Brahmi Benefits

Latin name: Bacopa monnieri
Common names: Brahmi, Bacopa, Indian pennywort, Water Hyssop, Thyme leaved gratiola

Use of Brahmi in Ayurvedic medicine

Brahmi herb is considered a brain tonic. It has found mention in Ayurvedic texts for its beneficial effects on the brain and ability to alleviate stress. It has even been traditionally used in treating epilepsy, asthma and other convulsion disorders. Just 100mg of the brahmi extract has a stronger antioxidant action than 5 times the recommended daily dose of vitamin E.

Brahmi herb, water hyssop, bacopa herb
Brahmi grows in marshy areas and its thick, succulent leaves store water.
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What are the benefits of Brahmi?

Improves long term memory

Studies have shown that anti-oxidant plant saponins in Brahmi increase neural transmission in the brain and promote synthesis of proteins that create memory. These saponins named bacosides also protect brain cells against free radicals. These properties help boost long-term memory

Improves retentive ability

Generally the ability to retain new information diminishes from 55% in the first hour to 27% in the second hour and even less in the third hour, so that 1 in learned tasks are forgotten. In a study in Australia, students took bacopa for 3 months and gained 95% retention lasting for 4 hours. Only 1 in 20 learned tasks were forgotten.

Reduces symptoms of ADD and ADHD

Brahmi has been shown to alleviate ADD and ADHD a syndrome that includes impairment in perception, conceptualization, language, memory, and motor skills; decreased attention span; increased impulsivity and emotionality; and usually, not always, hyperactivity

A study was conducted of 31 children between 6-12 years of age, with onset of ADHD before 7 years of age, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for ADHD. A standardized extract of Bacopa monnieri was administed at a dose of 225 mg/d for a period of 6 months. The Parent Rating Scale to assess the ADHD symptom scores prior to the study and at the end of 6 months was administered. 93% of the children showed reduced restlessness, 89% showed improved self-control, 85% showed reduced attention-deficit symptoms, learning problems were reduced in 78%, impulsivity in 67% and psychiatric problems in 52% of children were reduced. 74% of children showed upto 20% reduction in ADHD symptoms while 26% of children showed upto 50% reduction in subtests scores of ADHD symptoms.

Antioxidant property helps reduce dementia and mental aging

It has also been shown to help in dementia and aging. Bacosides scavenge free-radicals and thereby protect brain sites like the frontal cortex and particularly the synapses of the hippocampus also known as the "seat of memory". This is an important discovery since conventional neuroprotective drugs like Deprenyl and Centrophenoxine fail to act in this manner.

Bacopa has been shown to have cognition enhancing activity including improving memory free recall. This is after taking it for over 3 months. Scientists have hypothesized that the effects on the brain show after 3 months or so because of Brahmi's ability to manage chronic inflammation and oxidative stress associated with aging.

Helps relieve anxiety and induce calm

Brahmi is also known to relieve stress, anxiety and depression. The effects of Bacopa were tested on 17 healthy participants during a multi-task completion test in a double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study. Results showed that there were positive cognitive effects after 1 hour and 2 hours of taking Bacopa. There were positive mood effects and also reduction in cortisol levels.

Does Bacopa have any side effects?

There are no known side effects with the use of Bacopa. In India bacopa is even given to children to improve mental focus.

More information on Brahmi / Bacopa

References:

Adv Mind Body Med. 2014 Spring;28(2):10-5.
An open-label study to elucidate the effects of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract in the management of symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children.
Dave UP et al.

Food Funct. 2014 Mar;5(3):517-20. doi: 10.1039/c3fo60467e. Bacopa monnieri (L.) exerts anti-inflammatory effects on cells of the innate immune system in vitro. Williams R1, Münch G, Gyengesi E, Bennett L.

Phytother Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):551-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5029. Epub 2013 Jun 21. An acute, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study of 320 mg and 640 mg doses of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on multitasking stress reactivity and mood. Benson S1, Downey LA, Stough C, Wetherell M, Zangara A, Scholey A.
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