Adaptogenic effect of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi)

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Jul;75(4):823-30. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(03)00156-4.


As stress is linked to many diseases, research on an effective antistress agent (adaptogen) from plants has gained importance. We report the investigations on the adaptogenic property of a standardized extract of Bacopa monniera against acute (AS) and chronic stress (CS) models in rats. Panax root powder (Panax quinquefolium) was taken as a standard. Male SD rats, weighing 180-200 g, exposed to immobilization stress for 150 min once only for AS and for seven consecutive days in CS, were fed with B. monniera or Panax root powder daily for 3 days in AS and for 7 days in CS, 45 min prior to each exposure of stress. Rats were sacrificed immediately after stress, the blood was collected, and the plasma was separated out for biochemical estimation. Adrenals, spleen, and thymus were dissected for organ weight and stomach for ulcer score. AS exposure significantly increased the ulcer index, adrenal gland weight, plasma glucose, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and creatine kinase (CK) but significantly decreased the spleen weight. Pretreatment with B. monniera at 40 mg/kg po significantly reduced the AS-induced increase in the ulcer index, adrenal gland weight, plasma glucose, AST, and CK. A dose of 80 mg/kg po significantly reversed the AS-induced changes in adrenal gland weight, spleen weight, plasma glucose, ALT, and AST. Panax root powder, 100 mg/kg po, significantly reversed the AS-induced changes in spleen weight, plasma ALT, AST, and CK. CS exposure resulted in a significant increase in the ulcer index, adrenal gland weight, plasma AST, and CK with a significant decrease in the thymus and spleen weight, plasma triglyceride, and cholesterol. Pretreatment with low dose of B. monniera extract at 40 mg/kg significantly reversed changes in ulcer index and plasma AST only, whereas the pretreatment with higher dose significantly reversed CS-induced changes in ulcer index, adrenal gland weight, CK, and AST. Panax root powder significantly reversed CS-induced increase in ulcer index, adrenal gland weight, CK, and AST. On the basis of our result, it is concluded that the standardized extract of B. monniera possesses a potent adaptogenic activity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adaptation, Psychological / drug effects*
  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology
  • Animals
  • Bacopa*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plant Roots
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stress, Physiological / blood
  • Stress, Physiological / drug therapy*


  • Plant Extracts