Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) is an adaptogenic herb used in traditional Indian medicine. The plant is a complex mixture of chemicals which includes the alkaloid herpestine, brahmin, stigmasterol, and a group of terpenoid glycosides called bacopasides. The plant also contains the triterpenoid saponins including bacopaside I, bacopaside II, bacopasaponsin C, and bacopasaponsin D. The phytochemicals within Bacopa monnieri are responsible for its pharmacological activity which includes significant anxiolytic effects. Some studies have found that the anxiolytic effects of the herb are comparable to that of the pharmaceutical drug lorazepam. In addition, the herb is known to provide a significant cognitive benefit and may be a useful treatment in age related memory decline. Overall the herb has a neuroprotective effect, which suggests that the phytochemicals may be providing significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the brain, may be modulating second messengers systems, or may be affecting neurotransmitter metabolism.
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