Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri                                     

Common name: Bacopa, Brahmi

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Parts used:  Aerial


  • Steroidal & Tripterpene saponins (bacosides & bacosine, jujubogenin)
  • Alkaloids (brahmine & herpestatine)
  • Betulinic acid
  • Phytosterols (stigmastarol & beta-sitosterol)

Medicinal actions: 

  • Adaptogen
  • Alterative
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Bitter
  • Cardiotonic
  • Cognition & memory enhancer
  • Nervine Tonic & Sedative

Medicinal use:

  • Used for more than 3000 years in Ayurvedic medicine for increasing brain function, or promoting longevity. Has a reputation for enhancing circulation to the brain, thereby increasing short and long-term memory, improving concentration, mental performance & cognitive function as a whole.
  • Used in disorders of the nervous system such as insomnia, anxiety, stress, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Taken internally or applied topically for rheumatic conditions, joint pain and neuralgias.


  • Various mechanisms of action for cognitive effects have been proposed, including acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition, β-amyloid reduction, antioxidant neuroprotection, neurotransmitter modulation (Ach),  5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT], dopamine, choline acetyltransferase activation and increased cerebral blood flow.
  • Steroidal & Triterpenoid saponins (bacosides) increase protein kinase activity, protein synthesis in the long-term memory brain regions, and are responsible for cognitive effects and enhanced nerve impulse transmission (balances GABA and glutamate levels in the brain). Has protective effects against β-amyloid toxicity and beneficial effects on cognitive performance.
  • Bacosine has analgesic effects.
  • The alkaloid brahmine is toxic in very large doses.


  • Tincture: (1:2, 25%), 5-13 ml QD, 90 ml/week.
  • Whole herb: 5-15 grams a day, divided
  • Standardized extract (20% bacosides A & B): 200-400 mg QD.


  • May cause gastric irritation of the gastric mucosa membranes and reflux due to saponin content.


  • None known.


  • Potential interaction when orally co-administered with drugs metabolized by CYP1A2, CYP3A4, CYP2C9 and CYP2C19.


  • Find a complete list of references for this monograph as well as images and a review of its evidence based applications in Dr. Marciano’s Herbal Textbook.

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