The Nootropics Library: Bacopa Monnieri

Everything You Need To Know About Bacopa Monnieri

General Information

Scientific Name: Bacopa monnieri (Scrophulariaceae)

Any Other Names: Brahmi (Hindi), Indian Pennywort, Water Hyssop, Waterhyssop, Herpestis monniera

Primary Constituents: Triterpenoid Saponins (includes bacosides)

Country or Region of Origin: Southern and Eastern India, Tropical Climates and Warmer Temperate Regions (especially in Asia)

Known Uses: Cognitive Enhancer, Memory, Stress, Anxiety, Adaptogen, Fertility, Nervous Disorders, Indigestion, Ulcers, Gas, Constipation, Asthma, Bronchitis, Rheumatic Conditions, Diuretic, and Arthritic Pain Relief

General History & Introduction

Bacopa monnieri is one of the most studied, ancient medicinal herbs on Earth (Beshara et al., 2019). It is a member of the Scrophulariaceae family. It is a creeping perennial which can grow up to 50 cm tall.  The leaves are green and tear-shaped, paving the way for blue-white flowers.  Although the plant is native to India’s region, it has been known to thrive and be cultivated in many other areas around the world.  Some of these regions include Africa, Australia, Europe, and the Americas. The plant does very well in swamp and marshland. It can be found growing prevalently throughout rice fields.

All aerial parts of the Bacopa plant are therapeutically, medicinally, or otherwise used (Chevallier, 2016).  It is common to find recipes which utilize the plant’s parts to make a variety of herbal teas, tonics, oils, extracts, rubs, and juices. Most commonly, the herb is taken in capsule form as a dietary supplement. Unlike many other herbs which may provide some of the same benefits and treat some of the same ailments, Bacopa is known to nourish neurons, rather than deplete them (Aguiar & Borowski, 2013).

Nootropic Benefits of Bacopa Monnieri

Cognitive Enhancer and Memory

Bacopa monnieri is well-used as a cognitive enhancer, as the nootropic has suggested benefits in form of executive functioning, memory, concentration, learning, and overall cognitive function (Chevallier, 2016).  The herb has even been proven to reduce learning time (2016). In Ayurvedic medicine, Bacopa is associated directly with the brain (Orr, 2014). In fact, the term is literally mapped in Hindi to the brain, although so were any other nutraceuticals which bolster mental acuity (Stough et al., 2001).  The traditional Indian art of holistic healing also recognizes Bacopa monnieri for its incredible, natural memory-boosting ability (Walker & Brown, 1998).   Bacopa even helps bolster the memory retrieval process (Stough, 2011).

One recent, double-blind, placebo-controlled study outlined empirical proof that the herb improved information processing speed, learning rate, and memory (Beshara et al., 2019).  It is especially helpful with memory retention and short-term cognitive enhancements (2019).  Some studies seem to reveal increased cerebral blood flow (Aguiar & Borowski, 2013).  It has shown great clinical potential in alleviating and regressing dementia symptoms (2013).  There are many other studies which outline the herb’s ability to remove neuro toxins, symptoms of amnesia, and immobilization stress (Stough et al., 2001).

Stress and Anxiety (Adaptogen)


An adaptogen helps stabilize the mind and body to relieve stress and tension (The Nootropics Zone, 2017). The Bacopa herb is one of the most powerful nootropic adaptogens. The herb’s ability to dramatically reduce anxiety is supported in numerous clinical trials and studies (2017).  It’s natural relaxation properties are suggested to help with memory recall (Beshara et al., 2019). In fact, one recent study proved the herb offered a significant reduction in anxiety. It has been known to reduce nervousness, palpitations, insomnia, headaches, and concentration (2019). Bacopa also sports an ability to reduce oxidative stress and is purportedly one of the strongest nootropic antioxidants (Aguiar & Borowski, 2013).

Libido and Fertility

The Bacopa plant has a long traditional history of being used to treat infertility (Chevallier, 2016). It has been known to be used for a variety of libido and sex-related ailments in men.  More specifically, it has been used to treat impotence, premature ejaculation, infertility, and general libido. Unfortunately, while Bacopa monnieri may be proven to enhance libido in men, the herb may possibly stunt the production and quality of sperm (Mishra et al., 2018).  This study may suggest that while a small amount of Bacopa may produce aphrodisiac-like effects, too much of the herb may act as a form of male contraceptive (2018).

Nervous Disorders

Bacopa monnieri is well-known in Indian holistic medicine to treat a variety of nervous system disorders (Chevallier, 2016). Some of these disorders include epilepsy, mental illness, and neuralgia (2016).  It’s ability to provide adaptogenic benefits and antioxidant benefits make it a wonderful addition to any daily regimen for a dementia or Alzheimer’s patient.  It is also proven to offer neuroprotective benefits and can pass the blood-brain barrier, which is very helpful with most nervous disorders (Manap et al., 2019).  The participants in a variety of clinical trials and studies on Bacopa’s effects on Alzheimer’s have even called the herb “therapeutic” (2019).

Other Uses

Bacopa monnieri is considered a multipurpose herb, making itself useful across a wide spectrum of ailments.  Some of these disorders and ailments which the herb can help with, not previously mentioned, include indigestion, ulcers, gas, and constipation (Chevallier, 2016).  The herb has also been known to help with asthma, bronchitis, and rheumatic conditions. It can be used as a laxative, diuretic, or a purgative. Traditionally, Bacopa has also been applied as a rub to help alleviate mild arthritic pain (2016).  It has been helpful in the treatment of dementia and Parkinson’s disease (Aguiar & Borowski, 2013).  It could be said that Bacopa also offers excellent mood enhancing properties, as it can improve both anxiety and depression (Calabrese et al., 2008).

Dosing and Usage Information


Many clinical trials and empirical studies support the use of Bacopa monnieri to treat a variety of ailments and conditions (Calabrese et al., 2008).  Many double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have outlined the herb’s ability to enhance cognitive function with a mere dose of 300 mg daily in healthy adults (2008). This does has also been proven in empirical data to improve learning and memory (Stough et al., 2001).  It is especially effective for elderly, dementia patients, and enhancing memory retention. The same study which highlighted these benefits also proved the herb’s favorable impact on anxiety, tension, and depression (2008).

Side Effects

Most of the clinical trials and studies which dive into the use of Bacopa and its benefits have outlined very few side effects, if any. It is commonly considered safe for short-term use by most medical professionals for most people (Beshara et al., 2019).  The few side effects reported in some studies include stomach cramps, mild nausea, and increased bowel movements (2019).  Still, it remains one of the most researched nootropics used in modern holistic healing.

Other Important Information

The nick name given to Bacopa, Brahmi, was chosen in honor of the great Hindu creator God Brahma (Stough et al., 2015). It has been greatly revered throughout all of ancient, Ayurvedic medicine as a mind medicine. At the start of its extensive history, it was first mentioned in an ancient, Sanskrit text, the Caraka Samhita, amongst others (2015). The herb was categorized as a memory and intelligence herb (Nemetchek et al., 2017).  It literally fit into the Indian category Medhya Rasayana, which translates into intellect and rejuvenation (Stough et al., 2015).  It is noteworthy that bacopa monnieri may have an ability to moderate brain serotonin levels (Stough et al., 2001).

Bacopa monnieri has a strong presence in many Hindu religious rituals, consecration routines, and new-born baby celebrations (Stough et al., 2015).  Traditionally, it was believed that Bacopa monnieri could open the gateways to great knowledge (2015).  Modern-day classification of the herb names it a nootropic, or“smart drug.”  This is because it is regularly used for its ability to improve learning, memory retention, and overall concentration (Beshara et al., 2019).  The herb is especially helpful with memory consolidation, verbal and visual processing of information, and environment-based learning (Stough et al., 2001).


The verdict may still be out on the correct dosages and applications of the herb, but Bacopa monnieri’s ability to offer medicinal effects of some kind are no longer in question. The plant’s ability to improve memory, learning, and cognitive function is world-renown.  The tonic, positive effects Bacopa has on the brain are well documented throughout Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines (Chevallier, 2016). 300 mg of Bacopa extract has been supported in many studies and clinical trials as  a reasonably effective daily dose (Stough et al., 2001).  Its ability to relax the brain, destress the body, and improve learning and focus makes it a wonderful suggestion to alleviate ADHD symptoms (Beshara et al., 2019).

A Note from NooFiles

This article is intended to be used for information only.  We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.


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Calabrese, C., Gregory, W. L., Leo, M., Kraemer, D., Bone, K., & Oken, B. (2008). Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). Vol. 14(6). Pp. 707–713. DOI:

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Mishra, R. K., Singh, S., & Singh, S. K. (2018). Natural products in regulation of male fertility. The Indian journal of medical research. Vol. 148(Suppl). Pp. S107–S114. DOI:

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Stough, C., Lloyd, J., Clarke, J., Downey, L., Hutchison, C., Rodgers, T., and Nathan, P. (2001). The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Rapid Communication. Psychopharmacology. Vol. 156. Pp. 481-484. DOI: 10.1007/s002130100815

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