Brahmi (Bacopa monniera)

Botanical Name :Bacopa monniera
Family :Scrophulariaceae/PLANTAGINACEAE Plantain Family
Genus: Bacopa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
B. monnieri
Common Names :  Bacopa , Water hyssop, Brahmi, Coastal Waterhyssop, Thyme-leafed gratiola,
International Naming:
(Niirpirami) in Tamil
Phak mi, Phrommi , in Vietnamese
Lunuwila in Sinhalese (Sri Lanka)

Habitat: Native in India,Bangladesh,Burma.It commonly grows in marshy areas throughout India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, and is also found in Florida and other southern states of the USA where it can be grown in damp conditions by the pond or bog garden.. Wetlands and muddy shores.

Bacopa Monniera is a genus of 70-100 aquatic plants in the family Plantaginaceae. The plants are annual or perennial, decumbent or erect stemmed plants. Crushed Bacopa leaves have the distinct scent of lemons.It is a  creeping herb with numerous branches, small oblong leaves, and light purple flowers. In India and the tropics it grows naturally in wet soil, shallow water, and marshes. The herb can be found at elevations from sea level to altitudes of 4,400 feet, and is easily cultivated if adequate water is available. Flowers and fruit appear in summer and the entire plant is used medicinally.   Brahmi is also the name given to Centella asiatica, particularly in north India, although that may be a case of mistaken identification that was introduced during the 16th century.

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Bacopa Monniera is used prominently in Ayurveda, a holistic medicine system from India, and has been used since approximately the 6th century AD.
Bacopa monnieri in Hyderabad, India.The leaves of this plant are succulent and relatively thick. Leaves are oblanceolate and are arranged oppositely on the stem. The flowers are small and white, with four or five petals. Its ability to grow in water makes it a popular aquarium plant. It can even grow in slightly brackish conditions. Propagation is often achieved through cuttings.

Edible uses:
It is used in Vietnamese cuisine, where it is called rau ??ng bi?n. It is used in cháo cá, a variety of rice congee made with fish and n?m tràm mushrooms.

Active Constituents and Pharmacokinetics:
Compounds responsible for the pharmacological effects of Bacopa include alkaloids, saponins, and sterols. Many active constituents–the alkaloids Brahmine and herpestine, saponins d-mannitol and hersaponin, acid A, and monnierin–were isolated in India over 40 years ago. Other active constituents have since been identified, including betulic acid, stigmastarol, beta-sitosterol, as well as numerous bacosides and bacopasaponins. The constituents responsible for Bacopa’s cognitive effects are bacosides A and B.5. (5-9)

Medicinal Actions & Uses:

Traditional uses: Bacopa has been used in traditional Ayurvedic treatment for epilepsy and asthma. It is also used in Ayurveda for ulcers, tumors, ascites, enlarged spleen, inflammations, leprosy, anemia, and gastroenteritis.

It has antioxidant properties, reducing oxidation of fats in the bloodstream. However, anti-epilepsy properties seem to be in very high toxic and near lethal doses, so it’s only used—at much lower non-toxic dosage—as a (cognitive) additive to regular epilepsy medication. Studies in humans show that an extract of the plant has antianxiety effects.

It is listed as a nootropic, a drug that enhances cognitive ability. In India, this plant has also been used traditionally to consecrate newborn babies in the belief that it will open the gateway of intelligence. Laboratory studies on rats indicate that extracts of the plant improve memory capacity and motor learning ability.[5] Recent studies suggest bacopa may improve intellectual activity. The sulfhydryl and polyphenol components of Bacopa monniera extract have also been shown to impact the oxidative stress cascade by scavenging reactive oxygen species, inhibiting lipoxygenase activity and reducing divalent metals. This mechanism of action may explain the effect of Bacopa monniera extract in reducing beta-amyloid deposits in mice with Alzheimer’s disease.

It is used in Rebirthing therapy to accelerate trauma release and make continuous breathing easier. Bacopa monnieri is a well known nootropic plant reported for its tranquilizing, sedative, cognitive enhancing, hepatoprotective and antioxidant action.(ref name: m mujassam)

Common uses:
Memory, attention and other cognitive functions, occasional panic and anxiety, mental/physical fatigue, immune system response

Pharmacology and Phytochemicals:
Much modern research has focused on the activity Bacopa Monniera demonstrates in the Central Nervous System. Recent studies indicate that Bacosides, B. Monniera’s primary components, enhance nerve impulse transmission, possibly helping improve concentration, learning, memory, and attention span as well as other higher order cognitive functions. Preliminary lab results also suggest it influences that production and availability of Serotonin.

Scientists state that B. Monniera likely affects multiple systems in the body in order to promote emotional well-being, mental sharpness, and physical endurance.

Mechanisms of Action:
Bacopa Monniera has been identified in clinical study as an adaptogen that increases resistance to a wide range of chemical, physical, and biological stressors.

Bacopa monnieri displays in vitro antioxidant and cell-protective effects. In animals, it also inhibits acetylcholinesterase, activates choline acetyltransferase, and increases cerebral blood flow.

Several studies have suggested that Bacopa monnieri extracts may have protective effects in animal models of neurodegeneration. Small clinical trials in humans have found limited evidence supporting improved free memory recall, with no evidence supporting other cognition-enhancing effects.


A standardized Bacopa monniera preparation was evaluated for safety and tolerability in 23 healthy adult volunteers.   Participants took 300 mg of the extract daily for 15 days, followed by 450 mg/daily for the subsequent 15 days. No adverse effects were observed in biochemical, electrocardiographic, hematological or clinical parameters in the post-treatment vs. the pre-treatment period. There were some reports of mild gastrointestinal symptoms that resolved spontaneously.

Bacopa Monnieri might agonize (strengthen) cytochrome p450 liver isoenzymes “7-pentoxyresorufin O-dealkylase” (CYP2B1/2?) and “7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylation” (CYP1A1), especially under stressful conditions.

Known Hazards:  Aqueous extracts of Bacopa monnieri may have reversible adverse effects on spermatogenesis, sperm count, and fertility in male mice.

The most commonly reported adverse side effects of Bacopa monnieri in humans are nausea, increased intestinal motility, and gastrointestinal upset.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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