Discover Bacopa: A Traditional Herb for Brain Health

Published on April 30, 2019

In the wetlands of India and other Asian countries grows a special plant known by many names: Bacopa monnieri, water hyssop, herb of grace, or Indian pennywort. This creeping succulent herb produces small, scentless white flowers. But Bacopa is more than a pretty face. It has been prized for thousands of years among practitioners of Ayurveda — the ancient Indian system of medicine — as a nootropic, or an herb that supports mental performance.*

Traditional Use of Bacopa in Ayurveda

Bacopa flower in Gaia Herbs greenhouse

Ayurveda classifies people into one of three “doshas,” or body/personality types: vata (thin, light, and airy), pitta (muscular, dense, and fiery), and kapha (ample, heavy, and earthy). Bacopa is a rare herb in that it is considered to pacify all three doshas.*

Bacopa is classified as “Medhya Rasayana,” meaning it benefits the mind.* It’s also known as “brahmi,” which comes from the name Brahma, the creator of the universe within the Hindu belief system. Brahma is the feminine aspect of Brahman, also referred to as “cosmic consciousness,” which is why Bacopa is associated with learning, memory, concentration, and knowledge.* Traditionally, people have used Bacopa to increase concentration and devotion to support a spiritual practice, and it is believed that ancient scholars utilized Bacopa as a nootropic to memorize extensive hymns and scriptures.*

Bacopa Scientific Research

As more and more people turn to herbal medicine, Bacopa monnieri is experiencing increasing popularity as a nootropic aid. Bacopa offers antioxidant support to the brain and is thought to promote a healthy, thriving mind.* Recent research suggests it may support both short- and long-term brain health for people in all stages of life.*

  • A 2014 meta-analysis of nine studies, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology and enrolling 518 volunteers, found Bacopa had the potential to support cognition, especially attention, and processing speed.*[1]
  • A 2008 double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 48 older adults published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed Bacopa supported memory and mood.* [2]
  • A 2016 review of five studies, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, concluded Bacopa supported memory and attention in children and adolescents.* [3]

Gaia Herbs' Commitment to Quality

As awareness of nootropic herbs in general and Bacopa specifically has been growing in recent years, we at Gaia Herbs were excited to add this revered herb to our line of cognitive products. But there was a problem — actually two problems. First, Bacopa was not widely available. Second, given Bacopa’s ability to thrive and absorb the moisture of its environment, it is notorious for also absorbing the pollutants of its environment, such as pesticides, microbes, and heavy metals, so commercially available Bacopa is frequently contaminated. That wouldn’t do.

When Gaia Herbs couldn’t find raw Bacopa that was up to our rigorous quality standards, we didn’t give up. Rather, we decided if the mountain wouldn’t come to us, we’d go to the mountain (the Blue Ridge Mountains, that is). We decided to grow our own Bacopa in the Gaia Herbs Greenhouse in North Carolina.

Introducing Gaia Herbs Bacopa

Gaia Herbs Grown Bacopa in Gaia Herbs Greenhouse

Gaia Herbs then began a three-year journey to cultivate some of the highest-quality Bacopa in the world, becoming one of the only U.S.-grown sources of this Ayurvedic herb. Our Bacopa is rich in phytochemicals and free from contaminants, meeting our exacting quality standards for Purity, Integrity, and Potency.

For those who want Bacopa and only Bacopa, we offer a concentrated, full-spectrum, single-herb extract to support overall cognitive health.* For those who prefer a synergistic formula, Agile Mind™ blends Bacopa with other traditional herbs such as Turmeric and Ginkgo to support healthy brain function and help maintain healthy recall.*

Learn More About Herbs

If you enjoyed learning about Bacopa, check out our Herb Reference Guide. The Herb Reference Guide gives you a deeper dive into the different herbs used in our products and you can search by name and function to learn what makes each herb unique.

[1] Kongkeaw C, et al. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;151(1):528-35.
[2] Calabrese C, et al. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Jul;14(6):707-13.
[3] Kean JD, Downey LA, Stough C. Complement Ther Med. 2016 Dec;29:56-62.