- this and 9 other claims about Bacopa or Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)'
What is Bacopa?
Bacopa is commonly found in Asian wetlands, where it has been known for hundreds of years for its health benefits and is regularly used in Ayurverdic medicine. It seems many of its benefits are a result of its high content of Saponin Bacoside and Bacopasaponin in its leaves and roots , . This high content of antioxidants helps the body to regulate inflammation and chelate heavy metals . Bacopa also has cholinergic effects. In simple terms this means that it affects the way the body uses and makes acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in many functions including memory, cognitive degeneration, awareness, consciousness, attention, muscle movement and dilation of blood vessels , .
10 claims about Bacopa
As is often the case in the study of foods as medicine we still need many more studies before we can say with any certainty how Bacopa affects our health. I have collected 10 of the most mentioned claims about the effects of Bacopa here and identified some studies that support these suggestions. I am not trying to say that Bacopa will definitely have this effect on you or that Bacopa is the answer to all health problems listed below. I simply want to introduce you to some of the studies done on the health-enhancing properties of Bacopa.
I should highlight that some of the studies listed here were done on animals or in laboratories using cells – especially for some of the claims lower down on the list. We can’t extrapolate results from such studies directly to us. Larger scale human trials would be needed before we can know exactly how Bacopa affects us humans in comparison to how it affects animals or cells in a test tube. This is actually a really important factor to keep in mind when you hear about superfoods or wonder supplements – perhaps I should write a post on this later?
Some of the studies on the effect of Bacopa on memory and cognitive function were however done on humans. Some were even the ‘gold standard’ randomised double blind control type (which is what we also use to measure the effectiveness of medication) – and these do suggest (as Ayurverdic medicine has said for centuries) that Bacopa may support cognitive function in humans.
Studies suggest Bacopa may support cognitive function and memory –
Studies suggest Bacopa may protect from degenerative neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia 
Studies suggest Bacopa may support you in coping with and regulating stress –
Studies suggest Bacopa may ameliorate the symptoms of depression and anxiety , 
Studies suggest Bacopa can have anti-inflammatory effects, which may support the body in managing arthritis, pain and rheumatoid conditions –
Bacopa is rich in antioxidants, which is associated with many positive health effects , 
Bacopa has traditionally been used to treat respiratory infections 
Studies suggest that Bacopa may support wound healing due to antimicrobial, antifungal and antioxidant properties 
Studies suggest Bacopa may support blood sugar regulation , 
Studies suggest that Bacopa may play a soothing role in irritable bowel conditions 
How do you use Bacopa?
Eat it fresh in salad
Have it dried and ground as a herbal seasoning
Chew on 2 or 3 fresh leaves
Rub the leaves (or juice of the leaves) onto the skin
Brew the fresh or dried leaves into a tea
As with most foods that may have medicinal properties you should be cautious about how you use Bacopa.
Should you have a diagnosis of any health conditions or suspect one always speak to your health practitioner before using Bacopa. The same goes if you are taking any prescription or over the counter medication.
It is not adviseable to take Bacopa regularly over a longer period of time. Current research suggests it can be safely used by adults for up to three months . Pregnant and breast-feeding women as well as children should always consult their health practitioner before using Bacopa .
You should also be cautious about where your Bacopa comes from – as it loves to grow in wetlands (which can sometimes mean unsightly things as ‘near sewage canals’) it can accumulate toxic metals . However, one study found that although some plant samples had high levels of certain metals only few of these were absorbed (in a call model of our digestive system), and they concluded that based on the metal content of their samples up to 5g of Bacopa a day should be safe .
Nevertheless- as with all food supplements- try and find a source that regularly tests its products for heavy metals and other toxins.
Generally, Bacopa is well tolerated, it may however cause increased stool frequency, nausea, abdominal cramps, dry mouth, fatigue, flatulence, bloating, decreased appetite, headache, palpitations, insomnia, and vivid dreams .
 Natural Medicines, “Bacopa,” 2019. [Online]. Available: https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=761. [Accessed: 02-Oct-2019].
 G. Pushkar, B. Pushkar, and R. Sivabalan, “A review on major bioactives of Bacopamonnieri,” Ann. Appl. Bio-Sciences, vol. 2, no. 2, 2014.
 C. Stough, H. Singh, and A. Zangara, “Mechanisms, Efficacy, and Safety of Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) for Cognitive and Brain Enhancement,” Evidence-Based Complement. Altern. Med., vol. 2015, pp. 1–2, Aug. 2015.
 Biology Dictionary, “Cholinergic - Definition, Drugs, Effects and Side Effects | Biology Dictionary,” Biology Dictionary, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://biologydictionary.net/cholinergic/. [Accessed: 02-Oct-2019].
 C. Stough et al., “The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects,” Psychopharmacology (Berl)., vol. 156, no. 4, pp. 481–484, Aug. 2001.
 C. Kongkeaw, P. Dilokthornsakul, P. Thanarangsarit, N. Limpeanchob, and C. Norman Scholfield, “Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract,” J. Ethnopharmacol., vol. 151, no. 1, pp. 528–535, Jan. 2014.
 N. Uabundit, J. Wattanathorn, S. Mucimapura, and K. Ingkaninan, “Cognitive enhancement and neuroprotective effects of Bacopa monnieri in Alzheimer’s disease model,” J. Ethnopharmacol., vol. 127, no. 1, pp. 26–31, Jan. 2010.
 S. K. Bhattacharya and S. Ghosal, “Anxiolytic activity of a standardized extract of Bacopa monniera: an experimental study,” Phytomedicine, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 77–82, Apr. 1998.
 A. Head, K and S. Kelly, G, “Nutrients and Botanicals for Treatment of Stress: Adrenal Fatigue, Neurotransmitter Imbalance, Anxiety and Restless Sleep,” Altern. Med. Rev., vol. 14, no. 2, 2009.
 D. Rai, G. Bhatia, G. Palit, R. Pal, S. Singh, and H. K. Singh, “Adaptogenic effect of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi),” Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav., vol. 75, no. 4, pp. 823–830, Jul. 2003.
 C. Calabrese, W. L. Gregory, M. Leo, D. Kraemer, K. Bone, and B. Oken, “Effects of a Standardized Bacopa monnieri Extract on Cognitive Performance, Anxiety, and Depression in the Elderly: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial,” J. Altern. Complement. Med., vol. 14, no. 6, pp. 707–713, Jul. 2008.
 K. Rauf, F. Subhan, A. M. Al-Othman, I. Khan, A. Zarrelli, and M. R. Shah, “Preclinical Profile of Bacopasides From Bacopa monnieri (BM) As An Emerging Class of Therapeutics for Management of Chronic Pains,” Curr. Med. Chem., vol. 20, no. 8, pp. 1028–1037, Mar. 2013.
 V. Viji and A. Helen, “Inhibition of pro-inflammatory mediators: role of Bacopa monniera (L.) Wettst,” Inflammopharmacology, vol. 19, no. 5, pp. 283–291, Oct. 2011.
 S. S. Volluri, S. R. Bammidi, S. C. Chippada, and M. Vangalapati, “In-Vitro Anti-Arthritic Activity of Methanolic Extract of Bacopa Monniera,” Int. J. Chem. Environ. Pharm. Res., vol. 2, no. 2–3, pp. 156–159, 2011.
 L. Peng, Y. Zhou, D. Y. Kong, and W. D. Zhang, “Antitumor activities of dammarane triterpene saponins from Bacopa monniera,” Phyther. Res., vol. 24, no. 6, p. n/a-n/a, Jun. 2009.
 B. C. Binita, M. D. Ashok, and T. J. Yogesh, “Bacopa monnieri (L.) Pennell: A Rapid, Efficient and Cost Effective Micropropagation,” Plant Tissue Cult. & Biotech., vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 167–175, 2005.
 S. Murthy, M. K. Gautam, S. Goel, V. Purohit, H. Sharma, and R. K. Goel, “Evaluation of In Vivo Wound Healing Activity of Bacopa monniera on Different Wound Model in Rats,” Biomed Res. Int., vol. 2013, Jul. 2013.
 T. Ghosh, T. Maity, and J. Singh, “Antihyperglycemic Activity of Bacosine, a Triterpene from Bacopa monnieri , in Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Rats,” Planta Med., vol. 77, no. 08, pp. 804–808, May 2011.
 S. K. Yadav, A. K. Jain, S. N. Tripathi, and J. P. Gupta, “Irritable bowel syndrome: therapeutic evaluation of indigenous drugs.,” Indian J. Med. Res., vol. 90, pp. 496–503, Dec. 1989.
 R. Srikanth Lavu et al., “Trace Metals Accumulation in Bacopa monnieri and Their Bioaccessibility,” Planta Med., vol. 79, no. 12, pp. 1081–1083, Jul. 2013.