Bacopa monnieri , or brahmi as it is called by its common name, has a special place in ayurveda and Indian households. One might have heard this name several times from their grandparents or people who rigorously follow ayurveda. It is one of the super herbs of the ayurveda, which is widely used for the treatment of many disorders. Brahmi is consumed either by grinding its organic part or sold commercially as a tablet or capsule. Apart from that, it can boost memory and believed that ancient intellects used to consume it daily to make their memory sharper. This would help them to remember long hymns or mantras for vedas. It is also common by the name of water hyssop, herb of grace or the Indian pennywort.
It originates in the humid condition of marshland and sometimes even in water or brack water. The name originates from one of the tridev, i.e. Brahma, the creator of this world. It mainly grows in the Indian Subcontinent with mention of its presence in other parts of the world as well. It is a common choice of treatment for people suffering from epilepsy, rheumatism, asthma, joint pain or people suffering from psychological imbalance. It is also used to treat syndromes related to neurons and brain disorders like Alzheimer, anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, more scientific evidence is needed to support later uses.
Uses And Mechanism
It has been long used since ancient times as a memory booster and to treat many cognitive disorders. Primary studies suggest that brahmi is loaded with antioxidants. It has a class of compounds similar to saponin. Bacosides and Bacopasides, may enhance learning, reflex, memory and act as an anti-inflammatory. Let us know the other uses of Brahmi.
- Brain Booster: Already mentioned the use of bacosides, which prevents the mental degradation that is proportion to the advancement of age. It prevents the oxidative damage and degeneration caused due to wear and tear of brain cells. This may also help in slowing down symptoms of Alzheimer. Accumulation of amyloid is one of the major reasons for Alzheimer’s and it helps in reversing the effect. It also helps in protecting the neuron from getting damaged and may help in improving cognitive functions.
- Hepatic Friend: The liver is the biggest factory in the body for detoxification of accumulated poison and waste. More the toxin, the more the load on the liver. Brahmi helps in the easy conversion of this accumulated toxic waste into harmless residue, which can be flushed by the urinary or excretory system.
- Memory Booster: Brahmi benefits the brain by improving the remembering power. The bacosides prevents the brain from oxidative stress and improves the networking and signalling in the hippocampus, the part of the brain which possesses the memory library.
- Anti Hair Fall: Brahmi oil with amla can benefit the prevention of hair fall. Massaging the oil on your scalp will enrich the surface with rich biochemical antioxidants. The oil will also help in stimulating the growth of hair follicles that makes the root strong and thick. It can be used for the prevention and removal of dandruff, baldness or alopecia.
- Treatment for Opioid Addiction: There are several synthetic tranquillizers or painkillers which have many side effects and can be addictive in nature. Opioid medication has withdrawal symptoms, and they are often included in the class of prescription drug addiction. Brahmi can replace the high created by the opioid and enhance its function in dealing with pain. There are few studies, that support the theory that brahmi reduces the dopamine produced during opioid consumption and it helps in preventing the high created by the drugs. It also acts as a protective cushion for organs that might get damaged due to opioid abuse.
- Mental Health Conditioner: It has shown to clear the mental confusion and promotes clarity. Nitric oxide content in brahmi helps in improving concentration, mental alertness, and it also helps in dealing with the withdrawal symptoms generated due to opioid consumption like depression, anxiety and restlessness.
- Anti-Inflammation And Anti-Stress: It has many antioxidants that prevent the inflammation or swelling caused in the brain due to the accumulation of toxins and response of the autoimmune system of the body that generates non-specific immune molecules. It helps in reducing the symptoms of inflammation, namely calor (heat), dolar (pain), rubor (redness) and tumor (swelling). It also reduces the effects of cortisol which is a stress-inducing hormone. It acts as an adaptogen and relieves the symptoms of stress.
- Detoxifier: It helps in flushing and deals with neurotoxins such as aluminium, morphine and chemical aggregates of cigrate. It also guards against oxidative stress.
- Treatment for Insomnia: Due to past pace life filled with stress and anxiety, people are losing quality sleep. The number of hours a human body needs to relax can be achieved by sleeping. The time duration is decreasing on average. This can lead to a condition called insomnia or sleeplessness. Insomnia arises from the combination of several factors such as depression, tension, anxiety, tiredness. Massaging Brahmi oil on the head can help deal with all these secondary problems. It helps in reducing the stress level of the body and helps in improving the sleep pattern.
How To Consume Brahmi?
It is present in several forms, including oil, capsule or churn. There is no prescribed dosage due to lack of scientific evidence; however, it typically depends on several factors like health, age, gender and any comorbid condition. The oil is generally mixed with amala and other herbs and applied on a topical level as an anti-hair fall agent. While the powdered form can be mixed with water and can be made as tonic or tea. It is also mixed with ghee and added to lukewarm water to make a herbal drink. It is always advisable for one to contact a professional medical practitioner before using brahmi for any of the above-mentioned purposes.
Currently, there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for the supplement. Doses typically depend on several factors, including your current health status, age, and gender.
Always consult your healthcare provider to determine if bacopa is safe for you and to find out what dose may be appropriate.
Possible Side Effects And Contraindications
Though it is a powerful herb, there are several possible side effects with people suffering from any co morbid situations.
Digestive Problem: People with weak digestive systems may show symptoms of cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, fatigue or dry mouth. It may also cause congestion in the intestine. Increased use of brahmi may also lead to increased secretions in the stomach which may worsen the condition of ulcer.
Bradycardia: It is known to cause a slowdown of the heartbeat. People with weak pulse and heart rate should avoid this.
Respiratory complications: People with emphysema or asthma should avoid brahmi as it may cause increased fluid secretion in the lungs.
Brahmi is a super herb and widely used in Indian ayurveda. It has many known and potentially known benefits which require enough scientific evidence. Though presumed to be safe for most of the population, one should always take caution and contact a medical expert before its usage.