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Bacopa Monnieri and Dementia – Benefits and Noted Side Effects!


Dementia is a term used to describe a set of symptoms that affects one’s memory, thinking and even how one socialize.  As such, its development may be caused by the development of several diseases or abnormalities instead of a specific disorder or disease (;

At present, there is no known cure.  However, the prevalence of the disease increases with aging. Therefore, as the population ages, more cases of the disease are expected to occur.  To this extent, researchers continue to explore therapies and approaches that could prevent or delay the onset of this presumably global health problem (WHO, 2023).  As such, could Bacopa Monnieri, a marshy herb that is usually found in India and serve in ayurvedic practices, be an effective mechanism in treating dementia?  Let’s discuss!

The Discussion

Dementia is characterized as a neurodegenerative disorder and is used to describe several diseases that affect not only one’s memory but their thinking and overall quality of life (WHO, 2023; Krikorian et al. 2010). A neurodegenerative disorder is any disease that affects the cells of the central nervous system, causing them to stop working properly or just die (  Alzheimer’s disease accounts for between sixty (60%) percent to eighty (80%) percent of dementia cases (Alzheimer’s Association, 2008). While genetics and family history may play a role in its development, age (usually 65 years and older) is considered the main risk factor (WHO, 2023; Krikorian et al. 2010).  

Other health conditions that can increase one’s risk of developing dementia or related conditions include cardiovascular disorders (Stampfer, 2006), and diabetes (Luchsinger et al. 2004).  Other risk factors are smoking, the consumption of excessive alcohol, depression, diet, and physical inactivity (WHO, 2023).

Dementia reportedly affects more than Fifty-five (55) million people globally (WHO, 2023) with women being more at risk of developing the disease both directly and indirectly (WHO, 2023).  A study in Jamaica purports that 5.9% of the population accounts for the prevalence of dementia with Alzheimer’s pattern accounting for at least 62% of the cases (Eldemire-Shearer et al. 2017).

However, while no cure currently exists for dementia, dietary approaches are said to hold valuable insight for effective and safe preventative means for this disease (Petersen, 2004).    In fact, research contends that diet represents one of the best factors for metabolic health and has thus shown to mitigate mechanisms of conditions of neurodegeneration (Petersen, 2004).  It must be noted that one’s metabolic health speaks to having blood sugar, blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, and weight within healthy ranges (Araújo et al. 2016).  This is where Bacopa Monnieri comes in. 

Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi) is a small tropical creeping marshy herb of the Scrophulariaceae family (Pandey et al. 2009; Sharma, 1998).  It is also considered an ayurveda herb that is akin to India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Florida, Hawaii and even some southern states of the United States (Sharma, 1998).  The herb does not have a unique odour, but it does have a slightly bitter taste (Pandey et al. 2009).  Bacopa reportedly has been used for centuries as a brain tonic to improve memory and concentration (Mukherjee and Dey, 1996).  Research also contends that it has been used for the treatment of mental illnesses as well as epilepsy (Sharma, 1998).

In this article, we will be exploring how this herb may be able to help those suffering from dementia or serve as a preventative means for the development of dementia or cognitive decline.  We will also explore any side effects and how to possibly integrate it into your diet.

Bacopa Monnieri and Dementia:
  • Bacopa Monnieri and Dementia in General.
  • What are the active compounds of Bacopa Monnieri.
  • What are the side effects of consuming Bacopa Monnieri?
  • How to incorporate Bacopa into your diet.
Bacopa Monnieri and Dementia in General

Bacopa Monnieri or Brahmi, is an Ayurveda herb that has been used for centuries due to its known positive effect in the treatment of neurological disorders (Dubey and Chinnathambi, 2019).  Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s (one of the main types of dementia) are described as a gradual depletion of neurons in the brain, impairment of memory, mobility, and cognition (Limpeanchob et al. 2008).

Two (2) of the main proteins of neurodegeneration are Amyloid-B and Tau. The dysfunction of these proteins is said to result in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (Dubey and Chinnathambi, 2019).  As such, research contends that the aggregation of these two (2) proteins may increase oxidative stress and genetic mutations which are risk factors for neurodegeneration disorders (Wang et al. 2016; Geerts, 2004).

According to research, amyloid beta protein is a protein fragment that is formed from a larger protein known as amyloid precursor protein (  One of the fragmented proteins that are implicated in Alzheimer’s brain is that of beta-amyloid 42 (a 42-amino acid peptide). This protein is characterized as being very toxic and when too much of it is in the brain (abnormal levels), this causes it to clump together forming a plague between the neurons that eventually disrupts the proper functioning of the cells (  As such, research purports that abnormal levels of this protein trigger the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (Sun et al. 2015). 

However, current research is denoting that oligomers, which are considered neurotoxic, may play a greater role in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (Tan and Gleeson, 2019; Saha and Sen, 2019).  However, the research certainly continues as researchers investigate both oligomers and beta-amyloid protein as it relates to their contrition to the development of Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive impairment.  Research has found that diets that are high in sugar and fat (saturated), even in the short term, prevent the brain from receiving substances that can help reduce or hinder the build-up of beta-amyloid in the brain (Hanson et al. 2013).

On the other hand, Tau protein, the other major hallmark protein of Alzheimer’s disease helps to stabilize the internal skeleton of the cells of the nerves (neurons) in the brain. This protein becomes an issue in the brain due to abnormal buildup which then causes the internal skeleton to fall apart ( and further forms tangles (tau tangles) in the neurons of the brain (

The abnormal forms of these proteins (plagues and tangles) eventually slow down an individual’s ability to think and remember things and thus setting the foundation for the development of Alzheimer’s disease (  Research contends that a diet high in salt may cause chemical changes in the body, which can cause poor cognition and eventually contribute to the buildup of tau protein in the brain (Faraco et al. 20199). Nonetheless, while more studies are recommended as per definitive conclusions, it is recommended that individuals regulate salt consumption.

However, research has shown that Bacopa Monnieri may be able to reduce amyloid deposits in the brain. This was observed in animal studies for Alzheimer’s disease (Mukherjee, 1966). As such, the researchers purported that it has a significant memory-promoting effect on the brain. Another research on animals showed that Bacopa Monnieri showed an inhibitory effect on a particular enzyme in the brain known as Cholinesterase. This inhibitory effect reduces the breakdown of acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter in the brain. As such, it is a chemical that carries messages from the brain to the nerve cells throughout the body.  Acetylcholine has been found to be of reduced levels in the brains of persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to dementia (Das et al. 2002).  It should be noted that cholinesterase is an enzyme that helps the nervous system to work properly.  This enzyme will negatively affect the nervous system when toxic chemicals from the environment interfere with its proper functioning.

What are the active Compounds of Bacopa Monnieri?

Some of the main active compounds of Bacopa Monnieri that reportedly contribute to its positive effects on cognition and memory are Bacoside A, Bacoside-B, Alkaloids, and Flavonoids (Singh and Dhawan, 1997).  These compounds, particularly the bacosides have a therapeutic effect in that they were found to enhance neurotransmission of synaptic activity and other major activities in the brain, thus repairing neurons that were previously damaged (Mathur et al. 2016).

In a study conducted by Holcomb et al (2006), it was found that a bacopa extract was able to reduce the amyloid levels in mice models.  Further, according to (Russo et al. 2003), a bacopa methanol extract was found to have a ‘free radical scavenging’ effect on DNA.  According to the research, this was due to its antioxidant property which reportedly helps with stress and cognition.  It also reportedly provides anti-inflammatory and anti-aging possibilities (Russo et al. 2003).

A study by Kongkeaw (2013), showed Bacopa Monnieri to have a slight impact on attention and verbal memory of patients that were suffering from mild cognitive impairment when consumed for three (3) months. In this study, a concentration of 450 mg of bacopa extract was consumed daily.  It must be noted that these participants were reportedly elders with memory issues but not necessarily suffering from dementia.

Nonetheless, while it has been shown to have a neuroprotective effect in both animal and in vitro studies, some researchers have posited that its effects on patients with Alzheimer’s disease are inconclusive.  As such, further studies are recommended, particularly high-quality trials for more conclusive results (Agarwal et al. 2023).

Additionally, the effect of Bacopa Monnieri in geriatric age groups (65 years and older) of persons who are inflicted with Alzheimer’s disease is still being investigated (Goswami et al. 2011).  Further, there are no actual studies are available on the use of bacopa to protect against the development of dementia or delay its progression.  However, studies do contend that it has a protective effect against the aging of the brain and dementia. Nonetheless, more human studies are needed where this is concerned.

What are the Side Effects of Consuming Bacopa Monnieri?

Research has shown that it is safe and well-tolerated in humans (Asthana et al. 1996; Russo et al. 2003).  In fact, most studies of Bacopa Monnieri use concentrations of 20-300 mg and 100-200 mg single and multiple doses respectively were found to be well-tolerated for at least four (4) weeks in healthy individuals (Asthana et al. 1996).

However, the most reported side effects are nausea, intestinal issues, hypermotility and gastrointestinal issues (Morgan and Stevens, 2010).   Additionally, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study by Singh and Dhawan (1997), no significant side effects or serious adverse effects were observed after the intake of 20-300 mg and 100-200 mg (single and multiple doses) for volunteers of the study. It is not recommended for pregnant people to consume Bacopa Monnieri, as no study regarding its safety has been conducted where this is concerned.

How to add Bacopa Monnieri to your diet!

Bacopa Monnieri is available in many forms. You can incorporate it into your diet via capsule form or powdered extract. Liquid extracts are also available. You can also find it as an herbal tea.  As per dosages, it is best to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the product purchased or those listed in peer-reviewed studies or successful clinical trials.

Importantly, always consult with your Healthcare Provider or Doctor before you consume Bacopa Monnieri. Your healthcare provider will be able to guide you as to the best dosage based on your specific health condition.

Illustrative Summary

Here is an illustrative summary of BACOPA MONNIERI and DEMENTIA.  

Illustrative Summary of Bacopa Monnieri and Dementia -

Let’s Sum Up!

Dementia is categorized as a group of diseases that affects one’s cognition over time. One of the main types of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease which accounts for more than 60% of all dementia cases, worldwide.

While there is no known cure for dementia, researchers have been exploring varying means of treating, preventing, or even delaying the development of the disease. One such is medicinal plants.  One medicinal plant that has been offering much hope is Bacopa Monnieri.  This herb is said to have a neuroprotective effect on the brain.

However, further studies are recommended, especially high-quality clinical trials where this plant and its overall effect on dementia. Nonetheless, hope lives on where the fight against this severe cognitive disorder is concerned.

So, have you ever heard of the Bacopa Monnieri? Or have you ever tried it? Share it nuh!

 You can read more on ingredients that have been shown beneficial for brain health in these articles:

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