Brahmi - Bacopa Monnieri - an Ayurvedic remedy for Alzheimer
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a specific form of dementia that represent about 70% of total cases. It usually affects people aged 65 years old or more, and its symptoms range from inability to focus, to loss of short-term memory, difficulties in communication and language, and a general decline in mental faculties1.
Apart from a few medications that may help improve some of the cognitive symptoms of AD, medical science still didn’t find any effective pharmacological therapy able to halt or slow this condition’s progression. Some new studies, however, are investigating the purported effectiveness of some herbal remedies that could improve the cognitive deficit associated with this disease, such as the Ayurvedic herb known as Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)2.
A moderate daily administration of Brahmi showed a positive effect on neuronal trophism, due to the activity of triterpenoid saponins (bacosides) that act as nootropic elements. The mechanisms of action of these substances seem to span from a direct anti-oxidant and neuroprotective effect of brain cells to a generalized improvement in cerebral blood flow and perfusion. Brahmi extracts also appear to be able to reduce the formation of the β-amyloid plaques deemed responsible for Alzheimer’s degeneration of cortical neurons. Bacopa monnieri also seems to be able to enhance cognitive function even in healthy subjects, and can be thus used as a preventive treatment in high-risk subjects3.
1. Meds News. C. Butticè “Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – Prevention and Treatment”. October, 21, 2015. Retrieved from http://medsnews.com/health/dementia-and-alzheimers-disease-prevention-and-treatment/ (Accessed October, 2015).
2. Pase, Matthew P.; Kean, James; Sarris, Jerome; Neale, Chris; Scholey, Andrew B.; Stough, Con (2012-07-01). "The Cognitive-Enhancing Effects of Bacopa monnieri: A Systematic Review of Randomized, Controlled Human Clinical Trials". The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 18 (7): 647–652. doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0367. ISSN 1075-5535.
3. Aguiar S, Borowski T. Neuropharmacological Review of the Nootropic Herb Bacopa monnieri. Rejuvenation Research. 2013;16(4):313-326. doi:10.1089/rej.2013.1431.
Dr. Claudio Butticè, PharmD.