Laurence Lee

August 26, 2022 in Supplements

Bacopa monnieri (also known as Waterhyssop) is an ancient plant used to improve memory, reduce anxiety, and treat insomnia in the Ayurveda culture.

Over the years, the use of the ingredient has become more mainstream as supplement manufacturers worldwide added its formulas for brain aids. This officially solidified Bacopa’s status as a nootropic/cognitive enhancer. Below I expand more on the different properties of the plant:

What Is Bacopa Monnieri?

Commonly known as Brahmi in its native land, South and Southeast Asia, Bacopa is a part of the Scrophulariaceae family and has an incredibly rich history in traditional medicine.

The herb is an adaptogen due to its ability to help the body and mind adapt to changing circumstances like fluctuating stress/anxiety hormones. Compounds in the plant called bacosides fuel its adaptogen effects.  

These compounds also give the plant its other properties, which are listed below: 

Bacopa has different properties:

  • Nootropic properties: This improves cognitive function. 
  • Anti-oxidant, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties: Reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain.

Combined, these properties make Bacopa an effective nootropic agent that can enhance complete cognition.

Are There Any Nootropic Benefits in Bacopa Monnieri?

As mentioned earlier, Bacopa definitely has a high potential as a nootropic. I’ve found several studies that back its efficacy as a nootropic. I have dissected these studies below to show the profound effect the plant has on different mental capabilities:

Brain Function and Memory Retention

One of the most talked about benefits of Bacopa use is its ability to expand memory banks and enhance brain function. Although some scientists believe that there isn’t enough data supporting this claim. I found compelling evidence proving that the ingredient improves working memory while preventing cognitive decline.

The evidence from the meta-analysis concluded that Bacopa has a high potential to improve cognition without causing adverse effects. Another study showed that a 300mg dose of Bacopa daily improved overall brain function, especially improving memory recall.

Reduces Anxiety and Promotes Sleepiness

Bacopa alters the activity of certain hormones involved in stress response, which may help users deal with stress and anxiety more efficiently.

I reviewed a study that proved this claim. It showed solid evidence that the ingredient enhanced the mental capabilities of healthy individuals doing multiple takes. The evidence showed:

  • Reduction in cortisol levels (low cortisol levels = low stress and anxiety)
  • Positive cognitive effects
  • Positive mood effects

Although this ingredient is known to help and improve other facets of health, I feel like these two benefits best depict its effect on the human body. It also is the most fitting benefit for those who want to painlessly improve their mental stance.

Pros And Cons

The pros and cons of Bacopa are as follows:


  • Improves learning and memory retention along with increasing attention
  • Reduces anxiety, stress, depression, and mild sleep issues
  • Anti-inflammatory/anti-oxidant properties, which improve brain health


  • It cannot be taken by those who are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • It does not taste pleasant and can cause nausea or an upset stomach
  • Possible interactions with other medications, such as the anti-depressant amitriptyline.

What Are the Side Effects?

Bacopa has a good tolerability and safety profile which supports both long and short-term use of the ingredient. However, as with any natural herb or supplement, side effects are not completely absent. There is the possibility that mild side effects present themselves at the beginning of use. 

These side effects include:

  • Increased bowel movements
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

The above negative effects usually disappear after the body gets used to the compound in the circulatory system. To avoid other possible side effects, I suggest that users follow their recommended dosage and usage schedule to ensure that the body gets the required amount of the ingredient for cognitive enhancement.

About the author 

Laurence Lee

Lee is a neuroscientist who has dedicated his career to understanding the inner workings of the brain. He has seen firsthand the power of these supplements in improving cognitive function and believes that more people should be aware of their benefits. In his articles, Lee shares his extensive knowledge on the subject and provides unbiased reviews of different products.

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