Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri)
Bacopa is a small creeping plant native to India with single flowers that bloom from early spring through summer. It likes to keep its roots wet, and is easy to grow as long as the soil is moist enough. In some areas, this plant is considered invasive. The flowers are usually white or purple. Used in Ayurvedic medicine it is known as Brahmi, which is used as a tonic for many problems associated with the brain and its functions.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Bacopa is used to relieve anxiety, depression and to increase memory function. Studies have shown that it can improve perception of patterns and organization and reasoning ability. When used to fight depression, it did not have the side effects of many pharmaceutical drugs, but instead enhanced the memory. It has been useful for epilepsy, as it stops convulsions. Because it relaxes constriction in the lungs, it is useful for bronchitis and asthma.
It also relaxes intestinal muscle, so it can offer relief for irritable bowel syndrome and intestinal spasms. It is a vasodilator, and makes a good tonic for the cardiovascular system. It can stimulate the thyroid to produce a normal amount of hormones in cases of hypothyroidism. Bacopa seems to protect a person from toxicity of some drugs like morphine. Studies are showing that the herb may also have some anti-cancer qualities by inhibiting the DNA replication in cancer cells. It may also be of use in treating Alzheimer's disease.
Externally Not used externally
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Bacopa can be combined with herbs that have anti-diarrheal properties to aid gastrointestinal problems.
Whole Plant The entire plant is used to create medicinal remedies.
There are no known side effects for bacopa. It is safe for all ages. Because it has a slight sedative effect, one should be careful when using it in combination with other sedatives. In large amounts, it may cause dry mouth, muscle fatigue and nausea. There is little to suggest drug interactions with this herb, but you should check with your physician before using if you are on prescription medications.
Preparation and Dosage
Bacopa can be found as commercial preparations very easily. Follow the instructions on the label or from your care provider. A normal dose would be 1 to 2 capsules taken twice a day after a meal. It takes some time to show effects, so be prepared to take the remedy for at least 3 or 4 weeks before seeing signs of improvement.