How do brain-health Ayurvedic herbs Oroxylum indicum and Bacopa monnieri differ when it comes to supporting BDNF activity? Natural Products Expo West report

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At Expo West, Sabinsa, a supplier of Bacopa monnieri and Oroxylum indicum ingredients for brain health, explained how they each benefit cognition differently.

Bacopa monnieri is an established Ayurvedic herbal ingredient in the brain supplements space, but there’s another Ayurvedic herb growing its presence in the market: Oroxylum indicum. At March’s Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA, ingredient supplier Sabinsa Corp. (East Windsor, NJ), which supplies both bacopa and oroxylum extracts for brain health, explained why the two herbs work differently, each with its own benefits.

Sabinsa’s trademarked Oroxylum indicum bark extract ingredient, named Sabroxy, is standardized to the compounds oroxylin-A, baicalein, and chrysin. At Expo West, Anurag Pande, PhD, Sabinsa’s vice president of scientific affairs, said that Oroxylum indicum is specifically shown to improve brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activity.

BDNF activity is critical for memory retention, including memory formation and recall, he said. To this end, Sabroxy is suited for use by both young and older people. For younger consumers, he said, “You are working more years in your office now, so those requirements also push the need for having better cognitive health. BDNF increase actually helps to fill that gap where you can show better memory performance at the early stage and you can recall and retain calculations, etc. So that’s an area where this ingredient will have benefits—maintaining that active lifestyle for the long run.”

By contrast, he said, bacopa is less studied in the area of BDNF activity. “Bacopa works on protein kinase activity…but it doesn’t have that specificity in terms of BDNF mechanism of action,” he explained. He added that “Bacopa is beneficial when you are taking it at the early stage of your life.” For instance, he said, it’s been shown to help with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

When Sabinsa launched Sabroxy, he said, the company didn’t want to add just any ingredient to the nootropic market but wanted to find one that actually filled a gap, which he says Oroxylum indicum does. Today, he said, “Bacopa has been one of the big sellers for us, but we find that Sabroxy is not overtaking the bacopa market; it’s making its own market.”