Bacopa : Health benefits, Side effects, and Interactions
What is Bacopa?
Bacopa, also known as Bacopa monnieri, is an herb used in traditional Ayurvedic treatment. Both plants are occasionally referred to as Brahmi, however gotu kola should not be confused with it. The creeping perennial herb known as bacopa monnieri is indigenous to wetlands in Europe, India, Africa, Australia, Asia, and North and South America. It is also known as Indian pennywort, thyme-leaved gratiola, herb of grace, water hyssop, waterhyssop, and Brahmi. This article covers its application, adverse effects, dangers, and interactions.
Key Facts about bacopa
- The family Plantaginaceae includes 70–100 species of water plants under the genus name Bacopa.
- One of the most popular species of Bacopa is the non-aromatic herb Bacopa monnieri.
- Due to a similar look, it is frequently called water hyssop.
- Because it tends to flourish underwater and its ability to grow in moist, tropical settings, it is widely used in aquariums.
- It is believed that a group of powerful compounds known as bacosides are what are responsible for Bacopa monnieri’s health benefits.
- It is used in Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Folk medicine, and Siddha.
- The FDA warned dietary supplement producers who make preparations containing Bacopa monnieri in 2019 not to make any medicinal claims about the plant. The FDA has not cleared bacopa monnieri for any medicinal uses.
How is it used?
- The therapeutic qualities of the entire plant are highly valued. People can consume the herb as dried, ground, and combined with ghee.
- In addition, the juice can be combined with milk or ghee, which is clarified butter.
- Bacopa can be purchased commercially in pill or capsule form, either by itself or in combination with other plants.
- Bitter leaves and sensitive shoots are eaten cooked. Also regarded as a brain tonic, claimed to improve memory if consumed with milk.
This leafy green is rich in minerals including magnesium and zinc, as well as vitamin B complexes like vitamins B12, B9, E and C.
Recommended dose of bacopa
- There are numerous ways to consume bacopa monnieri, but capsules are the most popular.
- Adult dosages typically range from 300 to 600 mg orally once daily for 12 weeks.
- Children – given orally to children between the ages of 6 and 12 for up to 6 months at a dose of 225 mg daily.
Consult with a medical practitioner to know what dosage would be suitable for your health condition.
Health benefits of bacopa
Bacopa monnieri has various health benefits may include
Improves cognitive functions and memory
- B. monnieri improves working memory and cognitive function while improving attention and memory processing.
Alzheimer’s and ADHD
- Bacopa has been shown to improve memory in persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, and even attention deficit disorder.
Stress and anxiety
- Bacopa may successfully lessen stress and general anxiety symptoms, particularly in those with cognitive loss.
- Bacopa is a promising source of innovative therapies for treating several CNS illnesses, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and schizophrenia, as it can reduce inflammation in the brain.
- Bacopa is regarded as an effective anti-aging tonic in India.
- In India, snakebites are treated with a decoction of the whole plant or a paste made of the leaves and stems.
Side effects of bacopa
When administered for twelve weeks at a dose of up to 600 mg per day, bacopa may be safe. However, the most frequent adverse effects could be
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal cramps
Precautions to be taken while using bacopa
Regarding Bacopa monnieri use in people, there hasn’t been any evidence of toxicity. Those with the following conditions need to exercise cautious:
- People with bradycardia, a slow heartbeat – should consult their doctor before taking bacopa supplements because doing so could worsen their condition and increase their risk of developing heart disease.
- Blockage of the gastrointestinal system – before taking Bacopa, people with GI blockage should consult their doctor because Bacopa can potentially exacerbate the condition.
- Ulcers – Bacopa may aggravate stomach ulcers; therefore, those who already have them should speak with their doctor before taking it.
- Lung diseases – Before using Bacopa, those with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should consult a doctor because it may exacerbate these conditions.
- People with thyroid problems or those using thyroid hormone treatments –should use Bacopa cautiously or avoid it altogether since it may raise thyroid hormone levels.
- Urinary tract blockage – The use of bacopa may make urinary obstruction worse and people with a urinary tract obstruction, should speak with a medical practitioner before using bacopa.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women – should not take it because there is insufficient trustworthy data to determine whether Bacopa is safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- Children – When given orally to children within the recommended dosage may be considered safe
Interactions of bacopa with other medicines
The following medicines may interact with bacopa monnieri :
Anticholinergic drugs or drying medications
- Anticholinergic medications such as atropine and belladonna may be less effective when combined with bacopa supplements because Bacopa increases acetylcholine in the body.
- When used with Bacopa, medications used to treat glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, and other illnesses may also raise acetylcholine levels in the body and increase the risk of side effects.
Cytochrome P450 substrates (like CYP1A2, CYP2C19, CYP2C9, and CYP3A4)
- They are digested by the liver; taking them together with Bacopa may modify how rapidly the liver processes these drugs, which may alter their effectiveness and adverse effects.
Cevimeline or Evoxac
- Bacopa may alter how rapidly the body breaks down cevimeline. Cevimeline’s results and side effects can alter as a result of this.
- Bacopa may boost the body’s thyroid hormone production. Combining thyroid hormone and Bacopa may result in an overproduction of thyroid hormone in the body, increasing its effects and adverse effects.
- A relaxed individual may lack the desire to work after using Bacopa monnieri supplements because it may have anxiety-reducing effects, and it may not be healthy to use it with other anxiolytics.
The bottom line
Bacopa monnieri is an old Ayurvedic herbal treatment proven for its ability to treat a variety of health issues, including Alzheimer’s, ADHD, sleeplessness, and anxiety. According to research conducted on animals and in test tubes, it may also have anticancer qualities and the ability to lower inflammation. Despite the promise of these possible health advantages, more studies are necessary to comprehend its impact on people fully. Additionally, Bacopa is an herbal medication that can mix with any drugs an individual might take. Before taking supplements containing Bacopa for any health problems, speak with a doctor.