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Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD

Ashwagandha Vs Bacopa: What's The Difference Between These 2 Adaptogenic Herbs?

Bacopa monnieri and Ashwagandha are adaptogenic herbs that assist the body in managing stress and maintaining balance. Ashwagandha, a tonic with anti-stress properties, is beneficial for calming the nervous system, improving sleep, supporting thyroid function, and enhancing cognitive performance. Conversely, Bacopa monnieri, a brain tonic and memory enhancer, supports mental clarity and alertness, and increases blood flow to the brain for improved cognitive function. 


Bacopa monnieri and Ashwagandha are two popular herbs that have been relied on for centuries, namely in Ayurvedic herbal medicine, an ancient healing paradigm originating in India. 

Both herbs are known for their adaptogenic properties, meaning they help the body to cope with chronic stress and maintain a state of harmony and balance. While they share some similarities, there are also notable differences between the two herbs as well. 

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is a shrub that grows in the drier regions of India, Africa, and the Middle East. In Ayurvedic medicine it is considered a rejuvenating tonic and adaptogenic herb with powerful anti-stress properties that can help to calm the nervous system. The name Ashwagandha is derived from the Sanskrit words ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell, as the roots of the plant are said to have a horse-like smell. [1]

Bacopa, also known as Bacopa monnieri, is a small, creeping herb that grows in wetlands and marshy areas in India and other parts of Asia. It has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine as a brain tonic and memory enhancer. The herb is also known as Brahmi, a name that is derived from the Hindu god Brahma, who is associated with knowledge and wisdom. [2]




Similarities between Ashwagandha and Bacopa monnieri 


The main similarity between Bacopa and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is that both are adaptogenic herbs that help the body cope better in response to stress. Both herbs have been shown to help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety, support thyroid function, and improve sleep while reducing the unfortunate side effects that a high-stress level can have on the body. [3] [4]

In addition, both Bacopa monnieri and Ashwagandha have been shown to have neuroprotective properties, meaning they can help to protect the brain and improve cognitive function. Bacopa monnieri, in particular, has been shown to improve memory recall, while Ashwagandha has been shown to improve reaction time and cognitive performance. [5] [6] [7]




Differences between Ashwagandha and Bacopa monnieri 


Despite these similarities, there are also some notable differences between the two herbs. Bacopa monnieri is primarily known for its cognitive-enhancing properties to support mental clarity and mental alertness, while Ashwagandha is known as a powerful tool for stress relief.

Bacopa monnieri has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain in animals (similarly to ginko biloba), which can help to improve cognitive function and brain health, making it a part of the plantbased nootropics family as well as an adaptogenic herb. It contains compounds called bacosides, which have been shown to protect neurons in the brain and improve communication between brain cells. [8] [9]

Ashwagandha, on the other hand, has been shown to also support thyroid function in those struggling with hypothyroidism. Multiple studies also show that ashwagandha supplementation may improve sleep duration and quality while also reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. [10] 

In terms of safety, both Bacopa monnieri and Ashwagandha are generally considered to be safe when taken in recommended doses. However, like all herbal supplements, they can interact with certain medications and may not be suitable for everyone. It is always important to speak to a healthcare professional before taking any new supplement.




How to take Ashwagandha and Bacopa monnieri?


When looking for an Ashwagandha or Bacopa supplement, there are several key factors to consider to ensure you are getting a high-quality product.

  1. Potency: Look for a supplement that contains a high concentration of withanolides, the active compounds in ashwagandha that are responsible for its health benefits. A good ashwagandha supplement should contain at least 5% withanolides.

  2. Purity: Look for a supplement that is free from contaminants and fillers. The ashwagandha and/or bacopa should be sourced from a reputable supplier and processed using high-quality standards.

  3. Extraction method: Look for a supplement that uses a high-quality extraction method to ensure maximum bioavailability and absorption of the active compounds.

  4. Third-party testing: Look for a supplement that has been tested by an independent third-party lab to ensure that it meets quality and purity standards.

The great news is that NutriRise Ashwagandha fulfills all of these key factors for finding the perfect Ashwagandha supplement! What’s more, NutriRise Ashwagandha contains organic black pepper extract, which is a powerful bioenhancer shown to boost the absorption of certain plant extracts by up to 2000%!

Additionally, Ashwagandha and Bacopa monnieri extract are key ingredients found in NutriRise Superfood Greens.

NutriRise Superfood Greens provides a convenient way to incorporate both these herbs into your daily routine, along with other nutrient-rich superfoods to provide a powerful blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for holistic stress support and elevated overall health and well-being.




Final thoughts

In conclusion, Bacopa and Ashwagandha are two herbal remedies that have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for their health-promoting properties. While they share some similarities, these herbal supplements also have notable differences in terms of their primary benefits and mechanisms of action. Whether you're looking to reduce your stress level or improve cognitive function and enhance your focus and clarity, both herbs have something to offer! 

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice to treat cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any dietary supplement.



Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD
As a qualified Nutritional Therapist (BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD), Zaheera Swing has a deep passion for restoring balance and harmony to the body through the modalities of nutritional science, herbalism, and holistic lifestyle practices. Using the functional medicine model coupled with wisdom from ancient paradigms, she aims to provide insight into the underlying root causes of poor health and the holistic tools we can harness to enhance the well-being of mind, body, and spirit.
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