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An Herb for Better Memory

bacopa

By: Erin Stair, MD, MPH ( follow on Instagram!)

This blog is going to focus on Bacopa, an herb for better memory. I started growing Bacopa a while ago in my New York City garden, after learning about it and falling in love with it when I was studying herbalism. It is a lovely herb that has white flowers. (The white flowers haven’t yet bloomed in the picture I posted above.) It usually needs really damp conditions to grow, and while I water it regularly, my Bacopa is flourishing. I’ve never had any issues with it growing, so assume it’s easy to grow.

How or why is Bacopa a great herb for better memory?

Some studies show it improves memory, especially one’s ability to remember details that they just heard. I often refer to Bacopa as my “Study Cram” tea. I used to drink it as a tea on the morning of an exam…, during those last minutes when you’re trying to stuff as much information as possible into your brain. Now I drink it while I’m memorizing the scripts I write for health videos… those tidbits of wisdom I like to film and share with you on my Instagram. I told my friend who is an actor to use it while he memorizes his lines for auditions. Bacopa might prove most beneficial as we start to age and our memory naturally declines. Some animal studies suggest that is may help prevent Alzheimers, but we need a lot more studies before we conclude that it does that in humans. A randomized controlled trial in older people showed that Bacopa significantly improved memory acquisition and retention in older people when compared to placebo. They did, however, experience some GI distress, including cramping, stool frequency and nausea. (Despite GI distress, I haven’t seen serious side effects for Bacopa.) Another randomized controlled trial showed that long-term use of Bacopa may improve overall cognitive function.

Why is Bacopa a great herb for mental focus and memory?

I don’t know the exact mechanism of action. I know it contains a lot of antioxidants which help reduce oxidative stress in the body. Generally speaking, that’s a good thing. Bacopa is also shown to improve cerebral blood flow ( blood flow to the brain), which is my best guess for how it improves memory. Other studies suggest that Bacopa upregulates tryptophan hydroxylase and serotonin transporter expression, both of which enhance memory.

While you can buy Bacopa as a supplement, if you have a space to grow it, grow it. I don’t trust 99% of supplement companies, but that’s just me. (I would trust them more if there was some form of regulation, but there is not.) If you grow it, just make sure you give it a lot of water. (It likes it wet.) And if you grow it, you can easily make Bacopa tea:

Boil 4 cups of the herb (chopped up) with 4 cups of boiling water. Let it simmer for twenty minutes. Add lime or lemon for taste and drink. It’s great chilled, as well!

In addition to Bacopa, you can try our ZENTones, rooted in the science of binuaral beat stimulation, for improved memory and focus. These are sounds that require headphones to work. They are, again, a natural approach to improving memory and focus. Check out this blog I wrote on how I use binaural stimulation to improve memory and focus. They’ve significantly helped me, which is why I am sharing them with you.

As always, if you try the ZENTones or Bacopa, let me know what you think. I love getting your feedback!

Erin

Oh, one more thing guys: I’ve been getting a lot of hate mail for some of the more “controversial” folks I’ve featured on my health podcast. I try to keep it interesting and hear ALL sides of an issue. I always try to get experts. Please keep that in mind if you listen to the podcast. If you don’t listen to Causes or Cures, well, I hope you give it a try here.¬†

Grab a copy of my parody on the wellness industry: Yours in Wellness, Krystal Heeling 

 

Or…if you are into darker reads, check out Manic Kingdom.

Manic Kingdom by Dr. Erin Stair

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