Bacopa monnieri, a low-lying succulent natural to ponds, tidal lands, and wetlands in tropical climates like Southern and Eastern India is well known for its potential health benefits, specifically for cognitive function, cognitive acuity, focus, and memory. Often grown in the rice paddy fields after the rice crop harvest, where it is common to have trace residue of agricultural herbicides and pesticides, there is significant concern around potential contaminants to the botanical if used for human consumption. While its benefits are sought after by many, these supply chain concerns make it critical that Bacopa monnieri is held to a high standard of traceability, transparency, and quality with clear supply chain visibility.
Not only are growing conditions a concern, but often when collected and dried on the side of the field these plants can be exposed to additional environmental pollutants, fungal growth, and further contaminants. Without proper training and knowledge, growing and harvesting conditions may lead to more concerns in sourcing quality ingredients for the future as demand increases. At Verdure, we work hard to establish clean and transparent supply chains for our Bacopa monnieri extract, Bacognize®, and to bring safe, efficacious ingredients to our customers.
We accomplish this through a variety of initiatives and quality controls to secure our supply chain. Identifying the indigenous regions where the botanical best thrives and is traditionally grown allows for close working relationships with local tribes, farmers/growers. Understanding how and where the botanical grows, is harvested, and then processed post-harvest helps to limit the number of sourcing tiers which is extremely useful in controlling adulteration.
“As we know, the herbal industry is very much dependent on global supply chains and especially the botanicals which are trending with consumers and with increased growth,” said Ajay Patel, founder and CEO of Verdure Sciences. “It is very likely that brand owners may scramble for raw materials to keep their pipeline filled, and, as a result, are diverting to suppliers that may not be qualified or trustworthy,” Patel added.
Additionally, at the manufacturing level, having stringent processes and GMPs offers further trust and traceability. Standards such as these in addition to a secure supply chain, build confidence in Verdure’s Bacopa monnieri and support longevity and security in a consistent offering that weathers the increased demand.
Further, rigorous identification procedures are required for Bacopa, also called Brahmi, as it has multiple common names. It is often mistaken for Centella asiatica, which is also commonly called Brahmi in India. Though both look physically different as plants during growth, once they are harvested and dry, challenges to differentiate the two botanicals can occur.
With this in mind, it is important to note that any adulteration in herbal products could have health implications, safety concerns, and lowered consumer confidence; ultimately reducing the trade value of the herbal products. Therefore, proper identification tools, source traceability, and impurity testing are critical for justification of authenticity as well as trustworthy partners and proper education for producing safe ingredients.
At Verdure, we implement sustainability and traceability initiatives as well as testing and quality protocols to meet demand with quality ingredients. Verdure works with locals and farmers providing training and education for clean label supply chains for botanicals, such as Bacopa monnieri. Additionally, we provide harvesting recommendations in enclosed controlled areas to avoid added environmental and contaminant concerns. By working with farmers and local populations, we can provide more transparency in our Bacopa monnieri, thus standardizing the supply chain with multiple controls to meet quality requirements. Through this work with locals and farmer we are also able to forge lasting relationships with established standards while providing reliable livelihoods.
Apart from secure supply chains and growing techniques, third-party certifications are another important part of the quality assurance process for many botanical ingredients, including Bacopa monnieri. Bacognize®, utilises quality standards and techniques with added rigorous third-party standards to provide support for our customers in securing these certifications for finished products. Bacognize is non-GMO Project Verified, Glyphosate Residue Free, batch-certified for sports banned substances, and more to support formulators and finished product producers in streamlining these certifications for their own finished products.
As Bacopa gains popularity, the quality and practices used to provide this important ingredient must be maintained for safety, efficacy, and traceability. Understanding aspects of the supply chain including growth, harvesting, and drying helps manage adulteration concerns and add layers of trust and transparency for Bacopa monnieri.