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n support of the traditional use for enhancing memory, Australian researchers recently gave Bacopa to seventy-six adults, aged 40 to 65 years, in a double-blind randomized, placebo control study in which various memory functions and anxiety levels were tested and measured. Numerous memory tests before and after taking the brahmi showed that the herb significantly improved the retention of new information Follow-up tests showed that the learning rate remained the same, so it looks like brahmi reduces the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information.12
Scientific literature is pointing to some pretty uses for brahmi in the treatment of cognitive and behavioral disorders.13 In 1980, Indian researchers ran an open trial with Bacopa, with 35 adult anxiety neurosis patients. The dose was 12 g per day of the dried plant in syrup form, for four weeks. Concentration and immediate memory span were both upped significantly. On-the-job mental fatigue also was improved. Other major problems improved significantly, including nervousness, palpitation, insomnia, headache, tremors, and irritability. Some those disabled by their anxiety overcame their disability. The mean total anxiety level was significantly decreased.14
Scientists gave Bacopa to one hundred and seventy two patients with mild, moderate or severely impaired mental abilities. The herbal medicine significantly increased concentration ability, memory and overall mental performance of the subjects. No adverse side effects were reported.15
One remarkable study established substantial improvement in mentally retarded people, especially for the associated hyperkinetic behavior often seen with this condition.16
Brahmi is safe and effective for children. Indian schoolchildren take it at home. In 1987, Indian scientists gave brahmi to 40 schoolchildren aged 6-8 in a single-blind trial. The tots improved in maze learning, immediate memory and perception. Their reaction/performance times al improved. The dose was 1 gram per day for three months, of the dried plant extracted into a syrup form. No side-effects were recorded.17
Children with ADHD also get benefit from Bacopa. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, Bacopa improved virtually every measure of children’s ADHD symptoms.18
Bacopa is a traditional treatment for epilepsy and similar convulsive disorders. Preliminary scientific information finds that perhaps 50% of patients will have lowered occurance of seizures.19
Many people with epilepsy suffer from cognitive impairments. The disease itself, and the drugs taken for the pathology, can cause such problems. A 2000 mouse experiment used Bacopa along with a powerful anticonvulsant drug known to cause cognitive problems. It demonstrated that Bacopa reduced the cognitive decline caused by a drug.20 Acquisition and retention of memory both showed improvement without affecting the benefits of the drug.
Recent research is revealing that brahmi is a potent anti-oxidant.21 Scientific discoveries from 2003 show that it has powerful free radical scavenging capacity. This antioxidant capacity may explain, at least in part, the reported antistress, immunomodulatory, cognition enhancing, anti-inflammatory and antiaging effects.22
In India, gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is used interchangeably with Bacopa. Both are called “brahmi”.
The typical dose is two grams of the whole herb, in capsules or tea, twice a day with warm water.
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