetam or phenibut. To increase both mental and physical function, bacopa goes well with the stimulants oxiracetam and phenylpiracetam. As a bonus, the stimulating supplements may help combat bapoca’s potential for drowsiness.
is a synthetic nootropic, primarily used to increase brain function in older adults. It is one of the oldest, and most well-researched nootropics and is considered the poster child for “smart drugs,” or cognitive enhancers. It is water soluble, which means you can take it without having to eat. It is safer to take large doses of piracetam, as it doesn’t have the same potentially lethal effects of bacopa in cases of overdosing. Additionally, piracetam works as well, if not better than aspirin in reducing the risk of forming blood clots.
- Works best on people age 55 years and older
- Can be taken without a meal
- Effects begin after one hour of ingestion
If the potential for toxicity and slow action of bacopa monnieri is too much for you, consider trying piracetam instead.
Another cognitive booster, phosphatidylserine works to improve communication between neurons, increases fluidity between cell membranes, and helps to form stronger cell walls. It is a chemical that can be found in every part of the human body. Like bacopa, it improves memory and cognition in people of all ages but has the additional effect of acting as a stimulant.
- A stimulant
- 2x more expensive than bacopa
- Improved athletic performance
- Possible treatment for depression
If bacopa monnieri makes you feel too drowsy, or you’re looking for an extra energy boost to help you focus, phosphatidylserine might fit in better with your lifestyle.
is another nootropic, though this supplement is most useful in improving memory while you’re under stress. It helps combat mental fatigue by increasing your body’s production of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that works to spark your mind and body into action. One unfortunate downside to L-tyrosine is that it interacts with many different supplements and medications. We recommend comparing any current medication you are taking to research of L-tyrosine interactions.
- A stimulant
- Half as expensive as bacopa
- Burns fat
- Can increase blood pressure
Sluggish brains can make learning and work difficult. If you thrive on fast-paced activities and adrenaline, L-Tyrosine might be more your speed.
Bacopa monnieri is a natural supplement that can help improve memory and cognitive function for people of all ages while working to reduce stress and protect against age-related degradation. Though it can take longer for bacopa to come into effect, it has proven to have powerful results for students, hard-working employees, and older adults who want to retain information while lowering their stress. With minor side-effects and so many different preparation options, bacopa is an excellent natural nootropic to help keep your mind clear.
Click here to try out this useful supplement for yourself.