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Bacopa Monnieri Offers Protection Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease of the elderly. The rapid increase in its incidence has necessitated development of newer drugs. Ayurvedic herbal medications are increasingly researched due to their biosafety profile and usefulness in cognitive impairment. In this article, we critically reviewed one such Medhya Rasayana (nootropic drug) Brahmi-derived from extract of Bacopa monnieri (EBm).

Studies have shown that EBm promotes free radical scavenger mechanisms and protects cells in prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and striatum against cytotoxicity and DNA damage implicated in AD. It also reduces lipoxygenase activity reducing lipid peroxidation, increases glutathione peroxidase and chelates iron. Administration of EBm was seen to protect the cholinergic neurons and reduce anticholinesterase activity comparable to donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine. It also reduces hippocampal β-amyloid deposition and stress-induced hippocampal damage. The neuroprotective effect of EBm is also due to nitric oxide-mediated cerebral vasodilation. EBm improved the total memory score and maximum improvement was seen in logical memory and paired associate learning in humans and reversed phenytoin-induced memory impairment in experimental model. EBm has not shown any serious clinical, neurological, hematological complications, or vital organs damage in experimental studies.

Amnesia and cognitive defects are cardinal symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) []. In many studies conducted on humans and animals, Brahmi has shown to improve memory performance and cognitive function. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted in Lucknow in India, 35 subjects aged above 55 years were subjected to Wechsler Memory Scale for comparison between placebo and EBm treatment groups. Subjects were tested on various sub-tests like general information, orientation, mental control, logical memory, digit forward, digit backward, visual reproduction, and paired associated learning. Scores were given to each sub-test and total memory score was calculated by adding the score of all subtests. The test results showed that there was significant improvement in total memory score of EBm-treated patients vs. placebo-treated patients. At 8 and 12 weeks after initiation of trial, maximum increment was seen after 8th week with maximum improvement seen in logical memory and paired associate learning sub-tests []. This study suggests that EBm can be useful agent in treatment of age-associated memory impairment.

In another study double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study efficacy of Brahmi as a memory enhancer on chronic dosing in 76 adults who were given Brahmi 300 mg/day and placebo. Subjects were tested for tasks of attention, memory, and psychological state at baseline. The results observed at 6 and 12 weeks after the trial demonstrated an increase in information retaining capacity over time. This was due to decreased forgetfulness as opposed to increased procurement because Brahmi did not show any beneficial effect on learning trials []. In a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial of 36 children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, improvement in logical memory was demonstrated []. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted in Australia on 81 subjects aged above 55 years who were given EBm in the dose of 300 mg/day for 12 weeks, remarkable improvement was demonstrated in verbal learning, memory acquisition, and delayed recall [].

Kumar et al. [] investigated the effect of EBm on cold stress induced neurodegeneration in hippocampus of rats. Histologically, rat brains were divided into 4 groups: group 1 consisted of rats which were kept in ideal laboratory conditions, group 2 rats were given EBm in the dose 40 mg/kg, group 3 rats were forced to swim in the cold water (temperature: 18 ± 2°C) for 1 month which generated cold water swim stress in their body, and group 4 were given cold water swim stress for 1 month which was followed by treatment by EBm for about 1 month in the dose of 40 mg/kg. Histophotometric study of hippocampus was done in which diameter of cells, total number of cells in the square, and packing density of cells were taken into consideration. Group 3 cells showed decreased diameter of cells, number of cells per square, and packing density of cells which was indicative of stress-induced damage while group 4 cells showed increased cell diameter, number of cells per square, and cell packing density. Group 4 rats showed the above parameters comparable to that of group 1 rats. This study demonstrated that EBm has got important therapeutic effect in abolishing stress-induced hippocampal damage.

In an experimental model by Saini et al. [], an intracerebroventricular injection of the drug colchicine was given to cause oxidative stress and increased lipid peroxidation, which resulted in significant memory loss. This was demonstrated by significant reduction in retention in elevated plus maze test. However, on treatment with EBm colchicine, administered animals showed a significant increase in retention time suggestive of cognitive improvement.

Antiepileptic drug phenytoin causes cognitive impairment on regular use in many patients. Using this principle, phenytoin was given to experimental rats in a dose of 25 mg/kg for 7 days resulting in significant cognitive impairment in the rats. Administration of EBm caused significant reversal of phenytoin-induced memory impairment [].

Benzodiazepines are known to cause dementia by their GABAergic action and by interfering with long-term potentiation. Diazepam was administered in a dose of 1.75 mg/kg to induce amnesia studied using the Morris Water Maze Test in mice. This was reversed by EBm given orally in a dose of 120 mg/kg [].

In a study conducted by Kishore and Singh [], it was found that Brahmi attenuated scopolamine, sodium nitrite and BN52021 (platelet activating factor antagonist) induced amnesia. The possible mechanism was by improving acetylcholine levels in mice in the above setting and was observed by improved performance on the Morris Water Maze Test. In this study, bacoside treatment decreased escape latency time which indicates that bacosides have predominant action on attenuating anterograde amnesia.

#increasedattention #betterrecall #healthycoffee #dollarcoffeeclub


Bacopa Monnieri and Epilepsy Study

ABSTRACT:

Bacopa monnieri is an outstanding nervine tonic used for raising the mental performance.

It helps in concentration, comprehension, recall and alertness, Brahmi is particularly beneficial as it aids in categorizing information in brain and its subsequent expression.

Bacopa is also called as a natural antioxidant which may give details its neuroprotective role seen in the memory centers of the brain.

Scientific research on B. monnieri revealed its anticonvulsant, antioxidant, memory and cognition improving properties.

These are transient behavioral abnormalities and cognitive impairments in epileptic patients.

During long-term treatment, epileptic drugs are creating cognitive and memory deficit in patients. B. monnieri can be used as a herbal medicine for ameliorating the memory and cognitive impairments during epilepsy.

The present review summarizes information concerning botany, chemistry and beneficial effect of Bacopa monnieri on epilepsy associated behavioral deficits.

Click to view the study in its entirety.


Bacopa: The Brain-Boosting Alternative

What if I told you there was a plant used to treat memory and brain-related disorder for thousands of years — a plant thought to be so beneficial to the mind that it’s been a staple of traditional Ayurvedic medicine in India since seemingly forever? You’d be excited about its possible application, right?

Then you’re in luck, because bacopa checks off both these boxes and then some. Also known as Brahmi, bacopa is used to treat a broad range of mind-related health concerns, including Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, anxiety, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, epilepsy, and as a general tonic to fight stress. Best of all, it has far less severe side effects than the dangerous psychotropic drugs often prescribed today.

Consider these findings from a 2014 ADHD study in Advances in Mind-Body Medicine.advances1

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a clinically heterogeneous disorder of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity or difficulty in controlling behavior. Psychostimulant medications remain the mainline treatment for children with ADHD; however, the average response rate to these medications is 70%, and up to 30% of children do not respond to these medications or are unable to tolerate such potential adverse effects as nausea, insomnia, and weight loss.

The study investigated the effectiveness of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract (SBME) in ameliorating the severity of the symptoms of ADHD in children. Thirty-one children were participants in the trial. They were 6-12 y of age, with an age of onset of ADHD before 7 y of age, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for ADHD. The children received SBME at a dose of 225 mg/d for a period of 6 mo. SBME significantly reduced the subtests scores of ADHD symptoms, except for social problems.

  • The symptom scores for restlessness were reduced in 93% of children
  • Improvement in self-control was observed in 89% of the children.
  • The attention-deficit symptoms were reduced in 85% of children.
  • Similarly, symptom scores for learning problems, impulsivity, and psychiatric problems were reduced for 78%, 67%, and 52% of children, respectively.
  • It was observed that 74% of the children exhibited up to a 20% reduction
  • 26% of children showed between a 21% and a 50% reduction in the total subtests scores.

Standardized extract of B monnieri was found to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of ADHD and was well-tolerated by the children.

Great news, the benefits of consuming Bacopa Monneri don’t end there. Check out these additional, lesser-known benefits.

Adaptogenic Stress Reducer
It’s been shown that up to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints — 90 percent! (3) Crazy, I know, but not hard to believe. Stress — especially chronic stress — does terrible things to our minds and bodies, and general stress reduction should always be a top priority for anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle.
Bacopa extract has actually been shown to work as a natural stress reliever by helping our bodies better handle or adapt to our daily stressors. An animal study conducted at the Central Drug Research Institute in India showed that a standardized extract ofBacopa monniera successfully guarded against acute and chronic stress. More specifically, it reduced damaging stomach ulcer and adrenal activity. The study concluded that bacopa possesses a potent adaptogenic activity. (4)

Anti-Anxiety & Antidepressant
It’s probably not too surprising that just as it reduces stress, this beneficial plant also canreduce anxiety and depression. Animal research published by the University of Michigan Health System shows the positive brain effects of bacopa, including reduction of both depression and anxiety. These very positive effects on the nervous system have biochemically been attributed to an enhancement of the effects of the neurotransmittersacetylcholine and, possibly, serotonin or GABA. (5)

Memory Improvement
A small, double-blind, 12-week study conducted at the Neuropsychology Laboratory at the School of Biophysical Science and Electrical Engineering in Australia had volunteers take 300 milligrams of bacopa daily while other volunteers received a placebo. Prior to the study commencing, researchers tested all volunteers on visual information processing, memory and speed of information processing.
The tests were repeated five and 12 weeks after the study began. A significant improvement among the volunteers in the bacopa group was found compared to those in the placebo group, leading researchers to conclude that it “may improve higher order cognitive processes that are critically dependent on the input of information from our environment such as learning and memory.” (6)

Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia Treatment
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that progressively causes memory loss, dementiaand early mortality. Natural Alzheimer’s treatment can include supplementation with bacopa. According to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, it might hold promise for preventing the dementia (decline in mental ability severe enough to affect daily life) associated with Alzeimer’s. Studies in rodents and test tubes suggest that it has biological effects that might protect against brain aging and/or dementia, but we don’t yet know if these effects are the same for humans or if the effects are strong enough to be clinically relevant. One encouraging human study showed that in elderly people with memory complaints, bacopa improved scores on tests of attention and verbal memory when used for three months at 450 milligrams per day. (7)

Epilepsy Treatment
Seizures occur in the body when your brain cells, which communicate through electrical signals, send out the wrong signals. Generally, several seizures are needed before there is a diagnosis of epilepsy. One preliminary trial in India found that an extract of bacopa reduced the frequency of epileptic seizures in a small group of people. However, another similar preliminary trial gave inconclusive results. Controlled research is needed to properly evaluate whether bacopa is helpful for epilepsy, but there is hope that it could benefit those who suffer from seizure disorders like epilepsy. (8)

Chronic Pain Minimizer
Chronic pain is a huge health concern and health cost around the world today. Sadly, 77 percent of people with chronic pain also have some degree of medically treatable depression. Bacopa is well-documented to be a safe and well-tolerated herbal therapy for pain management in multiple clinical trials including various age groups.
A study published in Current Medicinal Chemistry showed that Bacopa monnieri not only has strong antidepressant effects, but it has pain-reducing capabilities comparable to morphine. The study also indicated that this herbal treatment offers protective benefits for organs commonly affected by opiate toxicity like the brain, kidneys and heart. (9)

Blood Pressure Regulator
A recent animal study showed that bacopa might increase the human body’s utilization of nitric oxide and encourage vascular muscle function, two benefits that positively influence normal blood pressure. The Journal of Ethnopharmacology study concludes that some Bacopa monnieri ingredients could be effective at reducing high blood pressure. (10)

So how does Bacopa Monneri stack up again one of the most commonly prescribed medications Adderall? You be the judge…

Bacopa vs. Adderall

Adderall is a form of amphetamine legally used in a limited number of countries, primarily the U.S. and Canada, for the treatment of ADHD, narcolepsy and depression. It’s a common drug pushed to treat ADHD, but it comes with some unhealthy side effects that are much more dangerous and common than those of bacopa.

Bacopa Prosscreen-shot-2016-09-15-at-9-20-09-am

  • Not addictive
  • Improves memory and cognitive function
  • Shown to improve anxiety and depression
  • Shown to support focus, attention, learning and memory
  • Shown to enhance brain communication
  • Positively regulates dopamine and serotonin

Bacopa Cons

  • Can cause upset stomach if taken without food
  • For cognitive benefits it can take time to work — studies show improvements are much better at eight 12 weeks than they are at four to six weeks
  • Its powder form has a very bitter taste

Adderall Pros

  • When used short term, Adderall can have the positive effect of counteracting symptoms of ADHD by increasing availability of certain neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, which boosts alertness, attention and energy levelsscreen-shot-2016-09-15-at-9-19-54-am
  • Increases the heart rate and the flow of blood to the muscles, making the user feel more energized
  • Can cause feelings of energy and invigoration, similar to the high experienced by cocaine users
  • Can also create rewarding feelings of euphoria, but this has led to it becoming popular as a recreational drug

Adderall Cons

  • Adderall can be highly addictive and dangerous to those who abuse it
  • Even when taken as prescribed, Adderall can have several negative effects in the short term, including:
  • Appetite suppression and unhealthy weight loss screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-9-20-24-am
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Potentially dangerous cardiac issues

Bacopa Plant Origin & Nutrition Facts
Bacopa is a genus of 70–100 aquatic plants belonging to the family Plantaginaceae. It’s native to India, where it grows in marshy regions. In the West, it’s a water plant often found in aquariums. Bacopa species are found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world,
particularly the Americas. Most parts of the plant have been used traditionally, but modern
preparations are extracts of the stem and leaves. The type traditionally used in herbal medicines is Bacopa monniera or Bacopa monnieri. It’s also commonly called Brahmi and water hyssop as well.
The leaves contain saponins, including bacosides that are believed to be responsible for the therapeutic properties of the herb. Studies have shown that both purified bacosides and extracts of bacopa standardized for bacosides have been found to enhance several aspects of mental function and learning ability.

Bacopa History & Interesting Facts
Since at least the sixth century A.D., bacopa has been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a diuretic and tonic for the nervous system as well as the heart. (14) In Indian and Ayurvedic medicines, it’s typically known as “Brahmi” after Brahmā, the creator god of the Hindu pantheon. In Ayurveda, pitta energy is considered the regulator of heat, energy, excitement and passion. A pitta imbalance is believed to be reflected in an inflamed, overheated, over-agitated,condition of mind and/or body. Brahmi is known as a soother of pitta imbalances. In India, where bacopa has been revered for centuries, newborn babies are consecrated with it in the hope that it will open up the pathway to the intellect. In 1998, the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was given jointly to Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro and Ferid Murad for their discoveries of nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system. It’s been said that the Nobel Prize winners used bacopa in their award-winning experiments.

Final Thoughts on Bacopa
Bacopa has been a star of traditional Ayurvedic healing for centuries. Now modern-day research continues to confirm bacopa’s abilities to improve and positively change not just mental abilities like memory and learning, but also mental health like depression and anxiety. ADHD is on the rise globally and so is the use of conventional treatment like the drug Adderral, but bacopa extract is a natural substance that has the ability to significantly help ADHD without all of the scary side effects of conventional treatment. And don’t forget, in addition to treating ADHD, bacopa is an adaptogenic stress reducer, anti-anxiety and antidepressant agent, memory enhancer, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia treatment, epilepsy treatment, chronic pain minimizer, and blood pressure regulator — making it a safe, healthy alternative to remedy and/or prevent a host of health issues.


Brain-boosting herbs for better memory

Memory loss and other cognitive conditions are issues that a large number of people start to worry about as they age. A lot of us are conditioned by the media to believe that these problems are natural and inevitable consequences of aging, something that happens to us regardless of how well we look after ourselves.

Of course, this is not true. Our brains are capable of creating new brain cells at any given age, and diet plays an essential role in how often, and how effectively, they can do so. Although most natural wholefoods contain properties that can help keep our minds in good shape, studies show that the three herbs listed below are particularly effective in this regard.

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa monnieri, or brahmi, is a thick-leafed herb native to the wetlands of East and Southeast Asia, and is well-known for its brain-boosting properties. It is particularly venerated in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is regularly prescribed for numerous cognitive conditions such as brain fog, poor memory and concentration, and even depression.

A large number of studies confirm that Bacopa is good for our minds. For example, a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2012 found that it could “improve attention, cognitive processing, and working memory partly via the suppression of AChE activity.” (1) Another study, featured in Neuropsychopharmacology, discovered that Bacopa could improve memory and recall abilities. (2)

Like most brain-boosting foods, Bacopa monnieri can take a while to work. Taking 150 milligrams of it three times a day for a two-month period, for instance, will provide better results than taking the same amount of it over a one-month period.

Ginkgo Biloba

There’s a good reason why Ginkgo biloba supplements are one of the most popular herbal remedies in Europe and the United States: the leaves of this unique tree, which is one of the longest-living species in the world, is a fantastic mental aid. For example, a study published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology in 2014 showed that Ginkgo extracts could “improve working memory function in middle-aged individuals.” (3) A study featured in the September 2013 edition of Toxicology and Industrial Health even found that Ginkgo, along with vitamin C, could correct mental deficits caused by chronic exposure to fluoride. (4)

Taking between 240 and 600 milligrams of Ginkgo biloba up to three times a day is optimum for correcting memory-related issues. As with Bacopa, positive effects don’t usually manifest immediately; give it at least a month.

Gotu Kola

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is a member of the parsley family that grows in the Himalayas. It was (and still is) used to treat countless medical conditions in India and China, including varicose veins, skin lesions, insomnia and blood circulation. However, like Bacopa and Ginkgo, gotu is best-known for its positive impact on our minds.

For example, a study published in Ayu in 2013 found that gotu kola, along with other herbs within the Medhya rasayana group, are “quick in action and bring about improvement in memory faster when compared with Yogic practices.” (5) A review published one year earlier also noted that gotu has neuroprotective properties and was reported to treat deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and oxidative stress. (6)

Taking one or two 500 milligram capsules of gotu kola a day is a great way to boost our memory naturally and without side effects. Alternatively, gotu can be consumed in tea form. Its bitterness can be masked by adding some honey or lemon.

Sources for this article include:

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
(4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
(5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
(6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Please click here to link to original Natural News article.


The use of Brahmi for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children

(1) Background on Brahmi:

Brahmi – History and Background:  

The name, Brahmi, is thought to be derived from “Brahma,” or creator. Since the brain is considered to be the centre of creative activity, the herb which best improves the brain’s functioning was called Brahmi. Traditionally it was used to anoint newborns, in order to improve their intelligence and “‘open the gate of Brahma.’”

This plant is referred to in Sanskrit as Brahmi and in Latin as Bacopa monniera-Folium. It is also known as Jalabrahmi, or “water brahmi.” It is a perennial herb found in wet and marshy regions throughout India. Sebastian Pole described that Brahmi is a water-loving herb that is a “creeping annual that spreads along banks of rivers as creativity and awareness spread throughout us.” Bacopa monniera is the authentic brahmi and is preferred by vaidyas for treatment. Brahmi is often confused with gotu kola, which is also known as brahmi in North India. Gotu kola’s other name is mandukaparni.

The use of Bacopa in Ayurvedic medicine is reported from some sources to date as far back as 3000 BCE 2 and by other sources to approximately the 6th century AD. In the classical Ayurvedic text of Caraka, it is classified as medhya-rasayan (medhya: memory enhancing and rasayan: rejuvenating). Caraka described the efficacy of bacopa in treating old age and age-related diseases, promoting memory and intellect, increasing the life span, providing nourishment and improving clarity of voice, complexion and luster.  In the Susruta-Samhita, it describes that a three week course of bacopa juice will produce photographic memory and a “person can retain hundred words uttered only twice daily.”

The Properties of Brahmi:

Brahmi has a rasa that is bitter and sweet, virya that is cooling, and vipaka that is sweet. It has a neutralising effect on vata, pitta, and kapha, but in excess can increase vata. It has an affinity for all tissues, especially plasma, blood, and nerve, and for the circulatory, digestive, nervous, and excretory srotas.

The Actions of Brahmi:  

It’s Ayurvedic actions include calming vata and redirecting the flow of vata downwards. It’s biomedical actions include that it is a sedative, nervine, cardiotonic, antispasmodic, anticonvulsant, and anti-inflammatory. Brahmi is recognised by Ayurvedic practitioners as an adaptogen, an agent that naturally increases one’s ability to tolerate physical and emotional stress. It is the “main revitalizing herb for the nerves and brain cells.”

Brahmi is one of the main brain tonics used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is regarded as an herb that builds and improves mental performance, improves long- and short-term memory, increases intelligence, increases longevity, decreases senility and aging, relaxes the whole nervous system, increases circulation to the brain, and stimulates the cerebrovascular system. Brahmi has traditionally been used to improve mental capacity and memory in children. It is attributed with improving learning ability and concentration. It is used for the following disorders:  mental disorders, epilepsy, mania and hysteria. It improves the quality of sadhaka pitta, thus influencing one’s consciousness. It can be used externally as a head rub for headaches, to clear the mind, as a brain tonic, and to help with hair growth.

Brahmi is considered to be a rejuvenative, particularly to the nervous system. It strengthens the mind and promotes energy as well as sleep; it is often used to treat insomnia. Brahmi is used to help with recovery from exhaustion, stress, and vata imbalance. It is indicated for all conditions with deficient majja dhatu, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, autism, depression, and drug abuse.

Brahmi is a circulatory stimulant and it accelerates wound healing. It fortifies the immune system by both cleaning and nourishing it. It is very helpful for skin conditions where there is an underlying imbalance in the nervous system. It is also a strong blood purifier and is used for chronic skin conditions, such as leprosy, syphilis, eczema, and psoriasis. It is helpful for intermittent or periodic fevers, like malaria. It strengthens the adrenal processes involved in carbohydrate metabolism.

Brahmi helps to relieve tension throughout the body, so it is good for constipation and muscle tightness due to stress, as well as menstrual pain. Brahmi leads pitta out of the mutravaha srota, thus it can be used to cool the heat of cystitis and the pain of dysuria. It can be used externally as a medicated oil for joint pain.

The Chemistry of Brahmi: 

The active constituents of Brahmi are derived from the leaves and are called steroidal saponins, which include the bacosides, the primary active principles.

There is now good evidence that bacosides have cognitive and nootropic effects via multiple mechanisms. This includes activation of the serotonergic and cholinergic systems and enhancement of synaptic plasticity. Bacosides have been found to enhance the metabolism of neurotransmitters (chemicals that send messages between neurons), thus increasing the functioning of the brain.  They have been found to have anti-oxidant and mitochondrial stabilisation activities. They have been attributed with enhancing nerve impulse transmission, thereby strengthening memory and general cognition. Its anti-oxidant activity appears to result from direct free radical scavenging as well as increasing endogenous antioxidant systems in the brain and liver.

Precautions:

Bacopa has been shown to significantly elevate thyroxine levels, thus caution is advised in hyperthyroidism. Brahmi may cause gastrointestinal symptoms in people with:  coeliac disease, fat malabsorption syndrome, vitamins A/D/E/K deficiency, dyspepsia, or pre-existing cholestasias due to it’s high saponin content.  There are no known drug-herb interactions.  However, it is recommended to use caution when combining with antiepileptic and antidepressant medications.

Brahmi Dosage and it’s Use in Formulas:

The standard dose is 300 mg per day, with the total active component (bacosides) content being 55% of the extract by weight. Bacopa is fat soluble and requires a lipid transporter to be absorbed, thus it is recommended to take with a meal or some sort of animal fat.

For formulas, it is recommended that Brahmi is combined with digestive stimulants (e.g. ginger) due to its cold nature and appetite suppressing effects. If there is high kapha as well, it is recommended to combine it with Vacha to enhance the mind-opening effects. To increase Brahmi’s sedative actions, it is recommended to combine with gotu kola, jatamamsi, and tagarah. For a nervine tonic, it can be combined with ashwagandha, kushta, kappikachhu, and shankhapushpi. For skin conditions with heat, Brahmi can be used with neem, manjishta, and turmeric. To relax the intestines, it can be combined with cumin, fennel, and ajwain.

Sebastian Pole describes combining cloves (2 parts), cardamom (1 part), pippali (1 part), brahmi (10 parts), and 40 grams of sugar to create a brahmi rasayana for anti-inflammatory and nerve tonifying actions. It is often combined with ghee or milk to increase its tonifying, nervine, and pitta-cooling effects.

II. Background on Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

ADHD – Western Definition:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) manifests in childhood with symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention. The symptoms affect cognitive, academic, behavioral, emotional, and social functioning.  The reported prevalence of ADHD in children varies from 2 to 18 percent.  The prevalence in school-age children is estimated to be between 8 and 11 percent, making it one of the most common disorders of childhood.  ADHD is more common in boys than girls (male to female ratio 4:1 for hyperactive type and 2:1 for inattentive type).  According to the 2011 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), among those with current ADHD, 69 percent were being treated with medication at the time of the survey.  Children and adolescents with ADHD often have comorbid psychiatric disorders, including oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, and learning disabilities.  Estimates for the coexistence of learning disorders and ADHD range from 20 to 60 percent.  Neuropsychologic testing suggests that patients with ADHD have impaired executive functions (processes involved in planning, including abstract reasoning, mental flexibility, working memory) and/or difficulties with response inhibition.19  Medications combined with behavioral/psychologic interventions is the Western medical recommendation for most school-aged children (≥6 years) and adolescents with ADHD. Stimulant medications are first-line agents.  There are many potential side effects of stimulants, including:  decreased appetite, poor growth, dizziness, insomnia/ nightmares, mood lability, rebound, tics, and psychosis.20  Many are seeking alternatives for treatment without the associated side effects of Western medications.

ADHD from an Ayurvedic Perspective:

In Ayurveda, ADHD as an entity is not described.  However, there are some references to abnormal behaviour that can be correlated with ADHD.   The Caraka Samahita refers to the following: vitiation of dhee (rational thinking), dhriti (intellect/ retaining power of the mind), and smriti (memory).  This causes abnormal conduct leading to “improper contact of the senses with their objectives.”  This results in inattention, overactivity, and impulsivity, characteristic of ADHD.

The Kaumarabhrtya is one of the eight branches of Ayurveda, specifically dealing with paediatrics. This text refers to ADHD as a Vata Pitta predominant condition, with various causes, including genetics and environment. “Children are basically alpasatwa (weak mind/ psyche) in nature. In the presence of Suklaartava Dushti (vitiation/pollution of shukra or reproductive channels) or Garbhaja Kaaranas (causes in the womb) supplemented by an appropriate environment favouring vata pitta aggravation, the child becomes prone to a number of clinical conditions, one of which is ADHD.”   Vata symptoms include:  emotional instability, tics/ convulsions, echolalia, talkativeness, aggravated symptoms at the end of digestion, and lean body mass index.  Pitta symptoms include:  prominent anger, disruptive, “upasaya with cool articles,” self-ruining behaviour, increased surface temperature, and discolouration of eye/ sclera/ skin.”

Gupta and Singh describe that there are two subdoshas involved in smriti (memory):  prana vata (controls the brain, the mind, and sensory perception) and sadhaka pitta (controls emotions and their effects on the heart’s functions).  Gupta and Singh propose that since Ayurveda points towards these two subdoshas in the etiology of ADHD, then medhya drugs (nootropic herbs – substances which improve one or more aspects of mental function) and Vata pacifying herbs are the main line of treatment.  This includes nootropic, cognitive, learning aid, and neuroprotective herbs, such as Brahmi, Mandukaparni, Glycyrrhiza glabra, N. jatamansi, Ashwagandha, T cordifolia, and W. somnifera.  After a review of current research, they concluded that Brahmi, Mandukaparni, and Ashwagandha are “proved very potent to control inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and distractibility, though further clinical studies are required to establish it in scientific world.”

III. Review of Research on Brahmi as a Potential Treatment for ADHD and Associated Symptoms:

Research Studies on the Effects of Brahmi/ Bacosides on the Central Nervous System, including Learning/ Cognition:  

Brahmi and its constituents, Bacosides, have been found to have central nervous system effects, including increasing learning ability and cognitive skills, in several animal and human studies.

Animal Studies:

A study on mice using an extract of Bacopa monnieri suggested that it had a stimulant effect on the central nervous system as well as anti-stress and adaptogenic activity.

In one study, maze learning (learning performance) of rats was improved when they were treated with alcoholic extracts of Bacopa monniera.  The active constituents were saponins, bacosides A&B.

In another study, the effects of an alcoholic extract of Bacopa monnieri on newly acquired learning responses (brightness discriminating, condition avoidance, and continuous avoidance) were studied.  On the brightness discrimination task, there was a significant improvement in the treatment group compared to placebo:  they learned faster,  retained more of what they learned, and remembered it longer.  On the condition avoidance task, the treatment group showed a significantly shorter reaction time than controls.  On the continuous avoidance task, the treatment group performed better than controls.  It was concluded that Bacopa can improve the performance of rats in various learning situations.   The chemicals responsible for these effects were identified as a mixture of bacosides A and B.  These substances were found to enhance protein activity and protein synthesis in the hippocampus,  the part of the brain responsible for long-term memory.

In a review of the current animal research, it was concluded that a Bacopa extract aids memory and learning in a wide variety of responses, both in negative reinforcement (shock-motivated brightness discrimination reaction, conditioned and continuous avoidance responses) as well as positive reinforcement (conditioned taste aversion). It was found to aid responses susceptible to the effects of punishment as well as reward. It was concluded that a Bacopa extract is significantly effective in increasing  memory in a wide variety of responses.

Human Studies – Typically Developing Children:

In 1987, a single-blind trial was conducted in India, administering Bacopa (1.05 grams/ day for three months of the dried plant, extracted into a syrup form) to 40 children ages 6-8 years. Maze learning, immediate memory and perception, and reaction/performance times all improved. No side-effects were seen.

In a small double blind randomized study, 36 normal children 8 -10 years old were either treated with 50 mg of Bacopa two times per day or placebo for 3 months.  Results showed significant improvements in:  sentence repetition, logical memory, and pair associative learning (matching related items) in all children treated with Bacopa.

In another study, 50 normal school age children were split into two groups, with half receiving Bacopa and the other half placebo. At the end of the trial, their attention, concentration, and memory were tested.  Those in the Bacopa treatment group were found to have significantly improved mean reaction time (auditory and visual).

Research Studies on the Effects of a Bacopa Extract: 

 

ADHD Studies in Children using a Bacopa Extract or Formulas containing Brahmi:

Studies conducted by the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) in India using CDRI 08 have found reductions in hyperactivity and inattention against baseline readings in ADHD diagnosed children.  In one double blind, placebo controlled clinical trial at CDRI, only those children diagnosed as having ADHD were included. The treatment group received CDRI for 12 weeks daily; from the 13th to the 16th week all the children were given placebo only. They were evaluated initially on day 0, and then at 4, 8, 12 weeks of drug administration. The last evaluation was done 4 weeks after stopping the medication, when all children were given placebo only. The tests administered were personal information, mental control, sentence repetition, logical memory, word recall (both meaningful and non-meaningful words), digit span, picture recall, delayed response, and paired associate learning. Significant to highly significant results were obtained on all the parameters after 4–8 weeks.

A double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial of 36 children with diagnosed ADHD was conducted over a 16-week period.  Nineteen children received an extract of bacopa standardized to contain 20% bacosides at a dosage of 50 mg twice daily for 12 weeks, and 17 subjects were given a placebo.  Active drug treatment was followed by 4 weeks of placebo and the children were evaluated on numerous cognitive function tests at baseline, 4, 8, 12 and 16 weeks. A significant benefit was observed in the treatment group at 12 weeks, evidenced by improvement in sentence repetition, logical memory and paired associated learning tasks. Evaluation showed that these improvements were maintained at 16 weeks after 4 weeks of placebo administration.

Conclusion:

There is growing evidence regarding the use of Brahmi for it’s cognitive and nootropic effects.  Specifically, there is limited but promising evidence that Brahmi is effective in treating the symptoms of ADHD, including in children.  Some studies have included Brahmi in a formula, thus it is difficulty to ascertain the specific impact of Brahmi.  However, studies of Brahmi as a single herb also suggest efficacy for ADHD treatment. More research in this field is necessary; however, Brahmi can be considered in treating ADHD and its associated cognitive effects, especially given its safety profile.

References:

1 Sebastian Pole, Ayurvedic Medicine:  the Principles of Traditional Practice. p. 149-50 (Edignburgh:  Churchill Livingsone/ Elsevier, 2006).

2 Flordis, Floridis Staff, Keen Mind Product. http://www.flordis.com.au/product/keenmind

3 Anju, “Bacopa monnieri – a Preliminary Study Evaluating Its Anti-Stress Activity in Swiss Albino Mice,” Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological, and Chemical Sciences,  Volume 2 Issue 4 (October – December 2011): 786- 794

4 Dinsesh, K.S., Kaumarabhrtya – Updated, p. 392-393 (New Delhi:  Chaukhambha Publications, 2014).

5 M. Gupta, M. Singh, “Recent researches on Ayurvedic Herbs in the Management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD) in Children, ” Journal of Ayurveda and Holistic Medicine, Volume 2, Issue IX (January 2015): 52-55.

6 Dr John Douillard, Perfect Health for Kids:  Ten Ayurvedic Health Secrets Every Parent Must Know, p. 333 (Berkeley, California:  North Atlantic Books, 2004).

7 Stough, C., et al., “Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning:  90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial,” Phytotherapy Research, Volume 22, Issue 12 (December 2008): 1629-1634.

8 Stough, C., et al., “The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human adults,” Psychopharmacology, Volume 156, Issue 4 (August 2001):  481-484.

9 Singh, H and Dhawan, B., “Effect of Bacopa monniera Linn. (Brahmi) extract on avoidance responses in rat,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 5, Issue 2 (March 1982):  205-214.

10 Kidd, P., “A review of nutrients and botanicals in the Integrative Management of Cognitive Dysfunction,” Alternative Medicine Review, Volume 4, Number 9 (1999):  144-161

11 Stough et al, “Examining the Cognitive Effects of a Special Extract of Bacopa Monniera (CDRI 08:  Keen Mind):  A Review of Ten Years of Research at Swinburne University,” Journal Pharm Pharm Sci, Volume 16, Number 2 (2013):  254-258.

12 Swinburne University, Swinburne University Staff, Bacopa Monieri and ADHD. http://www.swinburne.edu.au/media-centre/news/2015/01/can-a-natural-supplement-improve-hyperactivity-in-boys.html

13 Examine.com staff.  http://examine.com/supplements/bacopa-monnieri/

14 Stough, C and Scholey, A., Advances in Natural Medicines, Nutraceuticals and Neurocognition, p. 279 (Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, 2013).

15 Stough, C and Scholey, A., Advances in Natural Medicines, Nutraceuticals and Neurocognition, p. 254 (Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, 2013).

16 Stough, C and Scholey, A., Advances in Natural Medicines, Nutraceuticals and Neurocognition, p. 262 (Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, 2013).

17 Negi KS, Singh YD, Kushwaha KP, Rastogi CK, Rathi AK, Srivastava JS, et al. “Clinical evaluation of memory enhancing properties of Memory Plus in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” Ind J Psychiatry 2000;42:Supplement

18 Kalra V, Hina Z, Pandey RM, Kulkarni KS. “A randomized double blind placebo-controlled drug trial with Mentat in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.”Neurosciences Today 2002; 6(4): 223-227.

19 Krull et al., “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents: Epidemiology and pathogenesis” (UpToDate article)

20 Krull et al., “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents: Treatment with medications” (UpToDate article)

21 Katz et al., “A compound herbal preparation (CHP) in the treatment of children with ADHD:  a randomized controlled trial,” Journal of Attention Disorders, 2010, Volume 4, Number 3:  281-291

22 Braun, L and Cohen, M.:  Herbs and Natural Supplements, Volume 2:  An Evidence-Based Guide.  P. (Australia, Elsevier, 2015):  118

– See more at: http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/students/Brahmi-Review#sthash.kqmoUPHq.dpuf

 


Bacopa Monnieri Considered Future Candidate for Chronic Pain Management

Coffee can help ease chronic pain? 

It can if it’s infused with Ayurvedic herb Bacopa Monnieri.

Check out this recent abstract from Current Medical Chemistry:

Chronic pain management costs billions of dollars in medical exchequer to the world population. Additionally, 77% of people with chronic pains also have a degree of medically treatable depression. Bacopa monnieri, a renowned ayurvedic medicine has a strong antidepressant effect and significant anti-nociceptive effect, which is comparable to the effect of morphine via adenosinergic, opioidergic, and adrenergic mechanisms. BM has been also reported to be effective in neuropathic pains. Additionally, it has a strong anti-inflammatory effect mediated via COX-2 inhibitory mechanism.

Apart from its effect of augmenting morphine analgesia, BM also inhibits opioid-withdrawal induced hyperalgesia, and acquisition and expression of morphine tolerance. BM is reported to have a strong protective effect against toxic effects of opiates on major organs like brain, kidneys and heart. BM is well documented to be safe and well tolerated herbal therapy in multiple clinical trials including various age groups. This mini review evaluated the preclinical data that highlights potential of BM as a future candidate for clinical management of chronic pains.


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