Similar to Gotu, Bacopa is a natural nootropic. These are supplements that can enhance brain function. In fact, when these two herbs are combined, they are referred to as Brahmi. This is in honor of the Hindu god of creation, Lord Brahma. Interestingly enough, Brahma is married to the goddess of knowledge— Saraswati Devi.
The exciting thing about this herb, which also goes by the name Water Hyssop, is that there are multiple clinical trials! For instance, according to a study done in 2008 by Dr. Calabrese and team, Bacopa “has [the] potential for safely enhancing cognitive performance in… aging.”1 The patient population in this study includes 54 subjects with an average age of 73.5 years living in Portland, Oregon. Based on an assessment tool known as the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT), individuals were evaluated for the number of words recalled. After 12 weeks, people who took the Bacopa course were able to recall an average of 7.6 words; those who took placebo (sugar pills) recalled around 6.9 words.
Overall, Bacopa “shows great clinical potential in attenuating dementia...” as well as other cognitive disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.2 While there is still much to learn about natural nootropics, this branch of Ayurveda demonstrates an abundance of promise in the field of psychiatry.
I recently made the switch from Gotu Kola to Bacopa!
Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2008;14(6):707-713.
Aguiar S, Borowski T. Neuropharmacological review of the nootropic herb Bacopa monnieri. Rejuvenation Res. 2013;16(4):313-326.