Native to the wetlands of India, Bacopa monnieri is a perennial creeping herb with small white flowers. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, where it is known as Brahmi, named after the Hindu creator god.
Bacopa is primarily of interest for its nootropic properties and the effects it may have on the brain and nervous system. Traditionally used to treat epilepsy, it has also been trialled to see if it can slow or reverse the degenerative effects of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
In the body, bacopa is known to play a role in the production of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter. It increases the growth of dendrites, nerve endings in the brain, and thereby speeds up neuron communications.
It is thought that bacopa has anti-anxiety properties, and it is also an antioxidant. Together with its potential for enhancing cognition, this useful herb is of interest to those who want to improve memory or concentration, as well as those seeking an overall brain boost.
Bacopa is also known as water hyssop. As a supplement, bacopa is typically available in capsule or tablet form.