Protection from phenytoin-induced cognitive deficit by Bacopa monniera, a reputed Indian nootropic plant

J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Aug;71(3):383-90. doi: 10.1016/s0378-8741(99)00213-5.


Many epileptic patients suffer from cognitive impairments; both the underlying pathology and antiepileptic drug therapy can cause such deficits. Phenytoin, one of the widely used anticonvulsants, is known to adversely affect cognitive function. A reputed Indian nootropic plant Bacopa monniera (BM) was evaluated alone and in combination with phenytoin for its effect on (a) passive-avoidance (PA) task; (b) maximal electroshock seizures; and (c) locomotor activity in mice. Phenytoin (PHT, 25 mg/kg po x 14 days) adversely affected cognitive function in the PA task. BM extract (40 mg/kg x 7 days), given along with phenytoin in the second week of the two-week regimen, significantly reversed PHT-induced impairment. Both acquisition and retention of memory showed improvement without affecting its anticonvulsant activity. The observed cognitive effects of PHT and BM were found to be independent of motor stimulation. The results provide evidence for potential corrective effect of BM in cognitive deficit associated with PHT therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / toxicity*
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Electroshock
  • India
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Phenytoin / toxicity*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Phenytoin