Proprietary Bacognize® Extract is a natural standardized formula derived from Bacopa monnieri known to promote cognitive function, cognitive acuity, focus without stimulating side effects, and working memory. Backed by thousands of years of traditional use, Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri), has been used in Ayurveda for a multitude of purposes, such as its Nootropic effects promoting cognitive health. Bacopa is a low-lying perennial succulent plant known to filter toxins from its surrounding environment. This water-loving herb grows in ponds, tidal lands, and wetlands in the tropical climates of Southern and Eastern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, Sri Lanka, and North and South America.
A majority of Bacopa in India is grown in the rice paddy fields of Eastern and North-Eastern India after the rice crop harvest, where the soil is known to have trace residue of agricultural herbicides and pesticides commonly used in rice agriculture and harvest, which has the potential to contaminate the botanical. Moreover, traditional open drying practices are not controlled to protect the Bacopa crop from possible fungal growth during storage that may also lead to contamination. Offering a clean label ingredient is of paramount importance and Verdure has taken additional initiatives to include traceable and sustainable solutions in managing the supply chain of Bacopa.
In a recent digital interview with Dr. Lal Hingorani, PhD, and Dr. Shweta Singh, BSc, MSc, PhD, Verdure was able to capture a more robust picture to the initiatives in place to maintain full traceability of this particular botanical.
Dr. Hingorani explained of traditional Bacopa supply chains compared to those that are established with Bacognize® Extract:
Bacopa Monnieri germinates in roughly a week and grows in damp land; often It is called Neer Brahmi with Neer meaning water and Bhrami referring to Bacopa. It requires lot of water and land that retains water. Though it commonly grows in Southern and Eastern India, the one grown in Eastern India has shown the highest content of Bacosides, or active component/s in Bacopa known for its activity in supporting brain health.
As a weed, it grows in the rice fields in Eastern India. After the rice is harvested and the first rain, Bacopa begins to germinate. Farmers in the region are familiar with the properties of this herb, so they collect it and dry it on side of their fields. The farmers work with herbal traders who then supply the Bacopa to the industry. As a secondary crop for rice farmers, little care is taken for drying or cleaning of the Bacopa post-harvest, resulting in a lot of mud sticking to the roots and other weeds finding their way into the extractors, thereby increasing the likelihood of adulteration. Additionally, as it grows in rice fields, Bacopa will have residues from pesticides and weedicides commonly used for rice crops.
However, there are islands in the Ganges basin in Eastern India which have a steady supply of clean water; the land is fertile for this crop, and nothing is cultivated on those islands, making the decision to cultivate Bacopa an easy one. We started cultivation of Bacopa in this region with tribal partnerships and have forged lasting relationships with at least 100 tribal families to cultivate Bacopa on these islands. The final Bacopa product is clean with controlled drying and collection techniques, which allows us to secure a sustainable supply chain while providing a reliable livelihood to the tribal populations staying on these islands.
We are able to provide training to the tribal communities and this ensures that growing, post-harvest processing, and packing is done as per our requirements, which in turn provides both a quality and consistent Bacopa extract.
While Bacopa is not generally adulterated for commercial purpose like some botanicals, it is sometimes misunderstood for Centella asiatica, which is also commonly called Brahmi in India. Thus, it is very important to ensure proper botanical ID testing for Bacopa monnieri. Though both look physically different as plants during the growth phase in the fields, post-harvest and drying could create challenges to differentiate between the two botanicals. We have both in-house and third party ID testing techniques that we have adopted at Verdure to ensure the proper identification of our Bacopa monnieri.
Further, when we interviewed Dr. Singh in regard to Bacopa and Bacognize:
Specifically looking at Bacopa extracts, what, in your opinion, are key traits of a safe, effective, and traceable Bacopa extract?
Authenticated raw material, control on the quality of biomass, bioactive constituents, compliance with international regulatory requirements for heavy metals, pesticides, Polyaromatic hydrocarbons PaH, microbial loads are some of the crucial factors. Safety and efficacy evaluation of the plant extract also play a vital role.
What misconceptions surround Bacopa extracts and their supply chain? What impact/s does this have on providing a clean label ingredient?
Adulteration in herbal products could have serious health implications, which could lead to safety concerns, thus lowering consumer confidence and ultimately reducing the trade value of the herbal products. Therefore, proper identification tools (microscopy, macroscopy, and chemical), source traceability, and impurity testing are critical for justification of authenticity.
Where do you see safety, proven efficacy, and sustainability interest? What impact does this have on the industry?
Bacopa is a promising herb with huge market demand due to its medicinal properties. The efficacy and safety of Bacopa monnieri has been well studied through a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials examining the beneficial effects of Bacopa monnieri, and in particular, its cognitive functions. This provides even more validation to the importance of safety, quality, and sustainability of Bacopa. Provided these requirements are met, we anticipate the demand for this botanical to continue to grow globally.
Do you see adulteration as a concern for Bacopa extracts and if so, why/can you expand upon this concern?
Yes, indeed this is one of the major concerns. However, being one of the key players in the herbal space and having close to two decades of experience with Bacopa in particular, we have certainly learned a lot over the years. We have put appropriate measures in place including traceability initiatives, identification, chemical and impurity testing to ensure the appropriate qualifications of the Bacopa extracts we supply to the herbal industry.
Based on your years of experience, what are some unique and effective ways of mitigating adulteration concerns in the natural products industry?
It starts with identifying the indigenous regions where the botanical best thrives and is traditionally grown and harvested; working closely with local tribes, farmers/growers to understand the history of how the botanical grows, is harvested and processed post-harvest. This knowledge provides valuable information to help manage adulteration with other locally grown botanicals and foreign matter. In addition appropriate ID methods including microscopy, macroscopy, chemical, and DNA techniques can further validate the authenticity of the botanical. The ability to work directly with growers and collectors also helps in limiting the number of sourcing tiers and would be extremely useful in controlling adulteration. Finally, at the manufacturing level, having stringent processes and GMPs at every stage in the production process would eliminate the incorporation of adulterants.
Proprietary Bacognize® Extract is a natural standardized formula derived from Bacopa monnieri known to promote cognitive function, cognitive acuity, focus, and working memory. Backed by thousands of years of traditional use, Bacopa, has been used in Ayurveda for a multitude of purposes, such as its Nootropic effects promoting cognitive health. For more information on Bacognize Extract and Bacopa monnieri from Verdure Sciences, visit vs-corp.com/bacognize †
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Read more on Vitafoods Insights: Supply chains, sustainability, and traceability for bacopa
About Verdure Sciences®: Verdure Sciences® manages ingredient innovation through the integration of supply network, production, and research platforms. With an expanding pipeline of proprietary, standardized botanical ingredients supported by pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and clinical research profiles, we work toward our unified vision to offer safe, effective ingredient solutions. Verdure Sciences® is a registered trademark of Verdure Sciences®, Inc. Visit vs-corp.com for more information.
About Bacognize®: Proprietary Bacognize® extract is a natural standardized formula derived from Bacopa monnieri, known to promote cognitive function. Backed by thousands of years of traditional use, Bacopa monnieri, has been used in Ayurveda for a multitude of purposes, such as its Nootropic effects promoting cognitive health. Bacognize® is a registered trademark of Verdure Sciences