Brahmi (scientific name: Bacopa monnieri) is a plant that has been commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It has a timeless reputation for being an effective and powerful herb to improve memory and combating stress.
The Brahmi plant is a perennial, creeping herb with numerous branches and is found in marshy areas near streams and ponds throughout India especially in the North Eastern regions. It is found at elevations from sea level to altitudes of 4,400 feet. Besides the Indian subcontinent, Brahmi is also native to the wetlands of Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America.
Note that one should not confuse this herb with gotu kola and other natural medicines that are also sometimes called brahmi.
Benefits of Brahmi:
The major benefits of Brahmi can be broadly categorized as:
• Decreasing Anxiety: Brahmi relieves nervous irritation or agitation. It is used traditionally for treating psychosis, epilepsy and anxiety.
• Treats Neonatal hypoglycemia: When it comes to newborn infants, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can result in serious and immediate brain damage, inducing future motor and cognitive impairment. Studies have found bacosides to be highly-active compounds that exhibit neuron-protecting effects in hypoglycemic infants. Therefore, many researchers believe that Brahmi extracts may be effective for protecting newborn brains against hypoglycemia-induced brain damage.
• Memory Enhancement: There has been a good amount of research to show that Brahmi has a significant positive effect on the retention of new information. Many children and adolescents are advised to take Brahmi as a supplement for improving memory power and mental ability.
• Improvement in Cognitive Abilities: This herb significantly improves the speed of visual information processing, learning rate, and memory consolidation, thus enhancing learning ability.
• Positively Impacts Opioid Dependence: Doctors prescribe (and sometimes over-prescribe) opioids, like morphine and oxycodone, for pain management. Although these drugs are effective, their highly-addictive nature is a massive downside. Seventy-seven percent of chronic pain patients also suffer from depression and face an added risk of addiction. Researchers have discovered that bacosides may be helpful for enhancing the benefits of morphine while reducing the “high”, thus decreasing the risk for dependence. In addition, studies indicate that bacosides offer protective benefits for organs commonly affected by opiate toxicity.
• Antioxidant: Many researchers are evaluating natural plants, herbs, and foods for their antioxidant potential and findings indicate that Brahmi is a good one. It provides protection against oxidative damage, a type of cellular damage caused by free radicals. The herb has also been shown to enhance antioxidant activity in other organs, like the kidneys.
• Encourages normal blood pressure: Brahmi has been shown to increase the utilization of nitric oxide in the body and also appears to encourage vascular muscle function, two benefits that positively influence normal blood pressure.
Brahmi acts as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to new or stressful situations. That is why it is used as a general tonic to fight stress. This powerful herb is used for numerous health benefits, namely (but not limited to):
• Combating Alzheimer’s disease
• Improving memory and mental alertness
• Combating Dementia in the elderly
• Reducing anxiety
• Fighting attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergic conditions, irritable bowel syndrome
• Treating backache, hoarseness, epilepsy, joint-pains, sexual performance problems in both men and women
• Promotes Brain and Liver health
How To Take Brahmi
-For people who suffer from epilepsy, Brahmi juice can be given with honey.
-Brahmi powder with honey over a period of times helps stimulate intellect, memory and to increase life span.
–Saraswata powder which contains Brahmi can be given with honey to stimulate intellect and memory. Brahmi might increase certain brain chemicals that are involved in thinking, learning, and memory. Some research suggests that it might also protect brain cells from chemicals involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
-Oil made from triphala, shati, usheera and brahmi juices helps calm the mind
Brahmi Herb Files:
Botanical Name — Bacopa monnieri
Family — Scrophulariaceae
Sanskrit — Brahmi
English — Indian Pennywort, Herb of Grace, Water Hyssop, Thyme-Leafed Gratiola
Parts Used — Leaf
Rasa (taste) — Bitter
Virya (action) — Cooling
Vipaka (post-digestive effect) — (Madhura) Sweet
Guna (quality) — Lagu, Light, flowing (sara/laxative)
Edited by Rachelle Chandraan