Bacopa55, derived from the Indian herb Bacopa monniera, can improve memory and enhance learning, said the firm. Bacopa monniera, also known as Brahmi, is a perennial creeping herb found in damp marshy areas, and has been used in Indian folklore as a nerve tonic. It is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic system of healing that evolved from ancient India some 3,000-5,000 years ago. The branded Bacopa55 ingredient, which is manufactured by Laila, has been sold in India for around a decade, explained PLT's brand manager Eric Anderson. The companies have only now received the license to bring the ingredient to the North American market, where it made its debut at the recent Supply Side East (SSE) trade show in Secaucus, NJ. Active compounds According to Dr C N Ramchand, CEO of Laila group company Laila Pharmaceuticals, who presented the new ingredient at SSE, the memory enhancing effect of Bacopa monniera has been traced to a mixture of two constituents: Bacoside A and Bacoside B. These compounds, known as triterpenoid saponins, are the two major constituents in Bacopa55, said Dr Ramchand. Bacopa55, so called as it is standardized to 55 percent bacosides, is thought to contain an optimum concentration of triterpine saponins for memory enhancement. It was developed by scientists at India's Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), a government organization, which then licensed it to Lumen Marketing Company. Lumen in turn teamed up with Laila to manufacture and market the ingredient in India. Lumen has now given its go-ahead for Laila to collaborate with PLT in order to bring the ingredient to the North American marketplace. Science According to PLT, Bacopa55 has been shown to "significantly" promote memory and enhance learning in human studies. The ingredient has also been shown to improve early information processing, verbal learning and memory consolidation, said the firm. NutraIngredients-USA.com has not seen full details of the studies supporting bacopa's benefits. However, PLT made references to numerous studies, some of which are mentioned below. A study dating back to 1996 (Ind. J. Pharmacol) found bacopa to be safe in healthy human volunteers administered with standardized bacoside enriched extract at a daily oral dose of 200mg/day for four weeks. Other studies published in 1980, 1987 and 1993 have shown memory enhancement in patients with anxiety neurosis, as well as improved mental performance in children. In addition, a children's study with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHA) using Bacopa55 showed "significant improvements" in memory scores of several test systems, including sentence repetition, logical memory, word recall and delayed response (CDRI Annual Report, 2000-2001). Bacopa55 is also thought to be beneficial for elderly people suffering from Age Associated Memory Impairment. The ingredient was shown to improve mental control logical memory, digit forward, digit backward and paired associated memory. According to PLT, Bacopa55 is "safe, well-tolerated and devoid of any undesirable side effects". Positioning and partnerships PLT is positioning the ingredient for use in three major applications, said Anderson. These are: children, to provide a calming benefit and help with concentration; adults, to help promote memory performance and to acquire and retain information; and seniors, to help with the ability to recall, especially short-term recall. Anderson told NutraIngredients-USA.com that it is looking for partners to bring the ingredient to the North American dietary supplement market. The firm is particularly looking for companies with strong distribution networks and a proven marketing track record in the five major channels: Mass market, health food channels, direct to consumer, multi-level marketing, and complementary alternative medicine.