WHY drink this calming cognitive enhancer for 12 weeks…

Jonathan Roseland
7 min readNov 25, 2023

The herb Bacopa Monnieri (which I’ll refer to simply as Bacopa from now on), is a Nootropic ingredient that you’re probably used to seeing on the labels of Nootropic stacks but in this Biohacker review (and scientific overview) I’ll break down why it’s actually worth isolating and trying on its own.

My consistent finding as a Biohacker has been that Adaptogenic herbs like Bacopa are most potent when taken as a tea. I love tea and taking herbs as tea breaks up the monotony of taking capsuled supplements. Bacopa smells nice (I think) and has a strong earthly taste (that not everyone will love!) Bacopa is a subtle Nootropic; after drinking it I notice myself being a bit more focused and energized. A calming cognitive enhancer is how one paper described Bacopa and that’s right on. I can type a little faster and really don’t feel like taking a midday nap! I did do brain training and a Heart Rate Variability measurement on Bacopa…

Slight uptick in HRV after dosing and 4.1 brain training score achieved

I take 300 milligrams once daily, typically after lunch usually mixed with another herbal Adaptogen like Chaga. Unlike some other Adaptogens, I’m experienced with — like Rhodiola or Reishi — Bacopa tea doesn’t have much of an effect on mood.

Scientific Overview

Bacopa is one of the first Nootropics that I studied and wrote a deep-dive meta-analysis about back in the 2000-teens, but since then a lot of science has been done. In this young decade alone there have been 44 scientific papers published on Pubmed, including 9 clinical trials totaling 549 human participants. That’s a statistically significant amount of science that I’ll summarize here…

A 2022 Australian study evaluated the effect of a typical Nootropic stack of Bacopa, Ginkgo Biloba, and B vitamins on memory, attention, mood and biochemical markers of nutrient status in middle-aged adults. Of course, these ingredients have a reliably positive effect on these measures of human performance, but this Randomized Double Blind Placebo Controlled Trial was getting at a little more interesting question: does taking supplements make up for a crappy diet? Unsurprisingly, it does NOT. From the abstract…

We hypothesised that active supplementation would differentially improve memory and attention in those with a ‘sub-optimal’ diet… Contrary to our hypothesis, there was a significant beneficial effect of supplementation on attentional performance in individuals with an ‘optimal’ diet prior to supplementation

Investigating the Effects of a Multinutrient Supplement on Cognition, Mood and Biochemical Markers in Middle-Aged Adults with ‘Optimal’ and ‘Sub-Optimal’ Diets: A Randomized Double Blind Placebo Controlled Trial

A recent study of over 100 Australian boys suggests that it’s kinda/sorta a treatment for attentional/hyperactivity issues. There was a small uptick over placebo in cognitive outcomes, like

  • decreased error-making
  • cognitive flexibility
  • executive functioning
  • interpersonal problems
  • sleep routine

A Brazilian pilot study was completed in 2023, treating Parkinson’s patients with 225 or 450 milligrams of Bacopa a day. This was moderately helpful, but it wasn’t overnight.

A strong correlation was found between quality of life and motor outcomes at baseline and 30 days of treatment with B. monnieri, and a moderate correlation for 60 and 90 days of treatment… Our results suggest that B. monnieri extract can improve emotional function in Parkinson’s disease patients

An Italian study suggests that a Bacopa extract may be a treatment for anhedonia (browsing Reddit, you’ll see that this is something that many suffer from in modernity. A dose of 300 milligrams was given to 42 patients with significant degree of anhedonia for four weeks.

We can derive some stacking recommendations from a double-blind, placebo-controlled 2021 Australian study that combined Bacopa with American ginseng and whole coffee fruit extract. This is the kind of study that should make a Biohacker’s ears perk up as it was a true performance-enhancement study, measuring working memory, attention, and cerebral haemodynamic response in 40 healthy adults. Dual N-Back (one of my favorite Biohacks) was used to measure the brainpower of the subjects on the stack. The abstract concluded…

Working memory task performance on the N-back task was significantly improved following active supplement consumption compared to placebo in terms of accuracy

Speaking of stacking, a 2020 Italian study provides some more recommendations. They combined Bacopa with lycopene, astaxanthin, and vitamin B12 which was proved moderately effective in counter-acting brain aging after 8 weeks of dosing in a group of 80 elderly Italians.

Improvement of Executive Function after Short-Term Administration of an Antioxidants Mix Containing Bacopa, Lycopene, Astaxanthin and Vitamin B12: The BLAtwelve Study

Got smokers in your vicinity? Good news, Bacopa is a second-hand smoke hack according to a 2022 Indian paper.

Researchers found that Bacopa monnieri significantly increased brain levels of glutathione, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A in rats exposed to cigarette smoke.

A recent Indian paper harkens to its historical usage in traditional herbal medicine. It’s regarded as a tonic for the human brain and named as a Potential Anti-Cancer Agent.

The intermingled interrelationship of Bacopa monnieri and human health dates backs to the ancient times in the history of ayurveda making the plant an enriched source of alternative drug development in a nontoxic manner.

Finally, a 2021 paper suggests a coming soon study of Bacopa vs Gulf War Illness associated cognitive dysfunction. Are you old enough to remember Gulf War Illness? It was a strange combination of very serious health problems that servicemen deployed in the Gulf wars suffered (chronically and sometimes fatally — driving good men and women to suicide). There are a bunch of theories about what caused Gulf War Illness, but nobody really knows. Fortunately, the designers of a national study named Bacopa as a promising Nootropic solution for restoring minds broken by war.

A randomized phase II remote study to assess Bacopa for Gulf War Illness associated cognitive dysfunction: Design and methods of a national study

PureBulk.com offers it powdered

Which is the most economical form. Unless you want to capsule it yourself, I recommend taking it as a tea. It makes for a hearty, earthy-tasting tea if you combine it with other Adaptogens.

Bacopa takes time

A final important point, my analysis of the anecdotal evidence for Bacopa strongly suggests that Bacopa takes months of dosing to have a profound effect as a Nootropic, for example, its positive effects on long-term memory appeared in clinical trials after 12 weeks of dosing. One Nootropic connoisseur reported…

“Yes, very very good. I’ve been a fan of bacopa for a couple of years now. It can take some people up to six months to observe any positive benefits. Myself I noticed discernible effects after about two months. And, when it happened, this happened: “I have found that it ridiculously potentates any stimulant I take. Anyone notice this as well? I can usually have a large cup of tea and feel nothing from it, but if I drink it after taking this supplement that it becomes incredibly stimulating.”

Good news: at a standard 300-milligram daily dose, this 100-gram powdered supply will last you over 300 days — more than enough time for you to enjoy its long-term effects.

Originally published on LimitlessMindset.com. I’m not a doctor, medical professional, or trained therapist. I’m a researcher and pragmatic biohacking practitioner exercising free speech to share evidence as I find it. I make no claims. Please practice skepticism and rational critical thinking. You should consult a professional about any serious decisions that you might make about your health. Affiliate links in this article support Limitless Mindset — spend over $150 and you’ll be eligible to join the Limitless Mindset Secret Society.

--

--

Jonathan Roseland

Adventuring philosopher, Pompous pontificator, Writer, K-Selected Biohacker, Tantric husband, Raconteur & Smart Drug Dealer 🇺🇸