BACOPA MONNIERI

Cliff Notes:
  • A natural flowering herb plant native to the wetlands of India, particularly in the Northeast and Southern regions of the country.
Brain Effects:
  • Bacopa Monnieri has been shown, when take on a consistent basis, to have a positive effect on subject attention, short-term memory, and overall mood.
Research:
A clinical research study was conducted which aimed to determine the effect of B. monnieri on attention, cognitive processing, working memory, and cholinergic and monoaminergic functions in healthy elderly. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled design was utilized. Sixty healthy elderly subjects (mean age 62.62 years; SD 6.46), consisting of 23 males and 37 females, received either a standardized extract of B. monnieri (300 and 600 mg) or placebo once daily for 12 weeks. The cholinergic and monoaminergic systems functions were determined using AChE and MAO activities. Working memory was assessed using percent accuracy and reaction time of various memory tests as indices, whereas attention and cognitive processing were assessed using latencies and amplitude of N100 and P300 components of event-related potential. All assessments were performed before treatment, every four weeks throughout study period, and at four weeks after the cessation of intervention. B. monnieri-treated group showed improved working memory together with a decrease in both N100 and P300 latencies. The suppression of plasma AChE activity was also observed. These results suggest that B. monnieri can improve attention, cognitive processing, and working memory partly via the suppression of AChE activity. (1)
Tatimah Peth-Nui; Jintanaporn Wattanathorn; Supaporn Muchimapura; Terdthai Tong-Un; Nawanant Piyavhatkul; Poonsri Rangseekajee; Kornkanok Ingkaninan; Sakchai Vittaya-areekul. January 2012.
OBJECTIVE: Study aims were to evaluate effects of Bacopa monnieri whole plant standardized dry extract on cognitive function and affect and its safety and tolerability in healthy elderly study participants. RESULTS: Controlling for baseline cognitive deficit using the Blessed Orientation–Memory–Concentration test, Bacopa participants had enhanced AVLT delayed word recall memory scores relative to placebo. Stroop results were similarly significant, with the Bacopa group improving and the placebo group unchanged. CESD-10 depression scores, combined state plus trait anxiety scores, and heart rate decreased over time for the Bacopa group but increased for the placebo group. No effects were found on the DAT, WAIS digit task, mood, or blood pressure. The dose was well tolerated with few adverse events. (2)
Carlo Calabrese, N.D., M.P.H., William L. Gregory, Ph.D., Michael Leo, Ph.D., Dale Kraemer, Ph.D., Kerry Bone, F.N.I.M.H., F.N.H.A.A., and Barry Oken, M.D.
Over recent years there has been increasing research into both pharmaceutical and nutraceutical cognition enhancers. Here we aimed to calculate the effect sizes of positive cognitive effect of the pharmaceutical modafinil in order to benchmark the effect of two widely used nutraceuticals Ginseng and Bacopa (which have consistent acute and chronic cognitive effects, respectively). A search strategy was implemented to capture clinical studies into the neurocognitive effects of modafinil, Ginseng and Bacopa. Studies undertaken on healthy human subjects using a double-blind, placebo-controlled design were included. For each study where appropriate data were included, effect sizes (Cohen’s d) were calculated for measures showing significant positive and negative effects of treatment over placebo. The highest effect sizes for cognitive outcomes were 0.77 for modafinil (visuospatial memory accuracy), 0.86 for Ginseng (simple reaction time) and 0.95 for Bacopa (delayed word recall). These data confirm that neurocognitive enhancement from well characterized nutraceuticals can produce cognition enhancing effects of similar magnitude to those from pharmaceutical interventions. Future research should compare these effects directly in clinical trials. (3)
Neale, Camfield D, Reay J, Stough C, Scholey A.