Bacopa Monnieri: An Herb for Memory Retention and Longevity (Brahmi)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2.Common Names

3.Vernacular Names

4.Synonyms

5.Distribution

6. Morphology

7.Ayurvedic Properties

8.Chemical Constituent

9.Identity, Purity, and Strength

10.Ayurvedic and Pharmacological Actions

11.Health Benefits

12.Therapeutic Uses

13.Official Part Used

14.General Doses

15. Herbal Tea Recipes

“It was found that aged people were able to acquire, store and retain their memory over time by consuming Brahmi as a supplement”

1. Introduction

Bacopa Monnieri is one of the traditional medicinal plants in Ayurveda medicine, where it is also called Brahmi, a name derived from Brahma, the creator of God of the Hindu Pantheon. Brahmi is largely treasured as a revitalizing herb that has been used by Ayurvedic medical practitioners for almost 3,000 years.

The herb has been mentioned in several Ayurvedic treatises including Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, Astanga Hridaya and almost in all Nighantus. Acharya Vagbhatta in Uttara sthana quoted Bacopa Monnieri as the best remedy for epilepsy. It has many medicinal potentials like intellect, longevity, rejuvenation, heart, strength especially mind, life energy and sleep.

Over the centuries, the role of Brahmi in the treatment of anemia, diabetes, blood disorders, cough, poison, edema, fever, insanity, mental disorder, has been well described.

Bacopa Monnieri is a well-known nootropic herb and its usage in neurological and psychiatric disorders is well recognized. Its efficacy and safety are supported by research and thousand years of knowledge and experience.

Today, it is the highly demanded herb, according to the National Medicinal Plants Board report, the annual market demand of Bacopa Monnieri was around 1000 tons to 2000 tons, which increased many folds due to its potential uses in Ayurvedic medicine to treat variety of disease.

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2. Common Names

  • Family – Scrophulariaceae
  • Hindi Name – Brahmi, Jalnim, Manduka parni
  • English Name – Thyme-leaved gratiola, Water hyssop

3. Vernacular Names

Arabic – Zarazab, farfakh

Assamese – Brahmi

Bengali – Brahmi sak, Jalannimba

Chinese – Pa-Chi-Tlien

French – Petite bacopa

German – Kleine fettblatt

Gujrati – Neerbrahmi, baam

Hebrew – Psheta srua

Kannada – Nirubrahmi, valabrahmi

Malayalam – Bhahmi, barna

Oriya – Brahmi

Persian – Jaranab

Punjabi - Brahmibuti

4. Synonyms

Bharati – It is indigenous plant.

Brahmi – It promotes memory and intellect.

Divyateja – It provides divine complexion.

Lavani – It beautifies hair and helps in hair growth.

Saraswati – It improves intellect like Goddess Saraswati.

Suswara – It is used to improve voice.

Vaidhatri – It is considered as good as a mother.

Vayastha – It improves longevity.

5. Distribution

It commonly grows in wet, damp, and marshy areas throughout India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Florida and other southern states of the USA.

6. Morphology

A prostate or creeping, succulent, annual herb rooting at the nodes with numerous ascending branches, 20 cm or more long.

Stem – Thin, green or purplish green, about 1 to 2 mm thick, soft, nodes and internodes prominent, glabrous, slightly bitter taste.

Leaves – Simple, oppositely decussate, obovate-oblong or spatulate, 8 to 15mm long and 4mm wide, slightly bitter in taste, fleshy, entire margin, sessile or short petiole.

Flowers – Small, solitary, axillary, white, purple, pink or pale violet in color, five petaled, pedicles, 6 to 30mm long, bracteoles shorter than pedicels.

Fruits – Fruits are capsules up to 5mm long, ovoid glabrous and sharp at apex.

Root – Thin, wiry, branched and creamish-yellow in color.

7. Ayurvedic Properties

Rasa (Taste) – Tikta, Kasaya, Madhura

Virya (Potency) – Sheeta (cold)

Guna (Qualities) – Laghu, Sara

Vipaka (Post-digestive Effect) – Madura

8. Chemical Constituent

A few chemical compounds have isolated from Bacopa Monnieri which are mentioned as under:

Alkaloids – Hydrocotyline, brahmine, and herpestine.

Glycosides – Asiaticoside, and thanakunicide

Flavonoids – Apigenin, luteonin

Saponins – D-mannitol, bacoside, saponins are considered to be the major active chemical constituent of Bacopa Monnieri plant.

9. Identity, Purity, and Strength

Foreign Matter – Not more than 2%

Total Ash – Not more than 18%

Acid-insoluble ash – Not more than 6%

Alcohol-soluble extractive – Not less than 6%

Water-soluble extractive – Not less than 15%

(Source: The Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India 1989)

10. Ayurvedic and Pharmacological Actions

Ayurvedic Actions

Medhya, smrurtiprada, rasayana, svarya, vatahara, vishahara, ayusya, matiprada, prajasthapana, mohahara, deepan.

  • Doshakarma – Vatapittashamaka
  • Dhatukarma – Rasayana
  • Malakarma – Sara, anulomana

Pharmacological Actions

Its action included memory enhancement, antidepressant, anxioltic, antiparkinson, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic, antimicrobial, endocrine, antistroke, neuroprotective, cognitive dysfunction, increasing cerebral blood flow, enhancing the activity of antioxidant enzymes and intracellular, singling pathways, reducing blood pressure, hepatoprotective, anti-fertility, antistress, antiulcer and anticancer.

11. Health Benefits

It is used in skin disease, fever, swelling, anemia, diabetes, psychological problems, poison, inflammation and cough. The plant is well known for intellect promoting, memory enhancer, and brain tonic drug. It is useful in epilepsy, insanity, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson, anemia, anxiety, neuralgia, inflammation, ulcer, ascites, asthma, bronchitis, skin disease, and hoarseness of voice, fever and general debility.

Therapeutic Uses

Cough – Poultice made of boiled plant is placed on the chest in acute bronchitis and chronic coughs in children.

External Uses

Anxiety and Stress – Regular intake of Brahmi juice (1-2tsf) with 1 tsf ghee and half tsf of honey gives smooth and calming effect, relieves stress anxiety, and increase the learning performance and mental ability of children.

Memory Enhancer – Brahmi, Mandukaparni, Triphala, Chitrak, Vacha, Satapuspa, Shatavari, Danti, Nagbala and Trivrit – any one of these drugs should be taken with honey and ghee for improving intellect.

Hypertension – 1 tsf of Brahmi juice with half spoon of honey helps in lowering blood pressure.

Insanity – Brahmi juice with Kustha powder is taken with honey to cure insanity.

Epilepsy – Old ghee processed with Brahmi juice, Vacha, Kustha and Shankhpuspi alleviates insanity, epilepsy, inauspiciousness and sinful conditions.

Pox – Brahmi juice mixed with honey is given in pox.

12. Official Part Used

Whole Plant

13. General Doses

  • Juice – 10 to 20ml
  • Powder – 5 to 10gm

14. Toxicity and side effects

Therapeutic doses of Bacopa are not associated with any known side effects, and Bacopa has been used safely in Ayurvedic medicine for several hundred years.

The most common side effects reported are nausea, increased intestinal motility, and gastrointestinal upset.

15. Herbal Tea Recipes

Brahmi and Ashwagandha Herbal Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon Brahmi leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 1 teaspoon Ashwagandha root powder
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  • Boil the water in a pot.
  • Add Brahmi leaves and Ashwagandha root powder to the boiling water.
  • Let the herbs simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Strain the tea into cups.
  • Optionally, you can add a touch of honey for sweetness, if desired.

Brahmi and Tulsi Stress-Relieving Infusion

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon Brahmi leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 1 teaspoon Tulsi (Holy Basil) leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  • Boil the water in a pot.
  • Add Brahmi leaves and Tulsi leaves to the boiling water.
  • Allow the herbs to steep for about 10 minutes.
  • Strain the infusion into cups.

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