Effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on Human Memory: A clinical study
The present study was carried out to investigate the efficacy and safety of the Effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on Human Memory
Eighty-four healthy volunteers who were not taking any medication or other herbal preparation, and reported no head injuries, commenced the study. Eight participants withdrew after the first testing session, four from each group. Only one of these was due to an adverse (gastrointestinal) reaction to the Brahmi capsules. Two of the participants in the placebo group withdrew when they developed a medical condition. At the second testing session and a mid-trial telephone, call participants were asked about their memory function and given an opportunity to make other comments. On these occasions, no other participants reported adverse reactions. Seventy-six participants (28 males and 48 females) between the ages of 40 and 65 years (mean 49, S.D. 7), completed the study.
The study utilized a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled independent group design with two groups; a Bacopa monniera (Keenmind extract) group (n = 37) and a placebo group (n = 39).
Participants were tested on three separate occasions for approximately one hour. In the first session pre-trial testing was completed (baseline) and the participants were given three months supply of capsules at the dosage recommended by the manufacturers (300 mg for persons under 90 kg, and 450 mg for persons over 90 kg, equivalent to 6g and 9g dried rhizome, respectively). Participants were contacted by telephone approximately six to eight weeks into the trial period to encourage compliance. A second testing session was conducted approximately three months later (3-month test), at which participants were instructed not to take any remaining capsules. A post-trial testing session occurred approximately six weeks after the end of the trial session.
The results show no significant effect of chronic administration of Brahmi on measures of short-term memory, working memory, attention, or the retrieval of information from long-term memory acquired pre-experimentally. Further, there were no significant effects on subjective measures of psychological state (depression, anxiety, and stress) or everyday memory function.
There was a significant effect on a task requiring the retention of new information: the recall of unrelated word pairs after a short delay. There were no significant differences associated with the rate of acquisition of the information, as evidenced by the lack of a significant difference between groups in the learning trials. Rather the effect appears to be a reduction in the amount of information lost from memory. The story recall task also required participants to learn some new material and recall it a short time later; however, it did not show the same significant effect. This may be because there was very little forgetting of the material during the delay, or because story recall is a more reconstructive process than the recall of unrelated word pairs (Baddeley 1990).
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