Bacopa: An Ayurvedic Brain Food
Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) is a wonderful herb that has been a highly praised rejuvenative for the brain for thousands of years. Bacopa calms and soothes the nervous system, supports the intellect, and maintains alertness and tranquility while providing energy to the brain. It has long been a favorite of students as it enhances learning, concentration, and memory.
Bacopa’s tastes are both bitter and sweet and are especially good for pacifying pitta while also supporting vata and kapha. Its bitterness can increase vata in excess, so care must be taken if you have a vata imbalance. By calming and supporting sadhaka pitta, bacopa helps us to remain serene and content, as sadhaka pitta is the queen of our emotional flow. Bacopa literally means “expansive state of awareness,” so it is excellent in helping us open our minds and calm our hearts.1
Bacopa is sometimes confused with Brahmi/Gota Kola (Centella asiatica) as both herbs are known as brahmi in different parts of India. These two important herbs are often used in combination to support the mind in both the young and old.
Herbal Tea for Concentration
When I was a student of Dr. Vasant Lad, he gave us the following formula to encourage our learning of the vast amount of material we were given and to support our equanimity in that process. We made this tea regularly while we were in school and drank it twice a day to support alertness, focus, concentration, and clarity.
- ⅓ teaspoon bacopa powder
- ⅓ teaspoon licorice powder
- ⅓ teaspoon shankhapushpi powder
- 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
You might also enjoy adding lemon balm, dried orange peel, or chamomile flowers.
Steep 1 teaspoon of the three-herb blend in 1 cup of hot water. Let it steep for 3–5 minutes or until desired strength, and strain. As the tea is bitter, it is nice to sweeten with your favorite sweetener.
Supplements for Memory and Focus
To further support and nourish the mind, consider a mindfulness practice, meditation, and yoga asanas.2 Pranayama, a healthy daily routine, and diet that is right for your constitution are also recommended for supported well-being. If you aren’t sure of your constitution, take the Ayurvedic Profile™ quiz. Be loving to yourself. Take care of your whole self, especially in times of stress and hard work.
“It is very important that we re-learn the art of resting and relaxing. Not only does it help prevent the onset of many illnesses that develop through chronic tension and worrying, it allows us to clear our minds, focus, and find creative solutions to problems.”
Let bacopa be your partner in keeping calm and enjoying life, one moment at a time.