Bacopa monnieri, also known as brahmi, is a plant found in Asia and some parts of the U.S. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine (a traditional medical system that originated in India) as a “brain tonic” to improve cognitive functioning, including memory and learning, as well as to treat conditions such as anxiety and epilepsy. As a dietary supplement, it’s often marketed as a “natural” nootropic to support mental alertness, clarity, and performance. Bacopa monnieri might help with attention and certain aspects of memory, but the evidence is conflicting at this time. More research is needed.

In scientific studies, Bacopa monnieri is generally well tolerated, but some side effects have been reported: primarily gastrointestinal-related problems. These include increased bowel movements, upset stomach, abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea. Although Bacopa monnieri appears to be safe for adults for short-term use (up to 12 weeks), more long-term studies are needed. (Note: Not all supplements marketed as “natural” are safe.)

Bacopa monnieri is not included in the OPSS list of DoD-prohibited substances.

For more information about nootropics, visit the OPSS article “Nootropics: Drugs or supplements?

Posted 26 February 2019

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