BACOPA MONNIERI (BRAHMI) – WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE IN RELATION TO COGNITION, MEMORY AND MOOD? A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS OF RANDOMISED CONTROLLED TRIALS
Dr. Emma Derbyshire PhD*
Ethnopharmacological Relevance: Previous research suggests that Bacopa monnieri has potential to improve cognition, particularly speed of attention. The present article aims to update previous work and re-evaluates the evidence on Bacopa monnieri and cognitive function. It also considers the wider effects of Bacopa monnieri on memory and mood. Materials and Methods: PubMed, the Cochrane Library and ClinicalTrials.gov were searched to identify relevant RCTs using specified search terms. Reference lists of identified articles were also reviewed. Trials identified were objectively assessed for methodological quality using the Cochrane risk of bias tool and Jadad scale. Trials administering Bacopa monnieri in combinative with other active ingredients were excluded. Results: Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria comprising of 685 subjects. Overall 11 studies had a low risk of bias and were regarded as good quality. Meta-analysis using data from 160 subjects showed improved State-Trait Anxiety for which there was no evidence of heterogeneity between studies (I2=0%, p=0.58) and which was significantly reduced in the experimental group by -2.94 (95% CI: -3.97 to -1.92), p<0.0001. No significant findings were observed for the delayed recall Auditory Verbal Learning Task, Digital Span Forwards or Digital Span Backwards tests. Conclusion: This updated review suggests that Bacopa monnieri including the standardised CDRI 08 extract could help to reduce feelings of anxiety. These are promising findings and build on previous work observing cognitive benefits. Ongoing trials using aligned definitions of cognitive, memory and mood domains and evaluating the adjunctive or „head to head‟ effects of Bacopa monnieri against conventional medications are also needed.
Keywords: Bacopa monnieri, nootropic effects, cognition, attention, memory, mood, anxiety.
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