Bacopa (Bacopa monniera), a traditional herb used in Ayurvedic medicine, Bacopa is a great neurotonic, adaptogen, tranquilizing, memory and learning enhancing, cerebral activator herb. It has a beneficial action on the brain, memory, mental deficiency, Alzheimer’s disease, learning skills, anxiety, depression, stress, and ADHD.
Bacopa has been shown to have anti-anxiety effects in animal research. Scientists have reported similar findings in human research, reporting that a syrup containing an extract of dried bacopa herb reduced anxiety in patients with anxiety neurosis. A study at the School of Biophysical Science and Electrical Engineering in Australia found that bacopa extract reduced general feelings of anxiety in healthy adults as compared to placebo. It is believed that part of the medicinal action of bacopa lies in its ability to improve cognitive function while also soothing restlessness and nervousness.
In a double blind randomized placebo controlled research study in Australia, at University of Wollongong, this ayurvedic botanical was found to be effective in tests for retention of new information.
In another similar study, the effects of bacopa were documented for several weeks and various memory functions were tested with levels of anxiety. The study found that the herb decreased the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information, verbal learning rate and memory consolidation.
Research on rats as models of clinical anxiety showed the anxiolytic activity of bacopa as comparable to Lorazepam. Additionally, there were no side effects like that of Lorazepam, like amnesia. Rather the becopa produced a memory enhancing effect.
Another one month study on diagnosed anxiety neurosis patients found significant reduction in anxiety symptoms, level of disability and fatigue. There was additional increase in immediate memory, decreased respiratory rate and decreased SBP or systolic blood pressure.
Researchers believe that, among its other mechanisms, Bacopa meditates the GABAergic system. Gamma-aminobutyric acid is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that has been shown to possess anticonvulsive, antinociceptive (prevention of pain due to hypersensitive nerve endings), locomotor, and sedative effects.