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Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri, also known as Brahmi or water hyssop, is a creeping herb commonly found in Australia, India, Europe, Africa, and Asia. This medicinal herb is a nootropic or cognitive enhancer. Bacopa monnieri is also classified as an adaptogen, a substance that helps stabilize physiological processes and promotes homeostasis (balance). In addition, this ancient medicinal herb also has antioxidant properties that help fight harmful free radicals in the body. For those who want to enjoy the health benefits of Bacopa monnieri, it’s available as supplement in the form of tablets or capsules in many health food stores.

Overall Health Benefits of Bacopa monnieri

  • Improves Cognitive Function [1-18]
  • Fights Stress and Anxiety [19-24]
  • Wards Off Depression [25-33]
  • Lowers Blood Pressure [34-36]
  • Fights Various Types of Cancers [37-52]

How Bacopa monnieri Works

Bacopa monnieri interacts with brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) such as dopamine and serotonin, resulting in improved neuron communication. Dopamine plays an integral role in motivation, satisfaction, and pain perception. Serotonin, on the other hand, regulates mood, social behavior, appetite, digestion, sleep pattern, libido, and memory. Scientists believe that Bacopa monnieri’s ability to influence these neurotransmitters results in various health benefits.

Proven Health Benefits of Bacopa monnieri

Improves Cognitive Function

The ability of Bacopa monnieri to positively affect cognitive function can be attributed to its high Bacoside content. Bacoside is a chemical compound that boosts brain power and prevents cognitive deficits. There’s a great deal of evidence supporting the beneficial effects of Bacopa monnieri on brain health:

  1. An Australian survey found that Bacopa monnieri is one of the most prescribed supplements for memory problems among 60-64-year-old consumers. [1]
  2. In human subjects with dementia or significant cognitive impairment, supplementation with Bacopa extract at 300-450 mg per day improved memory free recall. [2]
  3. In adults aged between 40 and 65 years, Bacopa monnieri supplementation for 3 months decreased the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information. [3]
  4. In healthy elderly people, Bacopa monnieri supplementation significantly improved memory acquisition and retention. [4-5]
  5. In patients with anxiety, supplementation with Bacopa monnieri extract at 300 mg/day improved memory and learning. [6]
  6. In participants (65 or older) without clinical signs of dementia, treatment with Bacopa monnieri improved scores in a series of tests assessing attention, immediate working memory, and verbal learning. [7]
  7. In healthy participants, treatment with a special extract of Bacopa monnieri (2 x 150 mg KeenMind) for 90 days improved spatial working memory accuracy. [8]
  8. In healthy older Australians, Bacopa monnieri treatment significantly improved verbal learning, memory acquisition, and delayed recall. [9]
  9. In subjects with age-associated memory impairment, administration of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract at 125 mg twice daily produced significant improvement on mental control and logical memory. [10]
  10. In healthy human subjects, Bacopa monnieri treatment (300 mg) significantly improved speed of visual information processing. [11]
  11. A review of Bacopa monnieri benefits by Rejuvenation Research found that this medicinal herb may promote healing in people with cognitive disorders. [12]
  12. In postnatal rats, Bacopa monnieri treatment significantly enhanced learning and retention of memory. [13-14]
  13. In Male Wistar rats, oral supplementation with alcoholic extract of Bacopa monnieri for 2 weeks improved spatial memory in the Morris water maze test. [15]
  14. In mice with scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment, supplementation with Bacopa monnieri extract reversed short-term and long-term amnesia. [16]
  15. In mice with diazepam-induced amnesia, supplementation with Bacopa monnieri suppressed cognitive impairment. [17]
  16. In an Alzheimer’s disease animal model, Bacopa monnieri treatment reduced the levels of brain beta-amyloid, which are the causative agent of the disease. [18]

Fights Stress and Anxiety

Bacopa monnieri has actually been shown to reduce the detrimental effects of stress and anxiety on the body by improving coping mechanism and reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Numerous studies support the anti-stress and anti-anxiety effects of this adaptogen:

  1. In normal healthy participants, consumption of Bacopa monnieri at doses of 320-640 mg improved response to stress by reducing cortisol levels. [19]
  2. In healthy urban adults, Bacopa monnieri treatment was associated with lower state anxiety. [20]
  3. In healthy elderly participants, Bacopa monnieri treatment improved scores in a test assessing anxiety. [21-22]
  4. In rats, Bacopa monnieri treatment reduced symptoms of chronic stress. [23]
  5. In rodents, Bacopa monnieri treatment produced anti-anxiety effects comparable to those of lorazepam (benzodiazepine), a drug used to treat anxiety. [24]

Wards Off Depression

It’s probably not too surprising that Bacopa monnieri can also help ward off depression because it has beneficial effects on stress and anxiety. In fact, most studies assessing its anti-depressant effect showed positive outcome:

  1. In healthy elderly participants, consumption of Bacopa monnieri at doses of 300 mg per day improved depression scores. [25]
  2. Bacopa monnieri may help prevent depression by suppressing neuroinflammation, which is associated with depressive symptoms and psychiatric diseases. [26]
  3. In rat model of depression, Bacopa monnieri treatment exerted antidepressant effect comparable to that of imipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant. [27]
  4. In mice, Bacopa monnieri supplementation at varying doses (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg) reduced the duration of immobility times in the forced swimming test, which is indicative of an antidepressant effect. [28-30]
  5. In a rat model of neuropathic pain, Bacopa monnieri reduced depressive-like behaviors by significantly reducing pain levels. [31]
  6. In rats which were subjected to undergo chronic unpredictable stress, Bacopa monnieri greatly suppressed depressive-like behaviors. [32]
  7. Administration of Bacopa monnieri also reduced morphine-induced depression in rats. [33]

Lowers Blood Pressure

Several studies show that Bacopa monnieri also has hypotensive properties that can help lower one’s risk for various diseases:

  1. In postmenopausal women, Bacopa monnieri supplementation reduced blood pressure. [34]
  2. In anaesthetized rats, Bacopa monnieri supplementation (20-60 mg/kg) reduced blood pressure partly via releasing nitric oxide from the endothelium. [35]
  3. Bacopa monnieri supplementation in rats reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels. [36]

Fights Various Types of Cancers

Bacopa monnieri can help treat and prevent deadly diseases such as cancer. Evidence suggests that this powerful medicinal herb is effective against various cancer types:

  1. A cell study found that Bacopa monnieri slowed Dalton’s lymphoma ascites tumor cells, a highly invasive T-cell lymphoma. [37-38]
  2. In mice cancer cell lines, treatment with an alcoholic extract of Bacopa monnieri induced programmed cell death (apoptosis). [39]
  3. In human breast cancer cell lines, treatment with an alcoholic extract of Bacopa monnieri displayed anti-tumor activities. [40-42]
  4. In human colon cancer cell lines, Bacopa monnieri induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. [43]
  5. In human brain cancer cell lines, Bacopa monnieri induced tumor cell death. [44]
  6. In rats, Bacopa monnieri exerted anti-cancer properties comparable to that of chemotherapeutic drugs. [45]
  7. In rats with liver cancer cells, Bacopa monnieri induced death of cancer cells by enhancing antioxidant status through free radical scavenging mechanism. [46]
  8. In mice with breast cancer cells, water extract of Bacopa monnieri induced apoptosis. [47-48]
  9. In a mouse model of skin cancer, Bacopa monnieri extract treatment induced cell cycle arrest. [49-50]
  10. In mice with Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma (liver cancer), Bacopa monnieri reduced the number of malignant cancer cells. [51-52]

References:

  1. Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. 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. 2008;14(6):707–713. doi:10.1089/acm.2008.0018.
  2. Pase MP, Kean J, Sarris J, Neale C, Scholey AB, Stough C. The cognitive-enhancing effects of Bacopa monnieri: a systematic review of randomized, controlled human clinical trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2012;18(7):647-52.
  3. Roodenrys S, Booth D, Bulzomi S, Phipps A, Micallef C, Smoker J. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002;27(2):279-81.
  4. Morgan A, Stevens J. Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(7):753-9.
  5. Stough CK, Pase MP, Cropley V, et al. A randomized controlled trial investigating the effect of Pycnogenol and Bacopa CDRI08 herbal medicines on cognitive, cardiovascular, and biochemical functioning in cognitively healthy elderly people: the Australian Research Council Longevity Intervention (ARCLI) study protocol (ANZCTR12611000487910). Nutr J. 2012;11:11.
  6. Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. 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. 2008;14(6):707–713. doi:10.1089/acm.2008.0018.
  7. Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. 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. 2008;14(6):707-13.
  8. Stough C, Downey LA, Lloyd J, et al. Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Phytother Res. 2008;22(12):1629-34.
  9. Morgan A, Stevens J. Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(7):753-9.
  10. Raghav S, Singh H, Dalal PK, Srivastava JS, Asthana OP. Randomized controlled trial of standardized Bacopa monniera extract in age-associated memory impairment. Indian J Psychiatry. 2006;48(4):238-42.
  11. Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001;156(4):481-4.
  12. Aguiar S, Borowski T. Neuropharmacological review of the nootropic herb Bacopa monnieri. Rejuvenation Res. 2013;16(4):313–326. doi:10.1089/rej.2013.1431
  13. Charles PD, Ambigapathy G, Geraldine P, Akbarsha MA, Rajan KE. Bacopa monniera leaf extract up-regulates tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH2) and serotonin transporter (SERT) expression: implications in memory formation. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;134(1):55-61.
  14. Available from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1558787809003402.
  15. Uabundit N, Wattanathorn J, Mucimapura S, Ingkaninan K. Cognitive enhancement and neuroprotective effects of Bacopa monnieri in Alzheimer’s disease model. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010;127(1):26-31.
  16. Saraf MK, Prabhakar S, Khanduja KL, Anand A. Bacopa monniera Attenuates Scopolamine-Induced Impairment of Spatial Memory in Mice. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:236186.
  17. Saraf MK, Prabhakar S, Pandhi P, Anand A. Bacopa monniera ameliorates amnesic effects of diazepam qualifying behavioral-molecular partitioning. Neuroscience. 2008;155(2):476-84.
  18. Dhanasekaran M, Tharakan B, Holcomb LA, Hitt AR, Young KA, Manyam BV. Neuroprotective mechanisms of ayurvedic antidementia botanical Bacopa monniera. Phytother Res. 2007;21(10):965-9.
  19. Benson S, Downey LA, Stough C, Wetherell M, Zangara A, Scholey A. An acute, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study of 320 mg and 640 mg doses of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on multitasking stress reactivity and mood. Phytother Res. 2014;28(4):551-9.
  20. Sathyanarayanan V, Thomas T, Einöther SJ, Dobriyal R, Joshi MK, Krishnamachari S. Brahmi for the better? New findings challenging cognition and anti-anxiety effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monniera) in healthy adults. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013;227(2):299-306.
  21. Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. 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. 2008;14(6):707-13.
  22. Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001;156(4):481-4.
  23. Rai D, Bhatia G, Palit G, Pal R, Singh S, Singh HK. Adaptogenic effect of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi). Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003;75(4):823-30.
  24. Bhattacharya SK, Ghosal S. Anxiolytic activity of a standardized extract of Bacopa monniera: an experimental study. Phytomedicine. 1998;5(2):77-82.
  25. Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. 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. 2008;14(6):707-13.
  26. Nemetchek MD, Stierle AA, Stierle DB, Lurie DI. The Ayurvedic plant Bacopa monnieri inhibits inflammatory pathways in the brain. J Ethnopharmacol. 2016;197:92–100. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2016.07.073.
  27. Sairam K, Dorababu M, Goel RK, Bhattacharya SK. Antidepressant activity of standardized extract of Bacopa monniera in experimental models of depression in rats. Phytomedicine. 2002;9(3):207-11.
  28. Mannan A, Abir AB, Rahman R. Antidepressant-like effects of methanolic extract of Bacopa monniera in mice. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015;15:337. Published 2015 Sep 25. doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0866-2.
  29. Kumar S, Mondal AC. Neuroprotective, Neurotrophic and Anti-oxidative Role of Bacopa monnieri on CUS Induced Model of Depression in Rat. Neurochem Res. 2016;41(11):3083-3094.
  30. Shen, Y.-H., Zhou, Y., Zhang, C., Liu, R.-H., Su, J., Liu, X.-H., et al. (2009). Antidepressant effects of methanol extract and fractions of bacopa monnieri. Pharm. Biol. 47, 340–343. doi: 10.1080/13880200902752694.
  31. Shahid M, Subhan F, Ahmad N, Ullah I. A bacosides containing Bacopa monnieri extract alleviates allodynia and hyperalgesia in the chronic constriction injury model of neuropathic pain in rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017;17(1):293. Published 2017 Jun 5. doi:10.1186/s12906-017-1807-z.
  32. Banerjee, R., Hazra, S., Ghosh, A. K., and Mondal, A. C. (2014). Chronic administration of bacopa monniera increases bdnf protein and mrna expressions: a study in chronic unpredictable stress induced animal model of depression. Psychiatry Invest. 11, 297–306. doi: 10.4306/pi.2014.11.3.297.
  33. Rauf, K., Subhan, F., Abbas, M., ul Haq, I., Ali, G., and Ayaz, M. (2012b). Effect of acute and sub chronic use of Bacopa monnieri on dopamine and serotonin turnover in mice whole brain. Afr. J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 6, 2767–2774. doi: 10.5897/AJPP12.244.
  34. Available from https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Effect-of-bacosides-enriched-standardized-extract-a-Kala-Kumar/ea5fc77385266880706c4e48bfe0ec3b859e4a21.
  35. Kamkaew N, Scholfield CN, Ingkaninan K, et al. Bacopa monnieri and its constituents is hypotensive in anaesthetized rats and vasodilator in various artery types. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;137(1):790-5.
  36. Sireeratawong S, Jaijoy K, Khonsung P, Lertprasertsuk N, Ingkaninan K. Acute and chronic toxicities of Bacopa monnieri extract in Sprague-Dawley rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016;16:249. Published 2016 Jul 27. doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1236-4.
  37. Kumar EP, Elshurafa AA, Elango K, Subburaju T, Suresh B. Cytotoxic and anti -tumour properties of ethanolic extract of bacopa monnieri (L) penn. Anc Sci Life. 1998;17(3):228-34.
  38. Available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3331112/pdf/ASL-17-228.pdf.
  39. Rohini G, Devi CS. Bacopa monniera extract induces apoptosis in murine sarcoma cells (S-180). Phytother Res. 2008;22(12):1595-8.
  40. Peng L, Zhou Y, Kong de Y, Zhang WD. Antitumor activities of dammarane triterpene saponins from Bacopa monniera. Phytother Res. 2010;24(6):864-8.
  41. Available from http://ijpsr.com/bft-article/in-vitro-anticancer-activity-and-phytochemical-analysis-of-bacopa-monnieri-l-wettst/?view=fulltext.
  42. Mallick MN, Akhtar MS, Najm MZ, Tamboli ET, Ahmad S, Husain SA. Evaluation of anticancer potential of Bacopa monnieri L. against MCF-7 and MDA-MB 231 cell line. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2015;7(4):325-8.
  43. Smith E, Palethorpe HM, Tomita Y, et al. The Purified Extract from the Medicinal Plant, Bacopaside II, Inhibits Growth of Colon Cancer Cells In Vitro by Inducing Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis. Cells. 2018;7(7).
  44. John S, Sivakumar KC, Mishra R. Bacoside A Induces Tumor Cell Death in Human Glioblastoma Cell Lines through Catastrophic Macropinocytosis. Front Mol Neurosci. 2017;10:171.
  45. Available from http://www.indianjournals.com/ijor.aspx?target=ijor:rjpt&volume=6&issue=4&article=011.
  46. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19916024Janani P, Sivakumari K, Geetha A, Ravisankar B, Parthasarathy C. Chemopreventive effect of bacoside A on N-nitrosodiethylamine-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in rats. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2010;136(5):759-70.
  47. Kalyani MI, Lingaraju SM, Salimath BP. A pro-apoptotic 15-kDa protein from Bacopa monnieri activates caspase-3 and downregulates Bcl-2 gene expression in mouse mammary carcinoma cells. J Nat Med. 2013;67(1):123-36.
  48. Available from http://ijpsr.com/bft-article/in-vitro-anticancer-activity-and-phytochemical-analysis-of-bacopa-monnieri-l-wettst/?view=fulltext.
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  50. Bharali R, Azad MR, Tabassum J. Chemopreventive action of Boerhaavia diffusa on DMBA-induced skin carcinogenesis in mice. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2003;47(4):459-64.
  51. Available from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13596-011-0001-y.
  52. Kalyani MI, Lingaraju SM, Salimath BP. A pro-apoptotic 15-kDa protein from Bacopa monnieri activates caspase-3 and downregulates Bcl-2 gene expression in mouse mammary carcinoma cells. J Nat Med. 2013;67(1):123-36.

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