When people think of nootropics, they often think of new and novel drugs that were created in the laboratory within the past 100 years. But some of the best, safest, and most effective nootropics are actually thousands of years old. As you may have guessed, I’m talking about Bacopa.
Bacopa is a plant-derived natural medicine that has been around for thousands of years. It has been used widely in Ayurvedic medicine to improve mental functioning, memory, and comprehension. Bacopa has also been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a number of physical conditions as well. Only recently has it started to gain popularity as a modern nootropic.
What is Bacopa?
Bacopa monnieri (also known as water hyssop) is a perennial herb that grows naturally all over the world. It’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to improve mental functioning and to treat a number of physical illnesses.
In modern times, it is used to reduce anxiety, improve memory, and as a general brain booster. It is sold in pill and powder form as a dietary supplement. Bacopa monnieri is considered to be an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens help to normalize functions in the body.
Bacopa is known to interact with the dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter systems. Dopamine is known to play an important role in focus, memory, reward, pleasure, and anxiety. Serotonin is associated with mood, appetite, and sleep. Bacopa monnieri has been shown to promote neuron communication. It increases the growth of nerve endings, enhancing the rate that the nervous system can communicate. It is also a potent antioxidant.
Benefits of Bacopa
- Reduced Anxiety
- Improved Memory
- Promotes Healthy Neurotransmitter Levels
- Increased Focus
- Overall Improvement in Cognitive Performance
How to take Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa does not work instantly. It may take several weeks before you notice the full benefits of supplementing with bacopa monnieri. Many people do report an instant reduction in anxiety after their first dose. However, it can take several weeks before you notice the full benefits.
To reduce the possibility of upset stomach, you may want to take bacopa with food. The recommended starting dose is 375 milligrams a day. Make sure to take it everyday for several weeks, to experience the full benefits.
Is Bacopa Safe?
Most people that take Bacopa monnieri don’t have any negative side effects. The most common side effect is upset stomach. This can usually be remedied by taking bacopa with food.
If you are taking prescription antidepressants, you should talk to your doctor before taking Bacopa. An unlikely, yet potentially life-threatening interaction called serotonin syndrome could occur. No known cases of serotonin syndrome have ever been reported with bacopa. But since it increases serotonin in the brain, it is theoretically possible.