Common side effects of bacopa include increased bowl movements, stomach cramps, nausea, dry mouth and fatigue, according to WebMD. More serious side effects include slow heart rate, gastrointestinal tract blockage, ulcers, lung conditions and urinary tract obstruction. Bacopa goes by other names such as brahmi, jalanimba and Indian pennywort. The scientific name of the plant is "Bacopa monnieri." The substance is sold as a supplement in the United States.
Bacopa is used to treat Alzheimer's disease, memory loss, anxiety, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome and stress, according to WebMD. The supplement may increase brain chemicals involved in thinking, learning and memory. Research suggests the plant may block the chemicals that cause Alzheimer's disease.
A clinical trial of "Bacopa monnieri" extract lasted 12 weeks in 2008. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reports that the study, which was conducted in Portland, Ore., examined 48 healthy patients over age 65, who did not show any signs of dementia. Cognitive function increased in the control group versus the placebo group. Heart rate slowed for those who took the extract. Stomach upset was the primary side effect reported. The dosage of the extract in the clinical trial was 300 milligrams.
"Bacopa monnieri" grows in wet, tropical environments. Under the name water hyssop, the plant is sold as an addition to aquariums. It has been used in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) for centuries, according to the clinical trial report.