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Bacopa for the Brain: A Smart Addition to Western Medicine

Authors:

Abstract

This review discusses the clinical potentials of Bacopa monnieri (bacopa, water hyssop, or brahmi). Bacopa is an herb that combines adaptogenic and nervine properties. Animal and clinical studies show it to have anxiolytic, antidepressant, cognitive-enhancing, antioxidant, cholinergic, and adaptogenic actions. These properties make it a highly useful herb to help patients cope with physical and emotional stress, and the cognitive impairment that usually accompanies aging.
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ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES DOI: 10.1089/act.2011.17106 • MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC. • VOL. 17 NO. 1
FEBRUARY 2011
Abstract
is review discusses the clinical potentials of Bacopa mon-
nieri (bacopa, water hyssop, or brahmi). Bacopa is an herb that
combines adaptogenic and nervine properties. Animal and
clinical studies show it to have anxiolytic, antidepressant, cog-
nitive-enhancing, antioxidant, cholinergic, and adaptogenic
actions. ese properties make it a highly useful herb to help
patients cope with physical and emotional stress, and the cog-
nitive impairment that usually accompanies aging.
Introduction
In clinical practice, many kinds of stress complicate, and may
often substantially limit, ability to resolve patients’ ailments and
symptoms fully. Patients, in addition to their main complaints,
also typically present with physical stress resulting from poor
nutrition, lack of exercise, and exposure to complex environ-
mental chemicals. Usually, an individual blend of emotional
and mental stress—caused by financial worries; lack of sleep;
relationship issues; and other stressors manifesting as fatigue,
depression, and anxiety—is added to the physical stressors. It
has been noted that as many as 75%–90% of visits to primary
care physicians are related to stress.1
e rapidly aging population has additional problems. Cog-
nitive impairment is reported in almost half of the population
over age 64.2 e elderly worry greatly about the looming loss
of their mental faculties, and both the actual and the feared loss
of memory is a significant stressor in this group. As a result,
treatments that may enhance mental function are particularly
needed in the elderly, as such treatments may mitigate the so-
cial and personal losses associated with cognitive decline and
thereby reduce some of the stress that accompanies aging.
We frequently urge clinicians to incorporate both adap-
togenic and nervine herbs to help treat the stress that virtu-
ally all patients experience.3–4 Adaptogenic herbs are used to
strengthen the body’s immune response and increase an indi-
vidual’s ability to cope with physical and mental stress. ese
herbs are also used to increase overall vitality. Adaptogens are
generally not used to treat specific ailments but are rather used
on a fairly long-term basis to help a patient achieve a more
healthful state overall. Adaptogens also benefit patients who
constantly develop minor ailments, such as colds.
ese herbs also are a great help for patients who are strug-
gling with chronic ailments, for example, autoimmune disease.
Because adaptogens help an individual cope with physical and
mental stress, these herbs are highly useful for people who feel
tired, run-down, “stressed-out,” “burned-out,” and ill.
is replenishment is not an energy boost similar to that of
caffeine or amphetamine in which the temporary boost ulti-
mately depletes patients’ strength further. Instead, these herbs
assist patients to heal during convalescence, serve as prophy-
lactics to build resistance, reduce susceptibility to illness, and
promote health. Adaptogens frequently used in Western bo-
tanical medicine include Withania somnifera (ashwagandha),
Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng), and Eleutherococcus
senticosus (eleuthero).3
Nervine herbs have been widely used historically to treat
mild-to-moderate cases of anxiety and depression, as well being
used to promote sleep. While often lacking well-designed clini-
cal studies to support their use, these herbs offer a safe, nonad-
dictive way to help people maintain emotional balance in acute
care settings. Nervines frequently used in Western botanical
medicine include Avena spp. (oat seed), Crataegus spp. (haw-
thorn), Eschscholzia californica (California poppy), Lavandula
spp. (lavender), Matricaria recutita (chamomile), Melissa officina-
lis (lemonbalm), Passiflora spp. (passionflower), Scutellaria lateri-
flora (scullcap), and Verbena spp. (verbena, also called vervain).4
is article reviews an herb with both adaptogenic and nerv-
ine properties—Bacopa monnieri (bacopa or water hyssop).*
is herb has a long history of use in traditional Ayurvedic
Bacopa for the Brain
Kathy Abascal, BS, JD, RH (AHG),
and Eric Yarnell, ND
A Smart Addition to Western Medicine
*e proper Latin binomial for bacopa is either Bacopa monnieri
or Herpestis monniera (see, e.g., MgGuffin M, Kartesz JT, Leung
AY, Tucker AO. The American Herbal Products Association’s Herbs of
Commerce, 2nd ed. Silver Spring, MD: American Herbal Products
Association, 2000). However, research articles on bacopa very fre-
quently instead mistakenly use a blend of these two Latin names:
Bacopa monniera.
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ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES • FEBRUARY 2011
MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC. • VOL. 17 NO. 1
medicine and has properties that recommend it strongly for
more-frequent use by Western practitioners.
Bacopa is also called brahmi, a Sanskrit name it shares with
another herbal restorative, Centella asiatica (gotu kola) because
both herbs are used to improve mental health, intellectual
functioning, and memory as well as promoting longevity and
system restoration.5 Because both herbs are used to improve
brain health, both are called brahmi.6 In Ayurveda, bacopa has
been used for almost 3000 years to treat anxiety, epilepsy, in-
somnia, poor memory, and asthma, as well as being applied as
a cardiac energizer and diuretic.6,7 Given interesting clinical
research that tends to support bacopa’s historical uses, it would
seem that this plant should be given a more prominent place in
our Western apothecary of adaptogenic and nervine plants.
Constituents and Pharmacologic Properties
Bacopa contains the alkaloid brahmine and the glycoside
asiaticoside, two constituents also found in gotu kola, an herb
that has also demonstrated an anxiolytic effect.1,8, Bacopa be-
longs to the Scrophulariaceae family and contains the flavonoid
wogonin—as does scullcap, a Western nervine used historically
to treat anxiety and epilepsy.4 Animal studies strongly suggest
that bacopa also may have beneficial effects in patients with
epilepsy.5 Bacopa’s anxiolytic activity, is generally attributed to
this herb’s saponins, particularly its steroidal saponins and ba-
cosides.6 e bacosides are often used to standardize extracts
of bacopa.
Attempts to explain bacopa’s mechanism have not succeeded
fully. Hypothesized mechanisms include cholinergic upregu-
lation, g-aminobutyric acid modulation, antioxidant effects,
protein synthesis in the brain, 5-HT agonism, and modula-
tion of brain stress hormones. Extracts ameliorated b-amyloid
levels in the brains of transgenic mice, suggesting a potential
relevance to Alzheimer’s disease.9 e herb’s cholinergic ef-
fects are multifaceted and include dose-dependent inhibition
of acetylcholinesterase activity in vitro and in animals.10 e
herb normalized blood levels of corticosterone and monoam-
ine levels in brains of animals subjected to acute and chronic
stress models.11 Bacopa’s constituents facilitated mental reten-
tion and reversed amnesic effects in various study models.
Bacopa’s powers as an antioxidant are well-established, and,
because its constituents are lipophilic, these constituents have
the ability to cross the blood–brain barrier. Bacopa increased
the activity of antioxidant enzymes in various portions of rat
brains. is herb also increased the animal’s levels of serotonin,
a brain chemical that promotes relaxation.7 ere are also pre-
liminary studies showing the plant to be effective for treating
stress (e.g., by showing an adaptogenic effect).6
Animal studies support the use of bacopa to reduce anxiety
and depression as well as to enhance learning. In an animal
model of anxiety, bacopa and its saponin bacoside A had an
anxiolytic effect equivalent to lorazepam.12 While lorazepam
caused amnesia, bacopa actually enhanced memory. Other
studies showed antidepressant activity in various models. In
one study, 20–40 mg/kg of bacopa produced an antidepressant
effect equivalent to that of imipramine in rodents.13 In rats and
dogs, an aqueous extract of bacopa had a tranquilizing effect,
while an alcoholic extract improved motor learning in rats.
Bacopa had an antispasmodic effect on intestinal smooth
muscle, to prevent—or enhance healing of—gastric ulcers.
is effect included an antimicrobial action against Helico-
bacter pylori.6
Clinical Studies
ere are various clinical studies on the effect of bacopa on
mood and learning. Most of these studies used 300 mg of ba-
copa extract per day, usually for a 12-week period.
Bacopa enhanced memory in a trial of 46 healthy volunteers
(ages 18–60) who took 300 mg of bacopa extract per day for
12 weeks. e positive changes in learning rate, speed of in-
formation-processing, and anxiety reduction were statistically
significant at 12 weeks but not at 5 weeks.14
Ninety-eight adults (>55 years old) without signs of dementia
were give 300 mg BacoMind extract (derived from 6 g of crude
herb) daily for 12 weeks.15 Eighty-one individuals completed
the study, which showed that bacopa improved memory acquisi-
tion and retention. However, the bacopa group in this study had
significantly more side-effects (stool frequency, nausea, and ab-
dominal cramping) than the placebo group had. e researchers
theorize that these side-effects may be caused by the cholinergic
effect of bacopa.15 In contrast, intestinal side-effects were much
Forms and Dosing of Bacopa
Forms Dosage
Daily doses in traditional practice 5–10 g of nonstandardized, powdered herb, 30 mL of syrup, or 8–16 mL of infusion
Capsules, often standardized to 20%–50% bacosides 200–400 mg/day in divided doses for adults; 100–200 mg/day in divided doses
for children
Tinctures 1:2 fresh plant or 1:4 recently dried herb, 2–30 mL/day in divided doses
Bacopa enhanced memory in a trial
of 46 healthy volunteers.
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less-frequent and much milder in a phase I trial of BacoMind
in which participants took escalating amounts of BacoMind
(300–450 mg daily) over a 30-day period.16 No detrimental ef-
fects were reported in another clinical study in which partici-
pants also took a daily 300 mg dose of BacoMind.17
In a randomized, placebo-controlled study, healthy volun-
teers took 300 mg of KeenMind (Keen Health Pty. Ltd.), a
bacopa extract standardized to contain at least 55% bacosides
A and B, with each capsule equivalent to 3 g of dried herb over
a 12-week treatment period. Working memory performance
in various computerized tasks improved in the bacopa group
of this study. e bacopa group also reported a much greater
incidence of increased energy, mild diarrhea (in a few cases),
and a reduced number of dreams; while the placebo group had
more oral problems and bruising but, overall, the differences in
adverse effects were deemed to be minor and insignificant.18
In a 3-month study of 76 healthy adults (ages 40–65), ba-
copa (at 300 mg/day) improved retention of new information
in latter recall of word pairs.9,19 Follow-up tests suggested that
this improvement was caused by a decrease in rate of forgetting
rather than by an enhancement of rate of learning—a result
that has yet to be replicated in other studies.
Forty-eight healthy individuals (> 65 years old) without
signs of dementia or memory issues completed a random-
ized, placebo-controlled, and double-blinded study on ba-
copa. e active group was given 300 mg of bacopa (a 50:1
extract standardized to 50% bacosides and manufactured to
be the equivalent of 15 g of herb and 150 mg of bacosides A
and B). In the bacopa group, positive effects were noted on
various measures of cognitive performance, and reduced de-
pression and anxiety were noted on several measures. Anxiety
and depression actually increased in the placebo group. e
researchers commented that bacopa’s positive effect on cog-
nition might result either from the herb’s direct effects on
brain chemistry and memory processes or, equally, a greater
tolerance for the frustration of repeated testing or a reduction
in test-taking anxiety. e researchers also suggested that the
increase in anxiety and depression in the placebo group was
likely the results the rigors of repeated testing.9
A few studies used slightly higher or lower doses of bacopa.
Twenty-eight children with IQs between 70 and 90 (considered
to be “slow learners”) took a 225-mg BacoMind tablet each day for
4 months. e herb improved many aspects of memory in these
children, including working memory and logical memory.20
Another randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled
study investigated 65 adults (ages 50–75) who, for at least 1
year prior to the study, had complained of memory impairment
but had not showed any major cognitive deficits. Participants
in the active group were given a 450-mg BacoMind capsule for
12 weeks and then were studied during a 12-week withdrawal
period. Bacopa improved results on tests measuring attention
and verbal memory as well as improving auditory reception of
information and immediate attention skills. is dose of ba-
copa was well-tolerated, without significant adverse effects.17
A 3-month study of adults (> 55 years old) with evidence of
age-associated memory impairment, who were given 250 mg/day
of bacopa, found improved logical memory and paired associate
learning at 12 weeks. is improvement persisted at a follow-up 4
weeks after the study was concluded.21
Forty healthy males were randomized to take 500 mg of
bacopa or 200 mg of caffeine daily for 16 weeks. In vari-
ous cognitive tests, bacopa improved reaction times as well or
better than caffeine but without the side-effects that caffeine
can cause.7 e improvement in stimulus–response time mir-
rored an earlier study by Stough et al., in which the speed of
visual information processing and reaction time increased.14
ere are also reports of a number of clinical studies for
which we were unable to obtain and review the original study
data. In an uncontrolled study of 36 children with hyperac-
tivity disorder, 100 mg/day of bacopa for 12 weeks reportedly
improved scores on several cognitive assessments.22 Similar
results were reportedly obtained in an uncontrolled study of
a group of patients with anxiety neurosis.23 In another study,
bacopa enhanced memory, arithmetic skills, and some aspects
of verbal communication in students of average intelligence.24
Bacopa was said to be useful for “renovating and revitalizing
intellectual behavior in children.” ere are also reports that
bacopa, in syrup form at a dose of 350 mg 3 times/day for 3
months, improved learning, memory, perception, and reaction
time in 20 schoolchildren.5 Bacopa reportedly was made avail-
able for clinical use by the Central Drug Research Institute
in Lucknow, India, based on positive clinical study results.25
Bacopa monnieri (bacopa) ower. Drawing © 2011, by Kathy Abascal, BS, JD,
RH (AHG).
Barbhaiya HC, Desai RP, Saxena VS, et al. Efficacy and tolerability
of BacoMind on memory improvement in elderly participants—
a double blind placebo controlled study. J Pharmacol Toxicol
2008;3:425–434, quoting Sharma R, Chaturvedi C, Tewari PV. Ef-
ficacy of Bacopa monnieri in revitalizing intellectual functions in chil-
dren. J Res Educ Indian Med 1987;6:1–10.
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Positive results were obtained in an additional clinical study
of BacoMind.26
ere are two negative studies on bacopa. In both, bacopa
was administered for only a brief period of time, suggesting
that the herb’s effects build over time and that instant results
should not be expected. One of these studies looked at the ef-
fect of a single dose, tested 2 hours after administration.27 e
other trial studied the effect of bacopa combined with Ginkgo
biloba (ginkgo) after 4 weeks of treatment.28
Safety and Potential Drug Interactions
Overall, bacopa appears to be both safe and well-tolerated.6
It has a very long history of use and its LD50 in rats is very high.
One study using the concentrated bacopa extract BacoMind
reported a fairly significant number of adverse gastrointestinal
effects.15 e researchers theorized that the side-effects may
have been caused by the cholinergic effect of bacopa and urged
caution when using the herb with cholinergic drugs often used
in dementia. In contrast, intestinal side-effects were much less
frequent and much milder in a phase I trial of BacoMind in
which participants took an escalating amount of BacoMind
(300–450 mg daily) over a 30-day period,16 and no detrimen-
tal effects were reported in another clinical study in which par-
ticipants also took a daily 300 mg dose of BacoMind.17
Animal models suggest that bacopa may decrease the tox-
icity of the drugs morphine and phenytoin. It appears to po-
tentiate the sedative effects of phenobarbital and chlorprom-
azine, suggesting that caution and forethought is warranted
when combining bacopa with these types of drugs to avoid
overmedication.6
Conclusion
Bacopa is generating a fair amount of excitement because
few herbs, and yet fewer drugs, show an ability to improve cog-
nition and memory. is herb and its constituents are being
investigated as potentially helpful for addressing the dementia
that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease, sometimes in epilepsy, and
in various other disorders.
It is unrealistic to expect this herb to be curative for a dis-
ease such as Alzheimer’s. However, bacopa has a real role to
play as part of any treatment for patients in which anxiety, de-
pression, or mental function are issues. Ayurvedic colleagues
typically use bacopa as a mental/nervous restorative to calm
and balance the mind. Ayurvedic clinical applications range
from treating insomnia and attention-deficit hyperactivity
disorder to depression and dementia. Bacopa is also used to
ameliorate the mental/emotional aspects of hypothyroid-
ism. We should use it similarly in our practices. In summary,
bacopa combines attributes of an adaptogen, a multifaceted
nervine, and a cognitive enhancer that is greatly needed in
our botanical apothecary. n
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Bacopa is generating a fair amount
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yet fewer drugs, show an ability to
improve cognition and memory.
Personal communication with Todd Caldecott, AHG; see also www.
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Kathy Abascal, BS, JD, RH (AHG), is executive director of the Botanical
Medicine Academy in Vashon, Washington. Eric Yarnell, ND, is chief medi-
cal officer of Northwest Naturopathic Urology, in Seattle, Washington, and is
a faculty member at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington.
To order reprints of this article, e-mail Karen Ballen at: Kballen@liebertpub.com
or call (914) 740-2100.
17.1ACT_pages.indd 25 2/16/11 2:29:16 PM
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... (Synonyms: Bacopa monniera (L.) Pennell yes, Herpestis monniera L. Kunth; common names: Brahmi, bacopa, water hyssop) is a small herb with oblong leaves and light purple flowers and belongs to the family Scrophulariaceae (Rajani, 2008; Russo and Borrelli, 2005). This plant has been used for more than 3000 years as Indian Ayurvedic medicines for improving memory, increasing brain function, or promoting longevity (Abascal and Yarnell, 2011; Calabrese et al., 2008; Morgan and Stevens, 2010). This medicinal plant has protective effects against β-amyloid toxicity (Limpeanchob et al., 2008) and have beneficial effects on cognitive performance (Abascal and Yarnell, 2011; Calabrese et al., 2008; Morgan and Stevens, 2010; Uabundit et al., 2010). ...
... This plant has been used for more than 3000 years as Indian Ayurvedic medicines for improving memory, increasing brain function, or promoting longevity (Abascal and Yarnell, 2011; Calabrese et al., 2008; Morgan and Stevens, 2010). This medicinal plant has protective effects against β-amyloid toxicity (Limpeanchob et al., 2008) and have beneficial effects on cognitive performance (Abascal and Yarnell, 2011; Calabrese et al., 2008; Morgan and Stevens, 2010; Uabundit et al., 2010). ...
Article
Bacopa monnieri has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine for neurological and behavioral defects. To assess its efficacy in improving cognitive function. MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED, Cochrane Central of clinical trial, WHO registry, Thai Medical Index, Index Medicus Siriraj library and www.clinicaltrial.gov were searched from the inception date of each database to June 2013 using scientific and common synonyms of B. monnieri, cognitive performance or memory. The reference lists of retrieved articles were also reviewed. Randomized, placebo controlled human intervention trials on chronic ≥12 weeks dosing of standardized extracts of B. monnieri without any co-medication were included in this study. The methodological quality of studies was assessed using Cochrane's risk of bias assessment and Jadad's quality scales. The weighted mean difference and 95% confidence interval (95%CI) was performed using the random-effects model of Dersimonian-Laird method. Nine studies met the inclusion criteria using 518 subjects. Overall quality of all included trials was low risk of bias and quality of reported information was high. Meta analysis of 437 eligible subjects showed improved cognition by shortened trail B test (-17.9ms; 95% CI -24.6 to -11.2; p<0.001) and decreased choice reaction time (10.6ms; 95% CI-12.1 to -9.2; p<0.001). This meta-analysis suggests that B. monnieri has the potential to improve cognition, particularly speed of attention but only a large well designed 'head-to-head' trial against an existing medication will provide definitive data on its efficacy on healthy or dementia patients using a standardized preparation.
... (Synonyms: Bacopa monniera (L.) Pennell yes, Herpestis monniera L. Kunth; common names: Brahmi, bacopa, water hyssop) is a small herb with oblong leaves and light purple flowers and belongs to the family Scrophulariaceae (Rajani, 2008;Russo and Borrelli, 2005). This plant has been used for more than 3000 years as Indian Ayurvedic medicines for improving memory, increasing brain function, or promoting longevity ( Abascal and Yarnell, 2011;Calabrese et al., 2008;Morgan and Stevens, 2010). This medicinal plant has protective effects against β-amyloid toxicity ( Limpeanchob et al., 2008) and have beneficial effects on cognitive performance ( Abascal and Yarnell, 2011;Calabrese et al., 2008;Morgan and Stevens, 2010;Uabundit et al., 2010). ...
... This plant has been used for more than 3000 years as Indian Ayurvedic medicines for improving memory, increasing brain function, or promoting longevity ( Abascal and Yarnell, 2011;Calabrese et al., 2008;Morgan and Stevens, 2010). This medicinal plant has protective effects against β-amyloid toxicity ( Limpeanchob et al., 2008) and have beneficial effects on cognitive performance ( Abascal and Yarnell, 2011;Calabrese et al., 2008;Morgan and Stevens, 2010;Uabundit et al., 2010). ...
Article
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Bacopa monnieri has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine for neurological and behavioral defects. To assess its efficacy in improving cognitive function. MATERIALS AND METHODS: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED, Cochrane Central of clinical trial, WHO registry, Thai Medical Index, Index Medicus Siriraj library and www.clinicaltrial.gov were searched from the inception date of each database to June 2013 using scientific and common synonyms of Bacopa monnieri, cognitive performance or memory. The reference lists of retrieved articles were also reviewed. Randomized, placebo controlled human intervention trials on chronic ≥12 weeks dosing of standardized extracts of Bacopa monnieri without any co-medication were included in this study. The methodological quality of studies was assessed using Cochrane's risk of bias assessment and Jadad's quality scales. The weighted mean difference and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) were performed using the random-effects model of the Dersimonian-Laird method. RESULTS: Nine studies met the inclusion criteria using 518 subjects. Overall quality of all included trials was low risk of bias and quality of reported information was high. Meta-analysis of 437 eligible subjects showed improved cognition by shortened Trail B test (-17.9ms; 95% CI -24.6 to -11.2; p<0.001) and decreased choice reaction time (10.6ms; 95% CI -12.1 to -9.2; p<0.001). CONCLUSION: This meta-analysis suggests that Bacopa monnieri has the potential to improve cognition, particularly speed of attention but only a large well designed 'head-to-head' trial against an existing medication will provide definitive data on its efficacy on healthy or dementia patients using a standardized preparation
... But, the medicinal plants having the rich antioxidants are very helpful to balance the accumulation of free radicals in human body. The plant Bacopa monnieri (L) listed the family Scrophulariaceae, has been used for more 3000 years as Indian Ayurvedic medicines for improving memory, increasing brain function, or promoting longevity [4][5][6]. Bacopa monnieri is a small creeping plant having numerous branches, fleshy, oblong leaves and small plant. Fruits and flowers are appearing in summer period the whole plant is medicinally important [7]. ...
... Antioxidants had the property to prevent oxidative damage by free radicals that are amenable for variety of human diseases like hypertension, arthrosclerosis, gastritis, Diabetes mellitus, arthritis, ischemia, AIDS and Alzheimer's disease [18]. Bacosides are known to feed on various free radicals such as peroxides, superoxides and hydroxyl radicals [19,20]. ...
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p> Objective : The present study was designed to identify the phytocompounds, to compare the antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects of aqueous and methanolic extract of Bacopa monnieri . Methods : Antioxidant activity was determined by 1, 1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP), Super oxide dismutase (SOD), Reduced glutathione (GSH), Catalase assays. Anti-inflammatory activity was measured with inhibition of albumin denaturation and trypsin inhibitory assay. Finally, extracts were tested against various pathogenic bacterial and fungal strains by broth dilution assay and disc diffusion assay respectively. Results: Results showed the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols, quinines and glycosides etc while steroids and carboxylic acid were absent. The extracts demonstrated free radical-scavenging activity quite comparable with standard ascorbic acid. Methanolic extract exerted comparative higher antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity than aqueous extract. Both extracts were most effective against Bacillus subtilis and lowest inhibition against Staphylococcus aureus . Conclusion: The results obtained clearly indicated a promising potential of B. monnieri for serving as a strong ROS scavenger, might be used as anti-arthritic and strong natural antibiotic agent for effective treatment of various oxidative stressed disorders (cancer, cardiovascular diseases), inflammatory disorders (rheumatoid arthritis) and various bacterial infections.</p
... Other constituents include bacopasaponins D, E and F as well as alkaloids, flavonoids, and phytosterols [77,78]. Some of the chemical constituents of EBm are lipophilic [79,80]. This means that they can combine with or dissolve in lipids giving them the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. ...
... Other constituents include bacopasaponins D, E and F as well as alkaloids, flavonoids, and phytosterols [77,78]. Some of the chemical constituents of EBm are lipophilic [79,80]. This means that they can combine with or dissolve in lipids giving them the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. ...
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The detrimental effect of neuronal cell death due to oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. The Indian herb Bacopa monnieri is a dietary antioxidant, with animal and in vitro studies indicating several modes of action that may protect the brain against oxidative damage. In parallel, several studies using the CDRI08 extract have shown that extracts of Bacopa monnieri improve cognitive function in humans. The biological mechanisms of this cognitive enhancement are unknown. In this review we discuss the animal studies and in vivo evidence for Bacopa monnieri as a potential therapeutic antioxidant to reduce oxidative stress and improve cognitive function. We suggest that future studies incorporate neuroimaging particularly magnetic resonance spectroscopy into their randomized controlled trials to better understand whether changes in antioxidant status in vivo cause improvements in cognitive function.
... In WT flies, on the other hand, levodopa (68.5%, p < 0.05) treated flies had a significantly decreased climbing ability compared with Zandopa (93.2%) treated flies, although neither had a climbing ability significantly Table 1. Herbs and their dosage as used or recommended for human use, their equivalent per 100 g fly food as converted on the basis of Hong et al. (2011) Taking into account that 150 mg of KeenMind extract (Stough, 2008) or BacoMind extract (Abascal and Yarnell, 2011) is equivalent to 3 g dried herb. ...
Article
Current conventional treatments for Parkinson's disease (PD) are aimed at symptom management, as there is currently no known cure or treatment that can slow down its progression. Ayurveda, the ancient medical system of India, uses a combination of herbs to combat the disease. Herbs commonly used for this purpose are Zandopa (containing Mucuna pruriens), Withania somnifera, Centella asiatica, Sida cordifolia and Bacopa monnieri. In this study, these herbs were tested for their potential ability to improve climbing ability of a fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) PD model based on loss of function of phosphatase and tensin-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1). Fruit flies were cultured on food containing individual herbs or herbal formulations, a combination of all five herbs, levodopa (positive control) or no treatment (negative control). Tests were performed in both PINK1 mutant flies and healthy wild-type (WT) flies. A significant improvement in climbing ability was observed in flies treated with B. monnieri compared with untreated PINK1 mutant flies. However, a significant decrease in climbing ability was observed in WT flies for the same herb. Centella asiatica also significantly decreased climbing ability in WT flies. No significant effects were observed with any of the other herbs in either PINK1 or WT flies compared with untreated flies. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Dementia is a common symptom observed in many psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of senile dementia seen in the general population. Multiple factors like oxidative stress, apoptosis, mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation may be related to the neurodegenerative states. Many drugs like cholinesterase have been used for treatment but the progression of the disease still poses a challenge to the clinician. During recent times, herbs have gained much popularity as supplements because of the cost effectiveness, easy availability and fewer side effects. Early diagnosis and proper treatment may help in the prevention of mortality and morbidity concerned with any neurodegenerative disease. Understanding the cellular and molecular biology of the mode of the action of herbal products may be beneficial for researchers and clinicians. The present review article attempts to look into the potential herbal extracts which may act as an antioxidant in combating dementia. Clin Ter 2013; 164(1):43-46. doi: 10.7417/CT.2013.1511.
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Anxiety is a common ailment in our society. However, the drugs available to treat mild-to-moderate anxiety, particularly benzodiazepines, are problematic because they can cause injury, produce side-effects, and create dependence. Nervine herbs have been widely used historically to treat mild-to-moderate cases of anxiety, and these herbs appear to be very safe, nonaddictive but their properties as anxiolytics have been poorly researched. This article discusses the clinical uses of a number of nervines: oat seed (Avena spp.), hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), lavender (Lavandula spp.), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), lemonbalm (Melissa officinalis), passionflower (Passiflora spp.), skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and verbena (also called vervain; Verbena spp.).
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Background: Brahmi enhances cognitive processes including comprehension, memory and recall. Caffeine is undoubtedly the most widely used psychoactive substance in the world. Aim: To compare the psychomotor performance of brahmi and caffeine. Setting: Postgraduate Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics of a Medical college Material and methods: 40 healthy male medical student volunteers were given Brahmi (250 mg) or Caffeine (100 mg) twice a day after meals for 16 weeks. Two types of psychomotor performance tests were conducted on the subjects at 0 (before the consumption of drug), 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 weeks. Instrumental tests included a Simple Reaction Time Task (SRT), a Multiple Choice Reaction Time Task (MCRT), a Critical Flicker Fusion Threshold Task (CFFT) and a Tracking Performance Task (TPT) whereas, non -instrumental tests included a Digit cancellation task (DCI), a Memory test (MT) and a Mental arithmetic task (MAT). Results: Out of these subjects, two dropped out from the caffeine group due to unpleasant side effects at week 2. At 16 weeks, Brahmi caused significant decrease in the MCRT score than caffeine (P<0.05), while at 12 and 16 weeks, Brahmi significantly improved the CFFT score than caffeine (P<0.05). After 8 weeks onwards, Brahmi caused significant increase in the DCT score than caffeine (P<0.05). MT scores were significantly better in the caffiene group than in the Brahmi group at 12 weeks (P<0.001).Brahmi showed significant increase in the MAT score than caffeine in 8, 12 and 16 weeks (P<0.05). Conclusion: From the results of the present study, we conclude that Brahmi can prove to be a supplement of utmost utility to improve cognitive functions.
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The objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of Bacopa monnieri Linn. for improvement of memory performance in healthy older persons. This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The trial took place in Lismore, NSW, Australia between February and July 2005. Ninety-eight (98) healthy participants over 55 years of age were recruited from the general population. Participants were randomized to receive an extract of Bacopa monnieri called BacoMind(TM) (Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd.), 300 mg/day, or an identical placebo. Following screening, neuropsychologic and subjective memory assessments were performed at baseline and at 12 weeks. Audioverbal and visual memory performance were measured by the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT), the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test (CFT), and the Reitan Trail Making Test (TMT). Subjective memory performance was measured by the Memory Complaint Questionnaire (MAC-Q). One hundred and thirty-six (136) subjects volunteered; 103 met entry criteria, 98 commenced, and 81 completed the trial. Bacopa significantly improved verbal learning, memory acquisition, and delayed recall as measured by the AVLT: trial a4 (p = 0.000), trial a5 (p = 0.016); trial a6 (p = 0.000); trial a7 (delayed recall) (p = 0.001); total learning (p = 0.011); and retroactive interference (p = 0.048). CFT, MAC-Q, and TMT scores improved but group differences were not significant. Bacopa versus placebo caused gastrointestinal tract (GIT) side-effects. Bacopa significantly improved memory acquisition and retention in healthy older Australians. This concurs with previous findings and traditional use. Bacopa caused GIT side-effects of increased stool frequency, abdominal cramps, and nausea.
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The objective of this study was to evaluate the nootropic activity of BacoMind™, an enriched phytochemical composition from Bacopa monnieri, in different learning and memory paradigms viz., elevated plus maze, passive shock avoidance test and object recognition test. BacoMind™ was administered for 7 days at the dose of 40, 60 and 80 mg/kg to mice in elevated plus maze and passive shock avoidance test and 27, 40 and 54 mg/kg to rats in object recognition test. Scopolamine (0.3 mg/kg) was used to induce amnesia and piracetam (100 mg/kg) served as reference standard. In elevated plus maze test, BacoMind™ significantly (p<0.01) increased the inflexion ratio in scopolamine treated mice. In passive shock avoidance test, BacoMind™ significantly (p<0.001) reduced the latency to reach the shock free zone and number of mistakes in 15 min in both normal as well as scopolamine treated mice. In object recognition test, BacoMind™ significantly (p<0.001) increased the discrimination index in both normal as well as scopolamine treated rats. Thus, the findings of the present study revealed the nootropic activity of BacoMind™.
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Bacopa monnieri belonging to family Scrophulariaceae has been used since time immemorial by Ayurvedic medical practitioners in India as brain tonic. In the present clinical trial, efficacy of BacoMind®, an enriched phytochemical composition from Bacopa monnieri on cognitive function in children requiring individual education programme was evaluated Twenty-eight volunteers with Intelligent Quotient between 70-90 were enrolled in the clinical trial. The study was conducted as outpatient procedure in hospital settings with close monitoring. BacoMind® at 225 mg as single oral dose for a duration of four months showed significant change in the baseline value of working memory and short term verbal memory from 5.21±0.32 to 6.38±0.25 (p≤0.05) and 5.33±0.44 to 6.54±0.35 (p≤0.05), respectively in 70.83% of study population. Significant improvement (p≤0.05) was also seen in logical memory, memory related to personal life and also in visual as well as auditory memory. BacoMind® was also found to be well tolerable with no major side effects. The findings of the current study revealed the cognitive enhancing effect of the BacoMind® in children requiring individual education programme.
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Bacopa monniera Wettst. (syn. Herpestis monniera L.; Hindi - Brahmi) is classified in Ayurveda, the classical Indian system of medicine, as Medhyarasayana, a group of plant derived drugs used as nervine tonics to promote mental health and improve memory and intellect. Earlier experimental and clinical studies have demonstrated the memory-promoting action of the plant extracts and that of its active saponins, bacoside A and B. The present study was designed to investigate the anxiolytic activity of a standardized extract (bacoside A content 25.5 ± 0.8%) of B. monniera (BM), since the plant is used in Ayurveda in clinical conditions resembling the modern concept of anxiety disorders. The animal models used have been extensively validated as experimental models of anxiety and included the open-field, elevated plusmaze, social interaction and novelty-suppressed feeding latency tests in rats. BM was used at doses of 5, 10 and 20 mg/kg, p.o. and the results were compared with those elicited by lorazepam, a well known benzodiazepine anxiolytic, used at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg, i.p. BM produced a dose-related anxiolytic activity, qualitatively comparable to that of lorazepam, in all the test parameters. However, statistically significant results were elicited usually by the higher two doses of BM. BM did not produce any significant motor deficit, at the doses used, as was evidenced by using the rota-rod test. The findings correlate with the clinical use of the plant in Ayurveda. The advantage of B. monniera over the widely used benzodiazepine anxiolytics lies in the fact that it promotes cognition unlike the amnesic action of the latter.
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Brahmi (Bacopa monniera) is a traditional Indian medicinal plant which causes multiple effects on the central nervous system. The standardized extract of this plant has shown enhanced behavioural learning in preclinical studies and enhanced information processing in healthy volunteers. To study the efficacy of standardized Bacopa monniera extract (SBME) in subjects with age-associated memory impairment (AAMI) without any evidence of dementia or psychiatric disorder. A double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized study design was employed. The subjects received either 125 mg of SBME or placebo twice a day for a period of 12 weeks followed by a placebo period of another 4 weeks (total duration of the trial 16 weeks). Each subject was evaluated for cognition on a battery of tests comprising mental control, logical memory, digit forward, digit backward, visual reproduction and paired associate learning. SBME produced significant improvement on mental control, logical memory and paired associated learning during the 12-week drug therapy. SBME is efficacious in subjects with age-associated memory impairment.