Ayurveda and Alzheimer’s: Bacosides from Brahmi display cognitive benefits– Malaysian review

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

The bacopa monnieri (B monnieri) plant.
The bacopa monnieri (B monnieri) plant.

Related tags Ayurveda Alzheimer's disease Cognitive decline Malaysia

The Ayurvedic herb, bacopa monnieri (B monnieri), has shown to protect against Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to a new scientific review.

B monnieri​, also known as brahmi in the Sanskrit language and brain tonic in English, is a commonly used Ayurvedic herb.

Published in scientific Drug Target Insights​, the review, which was conducted by a group of Malaysian researchers from Taylor’s University, evaluated the effects of bacosides – the bioactive component of the plant.

Citing two rstudies conducted in 2011, the researchers pointed out that bacosides could protect the brain against oxidative damage and age-related cognitive deterioration with several mechanisms.

Being non-polar glycosides, the bacosides could cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) via simple lipid-mediated passive diffusion.

Citing previous research, the researchers said that bacoside could also improve cognitive function due to its free radical scavenging properties.

“The detoxification and binding of free radical scavenging metal ions or increasing the antioxidant properties are the mechanisms involved in the neuroprotection from bacosides,”​ the researchers said.

Other benefits include protecting neurons against Aβ-induced toxicity.  Aβ is a peptide that plays a key role in AD progression, as it can assemble into insoluble amyloid fibrils and

 “Many traditional plants especially B monnieri​ have intricate mixtures of chemical compounds, which exhibit various pharmacological and biological activities. They have been used as traditional medicines and for anti-aging.

“This review reveals the effective use of B monnieri​ in cognition and neuroprotection and its phytoconstituents that can be used in novel drug discovery,” ​the researchers concluded.

Commercial extracts

The researchers also evaluated two B monnieri ​extracts which are commercially available and found that they can improve cognitive function in both AD and healthy individuals.

These commercialise extracts are KeenMind produced by Australian firm Flordis, Bacognize by Canadian firm Verdure Sciences, and BacoMind by Indian firm Natural Remedies.

In the case of KeenMind, an Australian clinical study involving 107 healthy individuals between the age of 18 and 60, showed that consuming 150mg of the product twice per day could improve their performance in a structural working remembrance task.

Besides cognitive improvement, the product also​ enhanced learning capability as seen in a trial undertaken by the University of Wollongong.

The trial which lasted 3 months, involved 76 individuals between 40 and 65 years old. Results showed that individuals who took the product could remember new information better than the placebo group.

Bacognize, on the other hand, led to improvement in the cognitive functions of geriatric AD patients in a 6-month trial.

During the trial, patients who took 300mg of the product twice per day did better in a number of tests, such as the mini-mental state examination scale.

Another clinical study on Bacognize involved 60 medical students from Government Medical College in India.

After consuming 150mg of the product over 15 days, they showed significant elevation in their serum calcium levels and enhanced memory test.

As for BacoMind, an Australian trial has showed that the administration of 300 mg of the product per day in healthy volunteers over 55 years ago could improve their oral learning, memory attainment, and suppressed recall.


Source: Drug Target Insights

Bacopa monnieri​, a Neuroprotective Lead in Alzheimer Disease: A Review on Its Properties, Mechanisms of Action, and Preclinical and Clinical Studies

DOI: 10.1177/1177392819866412

Authors:  Aimi Syamima Abdul Manap, et al

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