Brahmi or Bacopa monnieri is a non-woody clumping and spreading plant. The non-aromatic herb Brahmi has succulent, oblong leaves. The oppositely arranged (decussate) leaves on the stem are oblanceolate and 4-6 mm thick.
It grows well in moist conditions in undrained soil conditions. It has medium light needs, but it likes the sun, and if there is more sunlight, the plants have healthier growth. Plants that grow in the shade will have a loose appearance with inter-nodes. The leaves get spaced out. It grows well in clay, sand, cinder, organic, and coral soils.
This plant produces pink, purple, and white flowers. It blooms all year round. The small, actinomorphic flowers have four or five petals. The individual stems have a width of three centimeters.
You can trim the plants to keep it neat. It also grows in brackish water and on top of the water surface of ponds and lakes. They do not tolerate drought. To increase the growth rate, increase the carbon dioxide, phosphate (0.5 ppm or more), nitrate (5 ppm or more), and intense sunlight.
Chemicals found in Brahmi plant: Bacosides are the most familiar compounds in Bacopa monnieri. The alkaloids nicotine, brahmine, D-mannitol, and herpestine. The other compounds present include apigenin, plantainosideB, and cucurbitacin.
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The common name for this plant is water hyssop plant. Other names are baby tears, Jalnaveri, Jalanimba, Sambrani chettu, Nirbrahmi, Indian Pennywort, thyme-leaved gratiola, Bacopa, Babies tear, Bacopa monnieri and Hespestis monniera. In English it is commonly called as the ‘Herb of Grace’.
Botanical name and Family
The botanical name is Bacopa monnieri. It belongs to the Plantaginaceae family.
Geographical area where Brahmi plant grows
This creeping herb is native to the wetlands of Africa, Australia, North and South America, Asia, Europe, Southern and Eastern India. In Asia, it grows in Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nepal, Taiwan, and China. You can find it many southern states of the United States such as Hawaii and Florida.
Brahmi medicinal uses for curing diseases
The Brahmi herb has found use in Ayurvedic medicine since the olden times. The main mechanism of the Bacopa monnieri is in enhancing neuron communication. It also interacts with serotonergic and dopamine systems. They increase the rate of communication within the nervous system by augmenting the growth of dendrites. These dendrites are the ends of the nerves. A study conducted in animals showed that Bacopa monnieri activates choline acetyltransferase while inhibiting acetylcholinesterase. It increases cerebral blood flow.
- Improves memory function: In actual tests conducted for 6-year-old children, the hand-eye coordination showed an increase after they took Brahmi juice. They also showed a remarkable improvement in the memory function.
- Reduces anxiety: You can reduce the symptoms of anxiety by taking bacopa monnieri syrup regularly for 4 weeks. These symptoms of anxiety include racing of the heart, tiredness, stomach discomfort, difficulty in concentration, headaches, sleeping troubles, and nervousness.
- Has antioxidant property: The antioxidant nature is useful for protection against infections and diseases like HIV and cancer. You get protection from common cold and flu.
- Use it for enlarged spleen.
- Promotes liver health: Another organ that benefits from the Brahmi is the liver. The liver is continuously removing toxins from the body and so it is susceptible to damage from the toxins. Brahmi leaves juice helps to detoxify the liver and flush them out of the body.
- Helps increase cognitive power: The bacosides stop the brain degradation that takes place as one becomes old. The Brahmi leaves compounds promote brain cell regeneration.
- Provides relief in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): This relief is temporary and the IBS seems to return as soon as they discontinued the medication.
- Alleviates symptoms of allergy: You can manage systemic redness and allergies in the body using Bacopa monnieri. This it does by accessing the auto-immune response of the body. When this occurs in the brain, it makes the situation dangerous.
- Helps with opioid dependence: Many people have pain medication such as oxycodone and morphine. The downside of using these medications is the depression and the risk of addiction. Use Bacopa monnieri to overcome the side-effects of using opioid medicines.
- Helps overcome sexual problems: Applicable for both men and women, the Bacopa monnieri is helpful for overcoming the problems related to sexual functioning.
- Overcome Alzheimer’s disease: The main use of Brahmi is in treating memory-related disorder. You can treat Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD. This occurs due to the increase in the amount of certain chemicals released in the brain by the Bacopa monnieri. You get good improvement in people suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when you treat them using Brahmi extract. People say the Bacopa monnieri shows a protective action over the brain cells through the chemicals.
- The cure for epilepsy: Many people who took Bacopa extract every day for five months showed a reduction and sometimes a complete cure from epileptic seizures.
- Help with fluid retention: You suffer abnormal symptoms when you have accumulation of water or fluids in the cavities of the body. This could happen due to the excess leakiness of the capillary walls. Use of diuretics might lead to dehydration of the blood. Use of Bacopa will help you overcome this problem.
- Useful for young people: Brahmi has a good effect on the minds of young people. For this, one could consider the Brahmi as a Nootropic.
- Use as an adaptogen: Using the Bacopa, one can promote homeostasis. Thereby the physiological processes become stable. One example of this is the reduced sensitivity of the body cells to stress.
- Other uses of bacopa monnieri: You can treat ascites, backache, get rid of hoarseness, cure ulcers and tumours, provide an effective treatment for leprosy, and remove problems of joint pain. You can get relief from gastroenteritis and cure mental illness.
Bacopa monnieri side effects
For some people, Brahmi might cause the gastrointestinal blockage. Bacopa increases the secretions of the stomach and the intestines. Hence, the incidence of ulcers might increase. Similarly, the fluids in the lungs could increase. This could lead to lung conditions such as emphysema or asthma. This increases the levels of the thyroid hormone. So, people with a thyroid problem must exercise caution.
People who take Bacopa monnieri on an empty stomach experience nausea and vomiting. They may also suffer from bloating and cramping.
You do not have any side effects if you use the medication in the short-term period. People who already have a slow heartbeat (brachycardia) might suffer more if you take medicines containing Brahmi.
Therefore, it is strictly recommended not to take any form of Brahmi plant without consulting doctor or Ayurveda.