Also called Brahmi, Coastal Waterhyssop, Thyme-leafed gratiola and Water hyssop) is a perennial, creeping herb whose habitat includes muddy sores and wetlands. It is commonly grown throughout India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Bacopa is the “Queen” of Ayurveda, less famous only than Ashwagandha. It has been demonstrated to be effective for anti-Anxiety, anti-Depression and pro-Memory functions. Probably due to its high antioxidant effect it is also highly protective and beneficial to neural functions. It takes up to 4 weeks to attain maximum effect.
Bacopa monnieri has long used by the Rishi holy men of India as a tea to aid their memory. Recently it has been validated by 14 separate modern scientific studies. Two studies showed time to learn reduced by 40% and increased retention of learned data. Another showed stress levels reduced by 20%.
This plant has a number of uses in Ayurveda. It is a traditional treatment for asthma. It has antioxidant properties, reducing oxidation of fats in the bloodstream. Studies in humans show that an extract of the plant has antianxiety effects.
It is listed as a nootropic, a drug that enhances cognitive ability. In India, this plant has also been used traditionally to consecrate newborn babies in the belief that it will open the gateway of intelligence. Laboratory studies on rats indicate that extracts of the plant improve memory capacity and motor learning ability. Recent studies suggest bacopa may improve intellectual activity. The sulfhydryl and polyphenol components of Bacopa monniera extract have also been shown to impact the oxidative stress cascade by scavenging reactive oxygen species, inhibiting lipoxygenase activity and reducing divalent metals. This mechanism of action may explain the effect of Bacopa monniera extract in reducing beta amyloid deposits in mice with Alzheimer's disease. In others including a randomized clinical trial of 98 healthy older people (over 55 years) Bacopa significantly improved memory acquisition and retention.
Its many active compounds include: alkaloids (brahmine and herpestine), saponins (d-mannitol and hersaponin, acid A, and monnierin), flavonoids (luteolin and apigenin). Also in significant amounts: betulic acid, stigmastarol, beta-sitosterol, bacopasaponins (bacosides A, bacosides B, bacopaside II, bacopaside I, bacopaside X, bacopasaponin C, bacopaside N2 and the minor components were bacopasaponin F, bacopasaponin E, bacopaside N1, bacopaside III, bacopaside IV, and bacopaside V). Bacosides A enhances the body’s antioxidant defenses, increasing superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activity.
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