Herbal Ergogenics: Bacopa Monnieri - Mind And Muscle

strong guy curlingBacopa monnieri is also known as Bacopa monniera, brahmi, and water hyssop. Bacopa monnieri has been used in India for many years for its ability to enhance cognitive function, and it has also been used in the treatment of epilepsy. While Bacopa monnieri is most typically used for its ability to enhance cognitive function, it also acts as an adaptogen (helps the body adapt to physical and mental stress), it is known to increase production of the thyroid hormone T4, and it has mood boosting and anti-stress properties.

Bacopa monnieri has been shown in both human and animal studies to enhance cognitive function. Bacopa monnieri has been shown to increase focus, learning speed, and memory. The adaptogenic effects of bacopa monnieri have been shown to be quite significant. Adaptogens can be beneficial to athletes by allowing for faster and more complete recovery of the muscles and central nervous system following training. Bacopa monnieri appears to exert its anti-stress effects without a sedative effect, so it can effectively relieve stress and boost mood without causing the user to feel sleepy as some other anti-stress herbs might. Finally, Bacopa monnieri may assist in fat burning as it has been shown to significantly boost production of the thyroid hormone T4 in animals. Unfortunately levels of the primary active thyroid hormone T3 appear unaffected by Bacopa monnieri. Bacopa monnieri will probably not significantly elevate metabolic rate, but it might work well to help prevent the metabolic slowdown that is typically associated with dieting.

It is best to get a Bacopa monnieri supplement that is standardized for bacosides, the active constituents of Bacopa monnieri. Bacopa is available in powder and capsule form. It is also included in a variety of supplements including fat burners, adaptogenic blends, and brain boosters. Bacopa monnieri will have some immediate effects, but the full benefits of this herb should build over a period of weeks. Bacopa monnieri should be taken on a daily basis for best results.


1. Kar P, Shukla R, Seth PK, & Srimal RC. (2002). Antistress effects of bacosides of Bacopa monnieri: modulation of Hsp70 expression, superoxide dismutase and cytochrome P450 activity in rat brain. Phytotherapy Research : PTR. 16(7), 639-45.

2. Mathew J, Paul J, Nandhu MS, & Paulose CS. (2010). Bacopa monnieri and Bacoside-A for ameliorating epilepsy associated behavioral deficits. Fitoterapia. 81(5), 315-22.

3. Raghav S, Singh H, Dalal PK, Srivastava JS, & Asthana OP. (2006). Randomized controlled trial of standardized Bacopa monniera extract in age-associated memory impairment. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 48(4), 238-42.

4. Sairam K, Dorababu M, Goel RK, & Bhattacharya SK. (2002). Antidepressant activity of standardized extract of Bacopa monniera in experimental models of depression in rats. Phytomedicine : International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. 9(3), 207-11.

5. Stough C, Downey LA, Lloyd J, Silber B, Redman S, Hutchison C, Wesnes K, & Nathan PJ. (2008). Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Phytotherapy Research : PTR. 22(12), 1629-34.

6. Roodenrys S, Booth D, Bulzomi S, Phipps A, Micallef C, & Smoker J. (2002). Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. 27(2), 279-81.

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

8. Rai D, Bhatia G, Palit G, Pal R, Singh S, & Singh HK. (2003). Adaptogenic effect of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi). Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. 75(4), 823-30.

9. Kar A, Panda S, & Bharti S. (2002). Relative efficacy of three medicinal plant extracts in the alteration of thyroid hormone concentrations in male mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 81(2), 281-5.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cassie is a chemistry major and national level bodybuilder. Questions or comments? Talk to Cassie on the FORUM or on FACEBOOK.

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