Bacopa monnieri, called Brahmi, is a small creeping herb with numerous branches. The Brahmi is considered to be an important herb in the ancient Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine. It grows in marshy land or wet spots. It can grow in sun and shade. It can also be grown in pots in houses. It requires moderate to high light to grow really well. The leaves are succulent and relatively thick and flower in summer. The flowers are white in colour.
- Botanical Name: Bacopa monnieri
- Common name: Indian pennywort
- Sanskrit: Brahmi, tiktalonika
- Hindi: Brahmi
- Tamil: Neer Brahmi
Health Benefits of Brahmi
Brahmi has been used in traditional Indian medicines for centuries. It has enormous health benefits and is a natural home remedy for various conditions. It is a powerful brain tonic and helps restore and revitalize cells and nerves in the brain. It improves the circulation of blood in the brain and is believed to reduce senility in old people.
Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) is an Ayurvedic medicinal plant, known for its memory-enhancing, analgesic, sedative, anxiolytic and antiepileptic properties. The Brahmi is also a strong antioxidant, which reduces oxidative stress in the aging brain and helps to reduce amnestic effects.
Brahmi Health Benefits for the Brain
According to herbsarespecial.com.au, research on the Brahmi plant identified 2 active molecules called bacoside and A and B. Bacoside A assists in the release of nitric oxide allowing relaxation of the aorta and veins and blood to flow more smoothly through the body and aiding circulation. Bacoside B is a protein valued for nourishing nerve cells in the brain.
In a study conducted by the Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India, forty-six healthy volunteers received Bacopa monnieri extract for 12 weeks and the results showed improved cognitive processing including learning rate and memory consolidation measured by auditory verbal learning test. “The Bacopa monieri extract produced significant improvement on mental control, logical memory and paired associated learning during the 12-week drug therapy.” (Raghav S, Singh H, Dalal PK, Srivastava J S, Asthana O P. Randomized controlled trial of standardized Bacopa monniera extract in age-associated memory impairment. Indian J Psychiatry 2006;48:238-42)
Brahmi Health Benefits for the Elderly
Another study was published in ‘The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine’, whose objective was to investigate the effectiveness of Bacopa monnieri Linn. for improvement of memory performance in healthy older persons. This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. 81 completed the trial. Bacopa significantly improved verbal learning, memory acquisition, and retention in healthy older Australians, thus validating previous findings and traditional use.
Brahmi Health Benefits for Alzheimers
A study published in the ‘International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health’ was conducted to evaluate the effect of Bacopa monnieri on cognitive functions in Alzheimer’s disease patients. The mean age of 39 patients who completed the study was 65.23 years. The results of the clinical trial show that Bacopa monnieri standardized extract (Bacognize® 300 mg twice a day orally) for 6 months results in an improvement in some aspects of cognitive functions in geriatric patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Study patients showed statistically significant improvements in various components, including orientation of time, place & person, attention, and in their language component in terms of reading, writing & comprehension at the end of the trial. The patients involved in this trial also reported improvement in their quality of life and a decrease in irritability and insomnia.
- Make a drink by soaking a small quantity of Brahmi leaves in water overnight, and grinding to a paste with a few ground almonds, sugar candy, and milk. This is a tonic that helps tone the liver and eliminates all kinds of worms in the bowels. This drink is also useful for nervous debility and improving the brain.
- Taking brahmi on a regular basis in any form helps to keep you mentally agile as it is a tonic for the brain. One of the ways to eat it is in the form of a chutney with regular food. The recipe for the chutney is given below.
Benefits for anxiety and depression
Brahmi can be consumed to get relief from stress, anxiety, and depression. It also helps in postnatal depression. It is ideal for students and the elderly to bring calmness and concentration in life. Brahmi has neuroprotective, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), and antidepressant properties. These properties make Brahmi a herb for managing conditions like anxiety and depression. Brahmi may also prevent inflammation of the neuro tissue which makes us anxious.
- Make a tea with brahmi leaves (fresh or dry) and drink for anxiety, stress and depression.
- Massage the scalp with Brahmi oil as often as you can to help overcome sleep disorder, which is generally the cause of anxiety, tension and stress.
Brahmi health benefits for the hair
Brahmi oil when applied on the scalp and hair helps to control hair fall and promote hair growth. Brahmi also helps to remove excessive dryness from the scalp.
- An oil made out of brahmi helps in promoting hair growth. Brahmi oil should be massaged into your head regularly, to treat split ends, and dandruff and also to strengthen the hair roots.
Brahmi benefits for the skin
Brahmi is very useful to fight sunburn. Sunburn occurs due to continuous exposure to the sun. Brahmi oil gives a cooling effect and reduces the burning sensation accompanying sunburns. It is used to treat all sorts of skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, abscess, and ulceration. Brahmi disinfects the skin and speeds up the healing process when applied externally.
- Take brahmi oil as required and mix with coconut oil. Apply on the skin twice a day to get immediate relief from sunburn.
- You can also apply brahmi powder. Take the required amount of brahmi powder and mix it in rose water. Apply this paste on the concerned area to get relief from sunburn,
Other Health Benefits of Brahmi
- It is used in the treatment of bronchitis, chronic cough, asthma and hoarseness. Brahmi has antiasthmatic property. It relaxes the respiratory tract and also manages allergic conditions.
- It is good for people who suffer from arthritis, rheumatism and backaches. Brahmi helps to manage chronic pains due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Brahmi could also be used to manage pain caused by nerve injury. It blocks the detection of pain by nerve cells thus reducing pain.
- It stimulates the growth of skin, hair and nails.
- According to the Ayurveda, Brahmi has antioxidant properties. It reduces oxidation of fats in the blood stream, which is the risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
- Another important health benefit of Brahmi is that, it is considered a rejuvenating herb for the nerve and brain cells. It promotes short term and long term memory in individuals, thus enhancing learning capacity and memory.
- Brahmi is an effective home remedy for disorders like irritable bowel syndrome. It relieves constipation and digestive problems.
- Its a blood cleanser and is good for improving circulation; It also strengthens the capillaries.
Brahmi Home Remedies
- A paste of the leaves when applied to a child’s navel, cures dysentery. This paste is also useful in elephantiasis, rheumatic swelling, boils, and contusion. The juice of the leaves can also be applied. A couple of teaspoons of the juice mixed with cow’s milk is useful for skin diseases and impure blood in children, and syphilis, fever, and stomach troubles in adults.
- Five grams of brahmi leaves powder in 2 lb of milk twice daily increases memory power and tones and strengthens the brain. This powder is a useful natural remedy for leprosy. Take fresh leaves and spread them in the shade on a mat. Expose them to air, but not to the sun. Do not use any heat as this destroys all its virtues. When the leaves are thoroughly dried, powder them finely and keep the powder in a well-corked bottle. Take three to five grains three times daily.
This herb can also be made into a chutney.
1 cup packed fresh brahmi leaves
- Grated coconut – 1/2 a cup
- Tamarind – a small gooseberry size
- Green chillies – 2
- Bengal gram – 1 tsp
- Black gram – 1 tsp
- salt to taste
- Oil for frying – 1 tsp
Wash the leaves thoroughly as it is not always grown in clean places. Pour oil in a pan and fry the black gram and Bengal gram for a few minutes. Add coconut and fry for a few minutes till it turns light brown. Add tamarind, green chillies, salt, and the leaves and grind together with just enough water to get the desired consistency of chutney.