Anxiolytic effects of Bacopa monnieri

The current interest in the anxiolytic properties of Bacopa monnieri extract assumes greater relevance in view of the fact that Bacopa monnieri promotes cognition unlike the amnesic action of benzodiazepine anxiolytics. One study compared the anxiolytic effect of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract (25.5% bacosides) with that of benzodiazepine. The effects of Bacopa monnieri extract at levels of 5, 10 and 20 mg/kg administered orally to rats were compared to those elicited by lorazepam (0.5 mg/kg administered intraperitoneally). The higher doses of Bacopa monnieri extract produced significantly greater anxiolytic effects compared to lorazepam.

A recent conference presentation summarized the anxiolytic profile of standardized Brahmi extract. Two batches of the extract were subjected to a number of CNS tests in animal models. The authors concluded that the mild anxiolytic effects exhibited by Brahmi extracts were partly responsible for the role of Brahmi in improving cognitive functions.

Standardized extracts of Brahmi were found to exhibit nootropic effects. Besides enhancing cognitive functions, they neither showed classical stimulant nor depressant effects on the central nervous system. The extracts were found to increase barbiturate-induced sleeping time, increase survival time under low oxygen levels, reduce clonidine-induced fighting and biting behavior and reduce hyperactivity in amphetamine-treated animals. In addition, the extracts also blocked secondary conditioned response in a conditioned avoidance response, suggesting a mild anxiolytic effect. (Conditioned avoidance response is a type of behavior in which the animal avoids stimuli that it associates with anxiety-provoking symptoms, thereby reducing anxiety. This becomes a positive reinforcer for continuing avoidance). The lack of secondary conditioned avoidance shown by the animals suggests that the extract lowers anxiety levels.