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Ancient Ayurvedic Herb Boosts Memory and Multitasking, Reduces Stress

Ayurvedic Remedy Bacopa Improves Memory and Multitasking, Reduces Stress

While modern researchers scramble to create synthetic drugs to delay the onset of memory disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, a latent form of institutional dementia prevails: A purposeful forgetfulness and outright dismissal of ancient remedies for memory, stress and mood disorders

Bacopa monieri is an herbal medicine used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for a variety of mood-related, memory-related and cognitive-related disorders.

Now we find modern clinical research proves the effectiveness of Bacopa to boost memory, improve moods, increase multi-tasking, reduce stress and boost cognition in general.

Boosting Multi-Tasking, Cognition and Reducing Stress Proven

New research from Australia's Swinburne University of Technology has proven that Bacopa monnieri helps multitasking and stress reduction along with cognitive improvements.

The researchers, from Swinburne's Center for Human Psychopharmacology, conducted a placebo-controlled, double-blind study of 17 healthy adult volunteers. They utilized what is called a cross-over design, meaning each of the subjects was tested on both the placebo and treatment doses separated by a washout period – a period of time enough to allow the system to be cleared.

The subjects were given multitasking framework testing, and then underwent the testing one and two hours after taking two different doses of the Bacopa or a placebo.

The subjects were also tested for moods and salivary cortisol levels – which will indicate levels of stress and/or anxiety – before and after the dosing of the Bacopa or placebo.

Each of the subjects underwent the multitasking framework testing separated by a week – called the washout period. The first week the subjects were given the test, then given the placebo, and then tested again a week later before and after being given 320 milligrams of a commercial extract of Bacopa called CDRI 08 – also labeled KeenMind®.

After another washout period of seven days, the subjects returned to receive 640 milligrams of the CDRI 08 – followed and proceeded by a round of multitasking framework testing.

The results of the study determined the subjects' memory was enhanced by the Bacopa, but not with the placebo. The research also found the Bacopa elevated mood levels and reduced stress levels – indicated by the reduction of salivary cortisol levels. These also indicated adaptogenic effects of the Bacopa extract.

Bacopa's Cognitive Benefits Confirmed in Another Recent Study

Some of the same researchers conducted a study of the same Bacopa extract a year earlier – in 2013 - using a similar protocol. This study was conducted on 24 healthy subjects. Again, a placebo, and 430 milligrams and 640 milligrams of the Bacopa extract were tested with washout periods in between. In this study, the testing consisted of a series of six repetitive cognitive demand tests – called a Cognitive Demand Battery.

This study found significantly improved cognitive performance following the Bacopa extract treatments among the subjects.

Memory Increased in Longer Bacopa Study

A 2008 study from Swinburne's Brain Science Institute studied the cognitive effects of Bacopa following three months of Bacopa treatment. Here 62 healthy volunteers completed this double-blind, placebo-controlled study. They were given either a placebo or 150 milligrams of CDRI 08 twice a day – 300 milligrams per day.

The subjects were given the Cognitive Drug Research cognitive assessment system before and after the 90 day treatment period. This battery of tests measures reaction times, number ordering, word recall and recognition, picture recognition, and spatial and numeric working memories.

The researchers found that the Bacopa significantly improved working memory and spatial working memory. This includes accuracy and context memory recognition. The researchers also found that rapid visual information processing tasking was improved.

Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted on Bacopa in 2001. Similar results were found using 300 milligrams of Bacopa, tested after five weeks and twelve weeks of treatment. The researchers concluded in this earlier study:

"These findings suggest 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."

What is Bacopa?

Bacopa Monniera – also called Brahmi and Indian Pennywort - has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to boost moods, memory and related disorders. It has thus been used to relieve anxiety, stress, ADHD-related issues, epilepsy and memory disorders such as Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia and mental diseases.

Outside of these uses, Brahmi has been used for irritable bowels, inflammation including joints, backache, headaches and some menstruation symptoms.

The plant is a small shrub that grows in wet and tropical regions, including South and Central America. Year-round ponds in warm climates will often support Brahmi.

Bacopa has been found to contain numerous constituents, including triterpenoids such as bacopasides, bacosides, saponins such as bacopasaponin, and others such as brahmine, herpestine, D-mannitol, apigenin, hersaponin, cucurbitacins and plantainosides.

References:

Benson S, Downey LA, Stough C, Wetherell M, Zangara A, Scholey A. An acute, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study of 320 mg and 640 mg doses of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on multitasking stress reactivity and mood. Phytother Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):551-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5029.

Downey LA, Kean J, Nemeh F, Lau A, Poll A, Gregory R, Murray M, Rourke J, Patak B, Pase MP, Zangara A, Lomas J, Scholey A, Stough C. An acute, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study of 320 mg and 640 mg doses of a special extract of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on sustained cognitive performance.  Phytother Res. 2013 Sep;27(9):1407-13. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4864.

Stough C, Downey LA, Lloyd J, Silber B, Redman S, Hutchison C, Wesnes K, Nathan PJ. Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Phytother Res. 2008 Dec;22(12):1629-34. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2537.

Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, Nathan PJ. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Aug;156(4):481-4.

Rastogi M, Ojha R, Prabu PC, Devi DP, Agrawal A, Dubey GP. Amelioration of age associated neuroinflammation on long term bacosides treatment. Neurochem Res 2012;37: 869–874.

Deepak M, Sangli GK, Arun PC, Amit A. Quantitative determination of the major saponin mixture bacoside A in Bacopa monnieri by HPLC. Phytochem Anal 2005;16: 24–29.

Garai S, Mahato SB, Ohtani K, Yamasaki K. Dammarane triterpenoid saponins from Bacopa monnieri. Can J Chem 2009;87:1230–1234.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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