June is that time of year when students are dealing with the grim reality of final exams. I’m sure we can all think back to that time in our lives and the feelings associated, the stress of the exam schedule, and the thrill of completion. For that student in your life who may need a little boost around exam time, may I draw your attention to the Ayurvedic herb Bacopa monnieri. Bacopa has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to help treat issues such as anxiety, asthma, insomnia, epilepsy and poor memory. It also has another name “Brahmi” taken from Sanskrit, this name relates to the herbs ability to improve mental health, intellectual function, memory and longevity. So what are the 3 reasons students should consider Bacopa? Here they are… 1. Bacopa is an adaptogen – Adaptogenic herbs are used to strengthen the immune system and increase a person’s capacity to deal with physical and mental stress. In short they help reduce those feelings of being “stressed-out”, “burned-out” and help prevent you from getting ill. How many of us have gone through a stressful exam period only to fall prey to a cold after we were finished? 2. Bacopa is a nervine – Nervine herbs are classically used to treat mild to moderate cases of anxiety and depression as well as to promote sleep. How many of us have been anxious before an exam, felt depressed at the thought of all the work required over exam schedules and couldn’t sleep well the night before that big test? Nervine herbs help to promote a stable mood and a good night’s rest. Both are needed for proper navigation through exams. 3. Bacopa is a memory booster – in a 3 month study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, subjects taking this herb demonstrated significant improvement in speed of visual information processing (better reading ability), learning rate and memory. Another study using the syrup form of Bacopa at a dose of 350 mg 3 times per day for 3 months showed improvement in learning, memory, perception and reaction time in 20 students. In another, Bacopa improved memory, arithmetic skills and some aspects of verbal communication in students. Overall, Bacopa is safe and well tolerated for use with students. It has a long history of use and its LD 50 (toxic rate) is very high (again safe). So there you have it, at least 3 good reasons to look into Bacopa for helping your students survive exams. Let us know if you give it a try, or send us tips and tricks that have worked for you during exam mayhem. I send my best wishes for success to all students this month! Sources:Abascal K,Yarnell, E. Bacopa for the Brain. A Smart Addition to Western Medicine. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Therapies. Feb 2011, Vol 17; 1: 21-25.Mathew J, Paul J, Nandhu MS, Paulose CS. Bacopa monnieri and bacoside-A for ameliorating epilepsy associated behavioral deficits. Fitoterapia 2010;81:315–322. Gohil KJ, Patel JA. A review on Bacopa monniera [sic]: Current research andfuture prospects. Intern J Green Pharm 2010;4:1–9.Raina RS, Chopra VS, Sharma R, et al. The psychomotor effects ofbrahmi and caffeine on healthy male volunteers. J Clin Diag Res 2009;3:1827–1835. Abhang R. Study to evaluate the effect of a micro (suksma) medicine derived from brahmi (Herpestris monierra) on students of average intelligence. JRes Ayur Siddha 1993;14:10–24.