Bacopa is commonly taken as a supplement to improve memory. It is an herb indigenous to India, although it is also found in the marshlands of China, Hawaii, and North and South America. It has been a part of Indian folk medicine for thousands of years. It has many “active ingredients”, and I will attempt to discuss them and their benefits here.
One compound found in Bacopa is a class of organic chemicals called polyphenols. Among other things, polyphenols are noted for their powerful antioxidant properties. If you recall from my article on ashwagandha, an antioxidant reduces the number of free radicals in the body. Too many free radicals speeds the aging process.
Another ingredient found in bacopa is our old friend apigenin, which is also found in the chamomile plant and valerian root extract. Remember from our discussion on chamomile that apigenin is known for its mood enhancing and anxiolytic effects, due to its ability to compete with GABA and attach itself to GABA receptors in the brain. Also recall that GABA is a “feel good” neurotransmitter.
Most importantly, bacopa extract contains betulinic acid. A study conducted in 2003 revealed that betulinic acid induces programmed cell death in human melanoma cells by causing the DNA of the melanoma cells to “tangle”, rendering them useless. This suggests that Bacopa may have legitimate anti-cancer properties. Also, betulinic acid has been shown to have anti-retroviral and anti-malarial properties as well. Betulinic acid’s ability to tangle DNA strands probably explains this occurrence.
In addition to this, bacopa has been proven to sharpen mental acuity and memory in lab rats. Although this in no way proves that bacopa will have the same mental effects on humans, it is hard to ignore the implications, especially considering that bacopa has been used for thousands of years in India. The anecdotal “evidence” of bacopa’s benefits is also abundant.
When you compare brands of bacopa on Amazon, you will find that the prices are very comparable when you factor in the amount of capsules per bottle and the amount of milligrams of bacopa per capsule. Because of this, I strongly recommend Bacopa Gold brand, if for no other reason than its amount of reviews. At the time of this writing, Bacopa Gold brand has 57 reviews with an average rating of 4.5.