The History & Background of Bacopa Monniera
Bacopa monniera (water hyssop) or brahmi is a small plant, often used in Ayurveda or a branch of medicine that focuses on the oral ingestion of herbs and other supplements most favorable to one’s health. This supplement is used to treat particularly those that involved anxiety, intellect and poor memory. It occurs naturally in India. Bacopa monniera has been included in treatment as nerve tonic and to enhance cognition. It is also an adaptogen which means, it helps the person adapt to physical and mental strength.
Bacopa monniera has been used way back 3000 BCE and by other sources to approximately the 6th century AD. It was classified as medhya-rasayan, medhya: memory enhancing and rasayan: rejuvenating. Bacopa works in various ways, it promotes memory and intellect, improves the clarity of voice and even one’s complexion.
Use in Supplements
It is an herb that helps improve mental performance and also promotes energy as well as sleep and can also be used to treat insomnia. There are two chemicals found in bacopa, basides A and B, which improve the transmission of one’s brain’s nerve cells. Bacopa also increases serotonin, a chemical to promote relaxation. This herb can help treat ADHD patients through its ability to boost brain function while reducing anxiety.
Brahmi can be used for treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), Parkinson’s disease, dementia, depression, Asperger’s syndrome, autism and drug abuse.
Although brahmi is commonly known for its ability to enhance mental ability, it also an adaptogen. Adaptogens can be beneficial for athletes. It helps in the faster recovery of the muscles after an intense workout. It is may also assist in fat burning as it has been shown to increase production of thyroid hormone T4. It can prevent metabolic slowdown but cannot elevate metabolic rate that is connected with dieting.
The common dosage for bacopa monniera is 300 mg per day at 50% bacoside content level. It is recommended to take with a meal or some sort of animal fat. It can be supplemented in leaf or powder form. But if bacopa monniera is taken specifically for improving memory and thinking, it is recommended to be taken for 12 weeks.
Products Containing Bacopa Monniera
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Potential Side Effects of Bacopa Monniera
It is possibly safe for adults when bacopa extract s taken by mouth appropriately. Taking bacopa monniera on an empty stomach could result to various side effects which are nausea, cramping, bloating and diarrhea.
One must also be extra careful in taking bacopa monniera. Bacopa monniera might slow down the heart beat that could be a problem for those people who already have slow heart rate. This could also cause “congestion” in the intestine and is best avoided by people with a blockage in their intestine. Bacopa monniera might also increase fluid secretions in the lung which could badly affect those people with lung conditions such as asthma or emphysema. Bacopa monniera should also be used cautiously or if possible, avoided by people with thyroid condition.
There are not enough reliable sources whether bacopa monniera is safe for pregnant and lactating mothers or not so it is suggested to stay on the safe side and just avoid it.
Is this medicine or product addictive or habit forming?
Most medicines don't come with a potential for addiction or abuse. Usually, government's categorizes medicines that can be addictive as controlled substances. Examples include schedule H or X in India and schedule II-V in the US. Please consult the product package to make sure that the medicine does not belong to such special categorizations of medicines. Lastly, do not self-medicate and increase your body's dependence to medicines without the advice of a doctor.
At what frequency do I need to use Bacopa Monnieri?
TabletWise.com website users have reported once a day and twice a day as the most common frequency of using Bacopa Monnieri. Please follow your doctor's advice on how often you need to Bacopa Monnieri.
Can it be stopped immediately or do I have to slowly ween off consumption?
Some medicines need to be tapered or cannot be stopped immediately because of rebound effects. Please consult with your doctor for recommendations specific to your body, health and other medications that you may be using.
There was a study on mice using bacopa monniera/bacopa monnieri extract, suggesting that it had a stimulant effect as well as anti-stress and adaptogenic. In terms of learning performance, another study using rats suggested, that the rats improved when treated with bacopa monnieri (with alcoholic extracts).
Another study was conducted on medical students for six weeks to evaluate the efficacy of Bacopa monniera on their memory. The study was a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled noncrossover, parallel trial. The 60 medicals students were from Government Medical College, Nagpur, India. Baseline biochemical and memory tests were done. The participants were randomly divided in two groups to receive either 150 mg of standardized extract of Bacopa monniera (Bacognize) or matching placebo twice daily for six weeks. All baseline investigations were repeated at the end of the trial. Students were followed up for 15 days after the intervention. For the results, the tests relating to the cognitive functions with use of Bacopa monniera showed a statistically significant improvement. Blood biochemistry also showed a significant increase in serum calcium levels (still within normal range).
Final Review of Bacopa Monniera
The ingredient Bacopa monniera despite its strong ability to enhance mental performance is also an adaptogen. I recommend this to all athletes undergoing intense training and workouts. Using bacopa monniera, muscle recovery after an intense workout will be faster. I would also recommend anyone be extra careful and cautious when taking bacopa monniera and that they should know the conditions of their body first before actually taking it.