The Nootropic Benefits of BacopaOct 31, 2022 06:35AM ● By Kathleen Gould and Madalyn Johnson
Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) is an amazing little aquatic plant that has been used for centuries to help with a number of human disorders. This herb has a rich history of use in Ayurveda and other traditional medicine systems, primarily as a nerve tonic and nootropic—a substance that enhances cognition and memory and facilitates learning.
It has been used to not only help improve brain function and memory recall but also to help reduce stress, anxiety, inflammation and blood pressure, and help with symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, it is safe for long-term use.
Modern-day research has shown that bacopa may indeed have these nootropic benefits. In addition to bacopa, there are several other natural nootropics that can help to support our brain health, namely ginseng, green tea and ginkgo biloba.
Bacopa can be grown as an aquarium plant or put into gardens and ponds, or it can be purchased at local herb shops. Most folks make a tea from dried bacopa or use a few fresh leaves (bruise first). To make tea, add a few fresh leaves or a good pinch of dried bacopa to one cup of boiled water and allow it to steep for about 10 minutes. Drink two to three cups daily.
Bacopa plays well with other plants, too. Think about people in your life. Aren’t there a few that just make you feel better when you are around them and raise your spirit? Herbs work the same way. Sometimes combining three to four herbs in a blend make all the individual herbs work better. Bacopa blends nicely with lion’s mane, ginkgo, ashwagandha root and plenty of others.
When you combine bacopa and lion’s mane (which is also for overall well-being, but particularly mood improvement), a plethora of benefits arise. Then you can add in a bit of ginkgo to help move things through your body and ashwagandha for calming, and you have a great blend for overall well-being.
Here is a nice way to make a blend similar to the one previously mentioned. Using dried herbs is most common, as these plants all grow in different climates and different times of the year. So, let’s assume we are using dried plants. This blend would be wonderful as a powder blend that you could add to your smoothie or over your oatmeal in the morning, or make some homemade capsules, which are easy to do.
3 parts bacopa powder
3 parts lion’s mane powder
1.5 parts ginkgo powder
1.5 parts ashwagandha root powder
1 part turmeric powder
Turmeric powder is always a nice addition to many formulas due to its anti-inflammatory benefits, and we probably all have a bit of inflammation somewhere in our bodies. Remember, too, turmeric needs a little fat to be absorbed; so any time you take turmeric in any form, make sure to take it after a meal. Most of our meals have some sort of fat in them, and it makes the turmeric more bioavailable.
A little note on lion’s mane mushrooms: These are very popular lately and grow quite easily. With the cooler weather coming and farmers markets popping up all over, check one near you and see if someone is selling fresh lion’s mane. We can find it at a few of our markets around the Phoenix area. We like to take these mushrooms and slice them thinly and sauté them in a bit of butter and fresh garlic. Then we add those slices to our favorite pizza, and wow, how delicious and healthy!
Everything we need to keep us happy and healthy is right before us. Try combining two or three of your favorite herbs and see what you get. People are better together … and so are herbs.
Kathleen Gould, registered herbalist, and Madalyn Johnson are proprietors of SW Herb Shop and Gathering Place. Gould has been an herbalist for 30-plus years and has extensive experience in herbal medicine. For more information, call 480-694-9931, or visit SWHerb.com or Store.SWHerb.com.