Bacopa is a genus which includes a number of aquatic plants that belong to the family of Plantaginaceae. It is also referred to as Bacopa monnieri, water hyssop, and Herpestis monniera. It is a member of the Scrophulariaceae family and is very small in size. It is a creeping herb which has numerous branches, light purple flowers, and small oblong leaves. It grows naturally in shallow water, wet soil, and marshes in tropical areas. The flowers and fruits of this plant appear only in summer and the entire plant can be used for medical reasons.
As mentioned earlier, there are many constituents which are present in this bacopa extract which are responsible for its medicinal properties. The herb consists of alkaloids, sterols, and saponins, out of which the alkaloids are the most active components. These components have their individual roles in many disorders caused in the human body and thus, are very healthy.
This herb was known as the "brahmi" in the Indian culture, and this is where this herb was first discovered. The word "brahmi" means brain tonic, as in a medicine that can heal your mind. The health benefits of bacopa extract are as follows;
- It is commonly used as a remedy to improve memory and learning abilities. It also improves one's concentration and makes the brain sharp.
- This neurological effect has led to its modern use as a natural medicine for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- It is rich in saponins, and enhances the body's antioxidant defenses. It does this by increasing the production of certain enzymes that stimulate the activity of these antioxidants.
- It helps maintain the structural and functional integrity of the membranes surrounding the mitochondria.
- It also defends the health of the gastrointestinal region by raising the mucosal defensive factors around and inside the tract.
- A type of saponin present in this extract inhibits the growth of certain parasites by interfering with its life cycle.
- Another type saponin present in this herb, reverses amnesia in rats but it has not been tested on humans as yet.
- It may help in reducing allergy symptoms and improving the heart's function.
- It also benefits the immune system and might have some anti-aging properties.
- Although it is known to benefit the brain, it is also used for correcting disorders like irritable bowels and ulcers.
- There are many natural anti-inflammatory functions which are observed in this extract.
- It helps in correcting chronic inflammation which is a part of many diseases like cancer and heart diseases.