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What is Bacopa Extract?

By N. Phipps
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Bacopa extract is taken from the succulent leaves of a small creeping plant commonly found growing throughout damp and marshy wetlands of India. This herb, with its small white flowers, is often mistaken for a water lily, although the two are unrelated. Bacopa (Bacopa monniera or B. monnieri) is also known as brahmi and water hyssop. The name of brahmi is thought to be derived from the Hindu’s creator of the universe, Brahma. The extract possesses medicinal qualities and is used to treat numerous mental and physical conditions.

The herb is most often used as a brain tonic, especially within its native origin of India. Bacopa extract has been used for centuries to restore and nourish the central nervous system. Properties found in the extract are known to increase mental functions within the brain. Bacopa contains antioxidants that are thought to protect brain cells, making them stronger and healthier. In fact, the extract is commonly used to enhance memory and concentration, thus improving learning comprehension and processing skills.

These antioxidants can also reduce the effects of stress on the brain. As a result, bacopa extract can be used to calm the nerves. It works especially well for alleviating symptoms associated with nervous exhaustion, anxiety, and depression. The herb also increases serotonin levels, which promote relaxation. This can help alleviate problematic headaches as well and has even been used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

The herb boosts the immune system and as a natural anti-inflammatory, it is used to treat other conditions as well. For instance, bacopa extract is thought to help with irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, epilepsy, bronchitis, asthma, hoarseness, and allergy symptoms. It may also improve heart function. The leaves of the plant have been historically used for treating certain conditions such as anemia, sprains, fractures, diabetes, hemorrhoids, coughs, and rheumatism.

The plant’s anti-aging qualities are known to restore one’s youth and vitality, possibly stimulating the sex drive as well. Bacopa is also commonly used to repair damaged skin, minimizing scars and smoothing out cellulite. Bacopa is available in various forms. In addition to bacopa extract, this herbal remedy is available in both pill and powder forms.

Other than excessive sleepiness associated with high dosages, there are no known side effects from the use of bacopa extract or other forms of this plant. It is always advised to seek the consultation of a qualified homeopathic or health care practitioner beforehand. Additionally, the herb may not be suitable for children or women who are pregnant.

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Discussion Comments

By donasmrs — On Jul 03, 2012

@ddljohn-- Although I have not used it, I remember this extract being mentioned in a forum about anxiety. Apparently, there have been a few research studies done on this extract. The studies showed that bacopa monnieri worked like an anti-anxiety drug without the side effects.

Since people have been using this extract for many years in homeopathic medicine, I believe that it could help reduce anxiety symptoms. But I also think that some of the patients in these studies might have experienced the placebo effect.

There is no harm in talking to your doctor about it though. And if you do decide to take it, make sure it's an authentic, good quality extract from a trusworthy company. There are so many scams out there with herbal supplements.

By ZipLine — On Jul 03, 2012

@ddljohn-- I have been taking bacopa, but not for anxiety, for memory. I have seen an improvement with my memory, especially my short-term memory is a lot better than it used to be. I have also seen some side effects of bacopa though.

I have been taking the recommended dosage on the supplement bottle. I take 750 mg, one capsule three times a day. On some days, I have trouble falling asleep and in the morning, I feel tired and kind of out of it. I've also noticed that I've been going to the bathroom more than usual. I used to never get up at night to use the bathroom and now I do. So I suspect that bacopa extract has a diuretic effect.

If the side effects get worse, I might lower the dosage or quit taking it. But I think they're minor right now and like I said the herb extract has improved my memory.

By ddljohn — On Jul 02, 2012

Has anyone taken bacopa monniera extract for anxiety?

I have an anxiety disorder which is being treated with medication. However, the medication has side effects which is making it increasingly difficult to use. It not only has increased my appetite causing me to gain a lot of weight, but I also get migraines on a regular basis because of it. On days I have a migraine, it's hard for me to do much. And I'm not even taking a large dose!

If bacopa extract is really helpful for treating anxiety, I want to talk to my doctor about using it. So if anyone has tried it, please let me know! And please let me know if you had any side effects aside from sleepiness.

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