Bacopa: benefits, side effects and drugs


Bacopa ( Bacopa monniera ) is an herb that has long been used in Ayurveda , the traditional medicine of India. Bacopa is widely touted as a remedy for memory disorders, anxiety , and thyroid health . However, not all of these benefits are supported by scientific evidence. Bacopa is also known as andri, Bacopa monnieri , grace herb, herpestis herb, Herpestis monniera , Indian wormwood, and water hyssop .

People Images / Getty Images

If you're considering trying bacopa, check with your healthcare provider first to weigh the pros and cons and see if it's right for you.

It should not be confused with gotu kola, an herb that also bears one of the other names for bakopa, brahmi.

What is Bacopa used for?

Preliminary evidence suggests that bacopa may have antioxidant properties. The herb contains saponin compounds such as bacosides and bacopazides, which can enhance brain metabolism involved in cognition, learning, and memory, and suppress inflammation in the brain.

However, to date, few studies have tested the health effects of bacopa. The research carried out has focused on treating and / or preventing various health problems.

Memory and brain function

Several studies show that bacopa can help preserve memory and improve cognitive function. In a report published in the Journal of Ethnophamacology in 2014, researchers analyzed nine previously published studies evaluating the effects of bacopa on cognitive function. In their conclusion, the researchers stated that bacopa may improve cognitive function, but large, well-designed trials are needed comparing the supplement with medications.

A previous report also looked at previously published studies on the cognitive function of bacopa and found some evidence suggesting that the herb extract may improve memory during free memory tests.

In a 2016 study involving 60 college students, researchers found that six weeks of taking Bacopa twice daily (at a dose of 300 mg per day) resulted in improved tests related to cognitive function.


Research suggests that bacopa may help alter the activity of certain enzymes involved in stress responses, suggesting that bacopa may help the brain prepare to deal with stress.

A small study , published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2014, evaluated the effects of Bacopa extract in healthy multitasking participants. The researchers found positive cognitive effects, some positive effects on mood, and reduced cortisol levels in those who took Bacopa.

Selection, preparation and storage

Bacopa comes in capsule or tablet form. You can find bacopa at your local vitamin store or online.

Currently, there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate dosage range for a supplement. Dosages generally depend on several factors, including your current health, age, and gender.

Always check with your doctor to determine if Bacopa is safe for you and to find out what dosage might be appropriate.

Possible side effects.

Bacopa can cause side effects such as:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Swelling
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue

Bacopa may also increase blood calcium levels, according to a clinical study . The herb can also affect the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA.

Interaction and contraindications.

Research is lacking on whether the herb interacts with medications, including those that act on neurotransmitters. However, interactions can occur with medications that are metabolized in the liver, Alzheimer's disease medications, anticholinergics, cholinergic medications, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, or thyroid hormones.

At this time, there are no known interactions of Bacopa with foods, other herbs, or supplements.

Note that the safety of supplements for nursing mothers, children, and people with medical conditions has not been established. Pregnant women should not take Bacopa as there is no research on its safe use during pregnancy. Animal studies show that bacopa can reduce fertility.

Product problems

The safety of additives has not been tested and due to the fact that food additives are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is stated on the product label.

For example, one study analyzed 12 samples and found lead, calcium, and chromium in all of them, but at levels below the acceptable limit. Another study found elevated levels of cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc and recommended that bacopa be tested for metals before using it in herbal supplements.

Related Articles
Thyroid adenoma: Causes, Treatment, and Diagnosis

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your throat that produces hormones affecting a number of Read more

NSAIDs and You Thyroid Function

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most frequently taken over-the-counter medications. Due to their systemic or whole body effects, it's Read more

How Doctors Are Failing Thyroid Disease Patients

The thyroid disease community has continually mentioned the lack of support they experience and the difficulty they have navigating the Read more

How the Family Deductible Works in an HDHP

If your family’s health insurance is a high-deductible health plan, your family deductible may work differently than it did when Read more