Sfera Bacopin (Bacopa) is a tropical plant that is generally known for its cognitive and memory improving capabilities.
In the Ayurvedic medicine system of India, Bacopa is very often prescribed for memory improvement as well as enhancing one’s cognitive ability and to promote optimal brain function. It is especially good for improving attention and focus
Why Use Bacopin?
Bacopa contains bacosides and saponins which have a very beneficial effect on the brain’s neurotransmitters and also help to repair neurons that have become damaged.
The bacosides in this herb possess antioxidant activity and help protect the brain from free radical damage. Bacopa extract is now being considered as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
This herb also shows promise as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Through the consumption of Bacopa, one can greatly increase synaptic activity and the speed of nerve transmission and impulses. This in turn makes the thinking process faster and improves the speed of memory recall. Memory itself is enhanced due to Bacopa increasing the levels of Acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter that shuttles messages from one brain cell to another.
Many studies have proven significant improvement in the area of long and short-term memory in people who consistently take a Bacopa herbal extract. While it’s beneficial for people of all ages, anyone over the age of 40 will most likely benefit most from it. It can go a long way in keeping your brain and memory sharp.
Not only is this herb beneficial for the conditions mentioned above, it’s also great for its anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects. People taking this herb often report that they are better able to handle stress and feel less anxious and depressed than usual.
Other little-known uses for Bacopa are for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and allergies.
This is probably due to its ability to relax the pulmonary artery, trachea and aorta. It also possesses some anti-inflammatory properties.
Bacopa is truly a great overall brain tonic
The Benefits of Bacopin
To date, few studies have tested the health effects of bacopa.
However, research suggests that the herb shows promise in the treatment and/or prevention of the following health problems:
1) Cognitive Function
Scientists in Australia recently conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 12-week study to evaluate the effects of Bacopa on memory and other cognitive functions in healthy human subjects.2 A battery of 16 well-validated neuropsychological tests was administered to 46 volunteers (11 men and 35 women) aged 18 to 60 years, all of whom were free of physical or psychiatric conditions and of medications.
The tests were designed to assess a wide range of cognitive variables, including attention, short-term memory, verbal learning, memory consolidation, executive processes, planning and problem solving, information-processing speed, motor responsiveness, decision making, and anxiety state.
The tests were given at the outset of the trial to establish baseline values, and then again 5 weeks and 12 weeks after the treatment commenced. The treatment consisted of either placebo or a Bacopa extract: 150 mg (equivalent to 3 g of the dried herb) taken in capsule form twice daily (300 mg/day total) for 12 weeks.
Bacopa Significantly Improves Memory
The study showed that Bacopa significantly improved the speed of early information processing, verbal learning rate, and memory consolidation in humans. These results support previous animal studies and clinical trials on children and on patients with anxiety neurosis, all of which showed learning and memory-enhancing effects with Bacopa extracts.
The authors concluded by saying that “The current finding suggests that B. monniera may improve higher-order cognitive processes that are critically dependent on the input of information from our environment such as learning and memory.”
2) Reduces Anxiety
The results also showed a significant anxiolytic (antianxiety) effect, which was also consistent with prior research. The authors suggested that this effect might be due to modulation of brain levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, because it is known that Bacopa does modulate serotonin levels in animals. Serotonin plays an important role in mood regulation, among other things. It is also known from animal studies that Bacopa modulates the brain levels of acetylcholine, another important neurotransmitter, which is involved in memory and other cognitive functions.
3) Antioxidant Properties
In addition to its effects on brain neurotransmitters, Bacopa is known to have antioxidant effects that may account in part for its actions in enhancing cognitive functions. In laboratory studies on rat liver tissue, researchers found that Bacopa extract inhibits experimentally induced lipid peroxidation. Lipids are fatty substances such as cholesterol and triglycerides. In the bloodstream, their peroxidation (which is a specific kind of oxidation reaction, initiated by free radicals) is highly damaging to our health, because it plays a key role in the formation of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries. And atherosclerosis can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Thus, anything that can help to inhibit lipid peroxidation is beneficial to our health, because it slows the progression of atherosclerosis.
4) May Sharpen Your Edge
In ancient times, before writing was invented, human knowledge was passed from generation to generation orally, in the form of myths, legends, songs, and epic poems. In India, some of these epics were gargantuan in scope, requiring days or even weeks to recite. They had to be memorized, of course – a task that probably took years to accomplish (no wonder someone finally invented writing!). Reputedly, Bacopa played a role in helping to enhance the memories of those who undertook this enormous challenge.
You may not be faced with anything quite so daunting in your life, but if it’s possible to sharpen the edge of your memory a little, it will probably be worth it for the ways in which that might improve the quality of your life. It’s a natural link to an ancient and honourable past.