Singh and Singh performed clinical studies on the anti-anxiety effect of Bacopa monnieri. Thirty-five patients suffering from anxiety neurosis were selected for this study. They were divided into two groups. One group was followed for two weeks from the commencement of the therapy, and the other group was followed for four weeks. After clinical diagnosis and baseline evaluation, the patients received a regimen of treatment with Brahmi syrup at a dosage of 30 ml per day in two divided doses (the total daily dose provided 12 g of dry, crude Bacopa monnieri ) for a period of one month. The patients followed a uniform diet.
Clinical assessment of the Brahmi treatment was based on the following performance parameters evaluated at weekly intervals:
The mean total anxiety level of each patient over the selected time period (two or four weeks) was assessed using the sinha anxiety scale. The mean total anxiety level in the group of patients evaluated during two weeks of therapy was 34.88 compared to the corresponding baseline value of 53.22 (p<0.01). Similarly, the mean total anxiety level in the patients followed after 4 weeks was 40.70 compared to the baseline pretreatment value of 49.05. (p < 0.01) . These results suggest that treatment with the extract helped to lower the anxiety levels significantly.
Anxiety neurosis often manifests itself in behavioral problems, such as inability to adjust to situations encountered in daily life, including social interactions and work-related activities (maladjustment). The mean total maladjustment level in patients was assessed using the guidelines provided by Asthana. The degree of maladjustment in patients after two weeks of treatment was 138.17, compared to its corresponding pretreatment value of 166.0 (p<0.01). The mean maladjustment level in patients after four weeks of therapy was 132.02, which was significantly (p<0.01) lower than the corresponding pretreatment value of 166.28.
Improved disability level
Anxiety neurosis is characterized by the inability to manage personal, social and occupational challenges effectively. It is classified as a disability in psychology. The disability level and also its personal, social and occupational components were found to decrease after treatment with Brahmi as assessed by the guidelines provided by Asthana. The mean disability score in patients after two weeks of therapy was 40.17 compared to the corresponding pretreatment value of 61.58 (p<0.01). A similar trend of reduction in the level of disability was observed in patients after four weeks.
Effects on mental fatigue rate
The mental fatigue rate was determined in terms of total work output for a given time and the number of mistakes that a person made during work. The assessment was based on the results of Joshi’s digit cancellation test. The mean work output in patients followed up for two weeks under treatment was 711.15 compared to the corresponding pretreatment value of 688.15 (p<0.01). Similarly, the mean work output in patients followed for four weeks was 855.80 compared to the corresponding pretreatment value of 801.65 (p<0.01).
Effects on immediate memory span
According to Joshi’s digit retention test, Brahmi has been shown to significantly increase immediate memory span. The mean memory span in patients after two weeks was 5.89 compared to the corresponding pretreatment value of 5.43, (p<0.01). The mean immediate memory span in patients after 4 weeks was 6.37 compared to the initial value of 5.94 (p < 0.01)
The patients reported relief from symptoms such as insomnia, headache, fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration, anorexia, dyspepsia, tremors, palpitation, and nervousness.
There was a significant increase in body weight at the end of 4th week of treatment with Brahmi. The body weight changes at the end of the 2nd week of treatment were not statistically significant. Similarly, a significant lowering in the rate of respiration was noted, and the breath-holding time significantly increased after both two and four weeks of the evaluation. Pulse rate and blood pressure-lowering were not statistically significant during the course of the treatment.
The authors of this study concluded that Brahmi produces significant anti-anxiety effects in humans without subjectively or objectively reported side effects.
The stress-related increased secretion of the adrenal hormones was moderated in the course of the treatment with Brahmi. Levels of excreted urinary metabolites of adrenal hormones were lowered as a result of the treatment. This finding suggests that treatment with Brahmi helped to reduce psychosomatic stress levels in the subjects, leading to lowered secretion of stress hormones.