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A well-evidenced cognitive enhancer sticker featuring the words bacopa monnieri.

Bacopa Monnieri: A Well-Evidenced Cognitive Enhancer

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Bacopa monnieri: a powerful nootropic

Bacopa monnieri is one of those “from traditional use” herbs that has made its way into science.

It’s been used for at least 1,400 years in Ayurvedic medicine, for cognitive enhancement, against anxiety, and some disease-specific treatments.

See: Pharmacological attributes of Bacopa monnieri extract: current updates and clinical manifestation

What are its claimed health benefits?

Bacopa monnieri is these days mostly sold and bought as a nootropic, and that’s what the science supports best.

Nootropic benefits claimed:

  • Improves attention, learning, and memory
  • Reduces depression, anxiety, and stress
  • Reduces restlessness and impulsivity

Other benefits claimed:

  • Antioxidant properties
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Anticancer properties

What does the science say?

Those last three, the antioxidant / anti-inflammatory / anticancer properties, when something has one of those qualities it often has all three, because there are overlapping systems at hand when it comes to oxidative stress, inflammation, and cellular damage.

Bacopa monnieri is no exception to this “rule of thumb”, and/but studies to support these benefits have mostly been animal studies and/or in vitro studies (i.e., cell cultures in a petri dish in lab conditions).

For example:

In the category of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the brain, sometimes results differ depending on the test population, for example:

Anything more promising than that?

Yes! The nootropic effects have been much better-studied in humans, and with much better results.

For example, in this 12-week study in healthy adults, taking 300mg/day significantly improved visual information processing, learning, and memory (tested against placebo):

The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monnieri on cognitive function in healthy human subjects

Another 12-week study showed older adults enjoyed the same cognitive enhancement benefits as their younger peers:

Effects of 12-week Bacopa monnieri consumption on attention, cognitive processing, working memory, and functions of both cholinergic and monoaminergic systems in healthy elderly volunteers

Children taking 225mg/day, meanwhile, saw a significant reduction in ADHD symptoms, such as restlessness and impulsivity:

The effects of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract in the management of symptoms of ADHD in children

And as for the mood benefits, 300mg/day significantly reduced anxiety and depression in elderly adults:

Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

In summary

Bacopa monnieri, taken at 300mg/day (studies ranged from 225mg/day to 600mg/day, but 300mg is most common) has well-evidenced cognitive benefits, including:

  • Improved attention, learning, and memory
  • Reduced depression, anxiety, and stress
  • Reduced restlessness and impulsivity

It may also have other benefits, including against oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer, but the research is thinner and/or not as conclusive for those.

Where to get it

As ever, we don’t sell it (or anything else), but for your convenience, here is an example product on Amazon.


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