Bacopa may be unlike any other name you’ve encountered but you will do best to remember it – given that it’s a nootropic. Yes, indeed. Your head may spin hearing those two strange words. Nootropic and bacopa. But what’s important to note is the bacopa plant can be the brain enhancer you’ve been needing all this time. And we’re not talking about some experimental drug under research. Thanks to Ayurvedic medicine, the long history of how to achieve wellbeing from India, the world stand witness to this water plant’s wonderful healing powers.
Will it benefit everyone? Think about it. Who doesn’t need a boost in the brain department? Everyday we are plagued by lists for instance. We’d have to remember the things we buy (e.g., grocery list) and the things we need to do (e.g., daily tasks). Add being efficient at work and in school, and you know everyone has to have proper functioning of the brain to be effective day to day. The elderly, much, much more. Why? As you may have noticed, old age takes a huge toll on the brain. Seniors easily forget. Worse? Many of them get dementia in the form of Alzheimer’s disease. And that’s just for starters. To shed light the brain-booster, we’re showing you how to make the most of bacopa. Right here. Read on.
What is Bacopa?
First things first. Bacopa is the genus of 70 to 100 aquatic plants belonging to the Plantaginaceae. It’s also commonly called as water hyssop – thanks to its uncanny resemblance to the purely land-based hyssop plant. Both plants, however, belong to different plant families and are largely unrelated. Also, the plant is called as brahmi, in reference to Ayurvedic medicine. For centuries, this water-loving plant has been a staple in traditional healing in India. Today, it is well-established as a a go-to medicine for many alternative medicine practitioners to boost memory and other brain functions.
Bacopa is also referred scientifically as Bacopa monnieri or Bacopa monniera as the case may be. Note that this useful plant usually do not thrive in dry areas. You will find them mostly in amphibious conditions with some species used for freshwater aquariums. There are however a few like the B. myriophylloides which are totally aquatic.
You can easily identify bacopa by its similarity to hyssop, a garden flowering herb found in many homes. Plus, you can’t mistake its flowers which are composed of 5 sepals and 5 petals. Though easy to grow, the water hyssop requires a substantial amount of light to flourish.
What Can It Give You?
To start, bacopa is a nootropic – compounds which not only boosts one’s cognitive function but also promotes the healthy functioning of the brain in the long run. Though widely used in India for centuries, it was not only until recently that this water-dependent plant got greater acceptance in the West.
Today, thanks to its brain boosting function, bacopa is fast becoming a fave alternative medicine for people tormented by epilepsy, dementia and even Parkinson’s. As a memory enhancer, it is spot on for students who want to ace a test. Or for that matter, surgeons who want to be at their ‘bestest best’ when operating a patient on the surgical table.
Its Wonderful Benefits
To wrap their heads around the benefits of the herbal plant, researchers aggregated study results wherein subjects were made to take Bacopa monnieri or a span of 12 weeks. This was contrasted to the results of another group of subjects took a placebo. To make it conclusive, 9 studies were looked into. And the results were staggering.
Those scientist-researchers found out that who took water hyssop completed their tasks faster. Specifically, subjects were made to connect related items as a trail.
Another study was even more amazing. This time around, bacopa was paired against common cognitive enhancers – one is Modafinil (synthetic) and the other Panax ginseng (natural). While each of these powerful compounds scored well in various outcomes, the water hyssop showed greater positive results in tests involving delayed word recall.
To note, delayed word recall is directly attributed to a distinct verbal memory. Further, there is a considerable increase in mental alertness noticed as the weeks pass by taking the herbal alternative.
Therefore, reaping the full benefits of bacopa may take weeks. However, there are subtle immediate effects that manifested. These are the ability to 1.) multitask faster and 2.) the reduction of anxiety in tasks which involve more cognitive function.
Kids and young adults prosper too with the water hyssop. Of five studies reviewed on recent literature, researchers found out that the intake of Bacopa monnieri dramatically improve children’s:
- Spelling ability
- Language skills
- Understanding the meaning of words.
Further, it was observed that the ability to remember, particularly their recall of the details of the tests. Hence, better memory functioning.
How Bacopa Boosts Your Brain
A chemical reaction within the body is a string of complex processes which involve numerous active ingredients. However, scientists have pinpointed bacosides, a triterpenoid saponin, as the useful chemical in Bacopa monnieri. And this could be your clue when choosing the best bacopa supplement for you.
Saponins easily foam when placed in a solution and shaken. Just like soap would when being used in the bath. On the other end, triterpenoid compounds are characterized by their three-terpene structures.
Thanks to everyday stress, our bodily reactions produce damaging free radicals. If not reined in, the proliferation of free radicals produces oxidative stress within the body. As free radicals are unstable elements, they attack other ‘good’ molecules in the body by stealing an electron, instigating health issues in people. Which manifests into brain dysfunction (e.g., dementia). Fortunately, the bacocides in bacopa counter the negative effects of free radicals by bolstering antioxidant level in the brain – in the process negating unhealthy oxidative stress. These brain antioxidants include superoxide dismutase, glutathione and catalase. Findings were evident in the studies of bacocide effect in rodents.
Further, studies show Bacopa monnieri promoted the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is identified as the mood regulator in the body. As we age, our serotonin production dips. The water hyssop counters this by keeping those vital dopaminergic neurons active, lowering stress in the process. In short, gettin you calmer.