Designed to support a healthy stress response and optimal cognitive ability, Happy Caps is a proprietary blend of five traditional herbs: Bacopa, Gotu Kola (Brahmi), Shankpushpi, Skullcap and Passion Flower. By tonifying the nervous system, it encourages stabilized mood, cognitive function, healthy sleep cycles, and the balancing of other stress-related concerns.*
Suggested Use: Take 1 capsule two times per day after meals, or as directed by your health care professional.
Bottle Contains: 90 vegetarian capsules, 475mg each
Ingredients: Wildcrafted Bacopa monnieri (Bacopa Herb), Wildcrafted Centella asiatica (Gotu Kola Herb), Organic Evolvulus alsinoides (Shankpushpi Herb), Organic Scutellaria lateriflora (Skullcap Herb), Organic Passiflora incarnata (Passion Flower Herb)
(Go to Ayurvedic Herbal Makeup)
Does not contain: Yeast, gluten, corn, soy, milk, fish, animal products, binders, fillers, preservatives or artificial coloring
The adrenal gland is the primary manufacturing site for the stress hormone, cortisol. While small, intermittent dosages of cortisol throughout the day are manageable by the body, long-term excessive exposure has a degenerative effect.
Initially, the primary role of the adrenals is to deal with emergencies. Like a fireman putting out fires, the adrenals secrete cortisol to stop stress-related reduction in the flow of vital nutrients to the affected area. Some of cortisol’s beneficial roles in fighting stress are: (1)
- It reduces the production of proteolytic enzymes that are secreted by cells in reaction to the stressful event. Initially, production of these enzymes is a protective response to the release of stress-related histamine into the bloodstream, but too much can become a problem, so the body is constantly trying to find this balance when under stress.
- Adrenal cortisol decreases the ability of the capillaries to push excess fluid into the stressed area.
- Cortisol temporarily decreases white blood cell flow to the area, preventing the stressed cells from becoming overwhelmed by excess fluid.
- Cortisol blocks lymphatic drainage of the area. Again, in an attempt to wall the area off to prevent excess fluid circulation.
Too Much of a Good Thing
The stress response is critical to our survival – it is the “save your life” response that turns on anytime we need to act fast and in protection of ourselves and our loved ones. The problem happens when we rely solely on this response for extended periods of time and our body begins to experience the effects of long-term stress. Ayurveda combines lifestyle, diet, exercise, and behavior along with supplements that, when used in concert to mitigate the physical, mental and emotional response to stress, but more importantly to support our ability to approach everyday stress consciously and mindfully. When we prime the system in this way, we become better able to deal with stressful situations from a calm and centered place.
Happy Caps blend of five herbs work synergistically together to support a healthy response to stress and maintain the overall health of the adrenal system, helping us cope better with normal levels of stress and prevent it from becoming overwhelming. These herbs have also traditionally been used to calm the mind, gently boost energy levels, support cognitive function, and protect against stress-related imbalances.
Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri)
While bacopa has been indicated in support of numerous brain and neurological health mechanisms, it seems to stand out as support for healthy cognitive function, memory, focus, clarity, mood, and learning. (2-4)
Bacosides are a well-studied constituent of bacopa that work specifically on the brain and Central Nervous System (CNS). They have been shown to be neuroprotective, neurotransmitter-stimulating, brain antioxidants that boost cerebral blood flow. (2)
Bacopa has also been shown to support healthy cerebral blood flow, which is important for numerous reasons. CSF production is derived by a concentration of blood vessels in the base of the brain called the choroid plexus. Here, cerebral spinal fluid or CSF is oozed out of these vessels and rinsed from one brain ventricle space to the next, as it systematically washes the brain of toxins. It is here that bacopa and its numerous constituents cross the blood-brain barrier.
A 2002 study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that using bacopa for three months may bolster natural memory function. When 76 participants were tested on retention of new information, the placebo group forgot the information more quickly than the group taking bacopa. (5)
In addition to the improved cognitive function reported by a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the participants taking bacopa also showed more stable mood, and their heart rates under stress were decreased over time. (6) The Journal of Ethnopharmacology reported a study done on rats where the brains of animals that were pre-treated with bacopa were less affected by stress and the animals were physically better able to cope with stress. (7)
The University of Michigan Health System website states that bacopa supports the effects of certain neurotransmitters, including serotonin and acetylcholine. (8) This effect on neurotransmitters is what enables bacopa to support stable mood. Recent animal studies of bacopa’s effectiveness in supporting spatial memory have produced positive results. (9)
The Difference Between Bacopa and Brahmi
Brahmi is a common name used for two very important Ayurvedic herbs used for enhancing and caring for brain function. Bacopa monnieri is called brahmi in south India, and Centella asiatica is called brahmi (or gotu kola) in the north of India, where it more commonly grows.
As you can see, both brahmi and bacopa are two powerful herbs for the brain, which explains how well they can work together to boost brain function and keep the central nervous system (CNS) healthy.
Bacopa was used in conjunction with brahmi in ancient times to help memorize lengthy Vedic hymns and chants as a part of their tradition. (2)
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
Research on this small perennial, herbal creeper with cute, kidney-shaped leaves called Centella asiatica or brahmi, has new and well-documented special effects.
In one study, 40 healthy subjects were given an acoustic startle response (ASR) test along with a mood self-rating scale. Thirty minutes after ingesting 12g of Brahmi mixed in juice, there was a significant reduction in the ASR. This study suggests that brahmi supports a healthy mood response to stress, once again affirming what Ayurveda has historically praised and relied on this herb for. (10)
Brahmi is touted as the most rejuvenating herb in Ayurveda. It has been used for thousands of years to revitalize the nerves and brain cells. According to the Yoga Book of Herbs by David Frawley, it:
- Increases mental clarity (11)
- Supports healthy memory (11)
- Promotes healthy aging (11)
- Boosts immunity (11)
The leaf of the brahmi plant resembles the cerebellum and is traditionally used to promote memory and cognitive function and to relax the central nervous system. Brahmi supports restful sleep, calms emotional turbulence, and simultaneously promotes concentration and alertness. In Ayurveda, it is known as a brain tonic and may actually work on the brain through its effect on the gut microbiology.
Brahmi is neither a stimulant nor a sedative — it is classified as an adaptogen, a unique type of herb that helps manage the body’s natural response to stress and maintain homeostasis of energy levels. Because of these qualities, it is a deeply rejuvenating herb. The test of a true adaptogen is if it can give you energy during the day while still helping you sleep at night. When taken before bed, brahmi can support the ability to fall asleep more naturally and to sleep deeply. Conversely, if you are slow to rise in the morning, you can take brahmi upon waking to support your body’s natural process of awakening both calmly and with vital energy.
Shankpusphi (Evolvulus alsinoides)
Also known as dwarf morning glory, this herb is a fellow nervine superstar traditionally understood to help calm the entire nervous system and support memory and learning. It addresses imbalances by directing vata downward (upwards moving vata being a common problem in the western cultures). Recent studies in animal models have confirmed its ability to positively affect adrenal health, catalase activity and levels of superoxide dismutase and glutathione in the blood and brain, supporting the body’s natural ability to protect the nervous system against oxidative stress. (12-14)
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Skullcap is another well-studied adaptogen, nervous system and mood tonic that can support healthy daytime energy and the ability to settle the nervous system in the evening. (15-17) It has traditionally been used by native tribes of North America as a nerve tonic. Recent studies have found that the bioactive compounds of the plant act as powerful free radical scavengers that can help suppress oxidative stress (18). Research has also shown that its main chemical compound, baicalein, is a powerful lipophilic flavonoid with the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and directly access the Central Nervous System (CNS) (19) This new data supports the traditional understanding of this herb’s powerful ability to support balanced mood and healthy adrenal function.
Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)
Passion flower supports healthy mood and energy during the day while supporting normal sleep cycles at night. For centuries, it has been used as a nervous system, mood, and sleep tonic. It has been popular in recent years as a dietary supplement used to combat anxiety and nervousness, usually in combination with other herbs. (20-22) Recent studies using animal models have confirmed that the herb has a positive effect on spatial memory, cortisol levels and overall cognitive function under stress via GABA receptors. (23) In another study in elderly individuals with nervous restlessness, treatment for 12 weeks with passion flower resulted in significant improvement in self-reported overall resilience, or ability to adapt to changes in their lives and Quality of Life. (24) It is still unclear which chemical compounds in the herb are responsible for these changes, supporting supplementation with a whole herb instead of a standardized constituent extract.
Ayurvedic Herbal Makeup
1. Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. Twelfth Edition. Saunders Press. Philadelphia PA pg. 931
11. Yoga Book of Herbs, Frawley, Lad. Lotus Press. 1986. p-173