Brahmi is quite prominent Ayurvedic herb, mostly famous for its ability to work as a tonic for the brain. Ayurveda classifies the herb as a Medha Rasayana which means herb that provides longevity and improves memory and intelligence.
The herb is known by different names. It is known as Brahmi in Hindi, Water Hyssop in English and its botanical name is Bacopa monnieri. It finds mention in a number of ancient Ayurvedic texts like Atharva Veda, Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita.
Brahmi Anatomy And Distribution: How To Identify Brahmi Plant?
Brahmi is a perennial creeping herb with succulent leaves. It is soft and non-aromatic and can grow up to 6 inches in height. The bitter edible plant has alternately placed leaves and white to purple flowers. The herb is sometimes also called water aquarium plant since it can grow in water.
Brahmi is mostly found growing in wet and marshy areas throughout the world. You can check out the video below to know what it looks like.
Brahmi: Uses And Properties
Brahmi’s most important use is medicinal but it is also grown as an ornamental plant, especially in aquariums.
Brahmi is useful in the treatment of
- Memory Loss
- Mental Fatigue
- ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- Cerebral insufficiency
- High Blood Pressure
- Hair loss / Alopecia areata
Medicinal properties of Brahmi include:
- Nervine tonic
According to Ayurveda, Brahmi’s health benefits include:
- Vranaan hanta – can improve the rate of wound healing
- Medha – helps in improving intelligence
- Kasajit – useful in cough and cold
- Shwasahara – can help cure respiratory disorders
- Anilam hanta – is useful in nervous system-related disorders
- Shophahara – is anti-inflammatory
- Panduhara – helps in anaemia
- Kushtahara – useful in skin related disorders
- Vak – improves speech quality
- Ayushya – anti-ageing, improves life
- Unmada Vinashini – helpful in psychiatric disorders
Ayurvedic Properties or Gunadharma of Brahmi or Bacopa Monnieri
- Physical property (Guna) – light (laghu)
- Taste (Rasa) – bitter (tikta), astringent (kashaya)
- Potency (Veerya) – sheeta or cool
- Conversion after digestion (Vipaka) – sweet after digestion
- Effect on doshas – balances Vata and Kapha doshas
Charaka Samhita classifies Brahmi as:
- Balya – herbs that provide strength and immunity
- Prjasthapan – herbs useful in stabilizing pregnancy
- Medhya Rasayan – herbs beneficial for the brain
- Sanjnasthapana – herbs that restore consciousness. Other herbs in the group are Hingu, Kaitarya, Arimeda, Vacha, Choraka, Golomi, Jatamansi, Commiphora mukula, and Ashokarohini.
Is Rich In antioxidants
Antioxidants are those substances which protect the cells of the body against the risk of cell damage posed by free radicals. Free radicals build oxidative stress in the body and can hamper the functioning of normal cells. They can often lead to the formation of tumours which are responsible for developing chronic conditions like heart disorders and various types of cancers.
Packed with power antioxidants, Brahmi helps in acting against the free radicals. One of such compounds present in Bacopa is bacosides. These compounds prevent the free radicals from reacting with the fat molecules in the body. The reaction of fat molecules with free radicals can lead to lipid peroxidation which can further lead to the development of neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. One of the studies affirms the antioxidant property of Brahmi claiming that it reduces free radical damage.
The antioxidant property is also highly anti-ageing.
Brahmi Benefits For Brain
Brahmi is one of the best available tonics out there which help in improving cognition and functioning of the brain. It is often given to children as well as adults in combination with other herbs like Ashwagandha to improve memory and concentration. From a long time, it has been used as Ayurvedic medicine to improve focus.
One of the studies conducted on mice concluded that Brahmi helped in improving spatial learning and memory. It even increased the dendritic length as well as branching. This, in turn, has an effect on the speed with which information transmission takes place in the brain.
According to another study which was conducted on adults, Bacopa helped in enhancing the learning rate, retention of information and the speed with which visual information is processed. Consuming Brahmi can help save one from cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This is because of the presence of the compounds called bio-chemical bacosides. These compounds can help reverse damage caused by amyloid compounds in the neural pathways that transmit information. They lower the oxidative stress in the brain and help create new neural pathways. This ensures a sharp and young brain even at old age.
Beneficial For The Overall Health Of The Nervous System
Apart from being a brain tonic, Brahmi works as a tonic for the whole nervous system. It enhances and tones the majja dhatu or the nervous tissue. This is because of the presence of Bacposide A and B chemical compounds in Brahmi which improve neurotransmission and prevent neurodegeneration. Thus Brahmi is beneficial in treating a number of neural disorders.
- Brahmi is useful in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. ADHD is fairly common and is responsible for the poor development of children due to their inability to focus and their hyperactivity. Brahmi helps in reducing ADHD symptoms like restlessness, lack of self-control and high impulsiveness. It even improved cognition and concentration.
- Brahmi is an adaptogenic herb. It improves the resistance of the body to stress and helps in lowering anxiety. It does this by releasing cortisol which elevates the mood. Cortisol is a primary stress hormone which is released by the adrenal cortex in the adrenal gland. Brahmi can help reduce muscular tension and prevent constipation which is caused by stress.
- Being a stress buster, Brahmi is also used in the treatment of insomnia and other kinds of sleep disorders.
- Since thousands of years, Brahmi has been used as the medicine to treat disorders like epilepsy, neuralgia and bipolar disorder.
- A recent study also suggests Brahmi as an effective medicine for disorders like psychosis (unmada), schizophrenia, OCD, and depression.
Brahmi is well known for its ability to enhance immunity. It works as a health rejuvenator and creates an immune system that is capable to fight diseases like jaundice, tuberculosis and other chronic fevers. Supplemented by its antioxidant properties, it helps in increasing the response time of the immune system against any kind of pathogens.
Consuming the herb can free you from the numerous visits to the doctor by creating a healthier and stronger version of your body.
Brahmi has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. This makes it quite beneficial in providing relief from swellings and pains. It is especially useful in joint-related problems. It also has anti-arthritic properties and applying Brahmi oil on the affected area can relieve the swelling and pain.
Thus it provides relief from a number of inflammatory conditions including gastric ulcers. According to a few test-tube studies, Brahmi helps in suppressing the release of cytokines. Cytokines are those molecules which stimulate the inflammatory response of the immune system. It even inhibits the enzymes which cause inflammation – caspases, cyclooxygenases and lipoxygenases. In fact, Bacopa is a much better anti-inflammatory herb even as compared to one of the best anti-inflammatory medicines like diclofenac and indomethacin.
For Healthier Skin
Bacopa acts as an antimicrobial and helps in faster healing of wounds. Filled with antioxidants, it acts as a rejuvenating herb and makes the skin appear healthier, smooth and young-looking.
Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure has become a common problem among all, be it children or adults due to consumption of unhealthy food which usually contains a high amount of sodium. Though a seemingly harmless issue which can be resolved by a change in diet, it can adversely affect the normal functioning of the heart. It weakens the heart muscles and increases one’s susceptibility to other heart disorders.
Bacopa can work out to be an effective remedy against high blood pressure. According to one of the studies, it can help reduce both systolic as well as diastolic blood pressure. This quality of the herb is because of the presence of nitric oxide which helps in dilating the blood vessels.
Brahmi Benefits For Hair
Brahmi oil is applied to the head because of its cooling and calming effect on the nerves. But with improved blood flow, it is also beneficial in improving the quality of hair. It helps in getting rid of split ends and dry and rough hair. Brahmi oil is also used in the treatment of dandruff, hair loss and itchy scalp.
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Apart from being efficient in reducing blood pressure, Bacopa also helps in lowering the level of sugar in the blood. Thus it is quite beneficial for people suffering from diabetes.
Benefits For The Respiratory System
Consuming this herb in any form can help elevate the health of one’s respiratory system. According to Ayurveda, Bacopa is helpful in treating respiratory system disorders like chest congestion, blocked sinuses and bronchitis.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Brahmi help in relieving the inflammation of respiratory tracts and the throat and prevent the accumulation of mucus. Since the herb has a Bronchodilator effect, it is used in the treatment of Asthma.
Brahmi Benefits For Kids
A study by The Department Of Clinical Pharmacology, Mumbai, Maharasthra, shows that the herbal Ayurvedic formulation Brahmi ghrita that contains Brahmi as the main ingredient is very effective in dealing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AHDH) in kids.
How To Use Brahmi Plant / How To Take Brahmi?:- Dosage Information
Brahmi can be used externally as well as internally in the following ways:
- Leaves paste – it can be used to apply externally on painful joints, swollen areas or for healthier skin.
- Brahmi oil – Brahmi oil can also be used on the skin instead of Brahmi paste. However, Brahmi oil can also be used to apply on hair. It provides coolness and releases stress by improving blood flow. This way, it also helps in improving hair health.
- Liquid extract form – one of the methods to consume Brahmi is as a liquid extract which can be easily assimilated in the body.
- Brahmi churna – It is easily available as churna and is mostly consumed with ghee or milk to provide relief from nervous system disorders. The churna can also be used to prepare tea.
- Brahmi Vati and capsules – The churna is converted into vati and capsules for those who are not comfortable in consuming churna.
- It is also available as ghritam or ghee.
- As juice – 10 to 20 ml
- Churna or Powder – 1 to 3 g
- As capsules – 250 to 500 mg
People who experience sleepiness must consume the herb at night.
Brahmi: Side Effects And Precautions
As a herb, it is considered possibly safe. However, there can be some side effects and certain precaution should always be maintained:
- It can alter and lower the heart rate.
- It can cause problems with digestion and can result in blockage in the intestines. It is heavy to digest.
- Due to its adaptogenic properties, it can make one feel sleepy.
- It can also elevate the release of the thyroid hormone.
- Overdose can cause headache, dizziness, drowsiness, palpitation, dry mouth, and nausea
- Pregnant and lactating women must always consult a registered medical practitioner before consuming the herb.
- It might have certain side effects with allopathic medicines, other herbs or health supplements. Thus a doctor’s opinion is a must.
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