Brahmi – proven health benefits and uses


The scientific name of the Brahmi is  (Linn.) Wettst. It is also known as Baby tears, Brain plant, Herb of Grace, Moneywort, Monnier’s bacopa, Water hyssop, and White hyssop.

Other names include

ARABIC: Farfakh.
BENGALI: Aaghabini, Birmishak, Brādramī śāka, Brahmi, Brahmisaka, Barmi shak, Ughrabirmi.
CHINESE: Jia ma chi xian.
FRENCH: Bacopa de Monnier, Bacopa des herbalistes, Bacopa médicinale, Petite bacopa.
GERMAN: Bacopa, Kleine Fettblatt, Kleines Fettblatt, Wasserysop.
GUJARATI: Baam, Bamanevari, Jalanevari, Jalbrahmi, Jalnevri,Kadavi luni, Neerbrahmi.
HINDI: Adha birni, Baam, Barami, Brahmi, Brambhiv, Jalbuti, Nirbrahmi, Mandukaparni, Safed chamni.
KANNADA: Brahmi, Jala brahmi, Jalabrahmi, Nirbrahmi , Nirubrahmi, Niru brahmi, Neer brahmi
MALAYALAM: Barna, Brahmi, Nirbrahmi.
MARATHI : Brahmi, Ghola, Jalabrahmi, Jalnam, Nir brahmi.
NEPALESE: Medha giree.
ORIYA: Brahmi, Prusni parnnī.
POLISH: Bakopa drobnolistna, Bakopa moniera.
PUNJABI: Brahmibuti.
SANSKRIT: Adha-birni, Aindri, Brahami, Gundala, Indravalli, Jalasaya, Jala brahmi, Nira-brahmi, Tiktalonika
SINHALESE: Lunuvila, Lunu wila [Siv], Nigandu
TAMIL: Ahaznda poozndu, Carumam, Neer brahmi, Neer pirami, Pirami, Piramiyam, Piramiya vazhukkai.
TELUGU: Neeri sambraani mokka, Sambrani aku, Sambrani chettu.
THAI: Phak mi, Phrommi.
URDU: Brahmisak, Jal brahmi.
VIETNAMESE : Rau đắng biển.

Brahmi  is a creeping, smooth, somewhat fleshy plant, with branches 5 to 20 centimeters long. Leaves are stalkless, entire, oblong-ovate to spatulate, 8 to 15 millimeters long, up to 4 millimeters wide, widest near the blunt tip, and tapering toward the base. Flowers are borne singly in the axils of the leaves, on stalks which are usually as long as the leaves or longer. Calyx is about 5 millimeters long, the outer sepal being oval and the others ovate-lanceolate or lanceolate. Corolla is 8 to 10 millimeters long; the tube, which is nearly as long as the calyx or quite as long, has white or pale violet lobes. Capsules are ovoid and shorter than the calyx. Seeds are numerous and pale.


– Phytochemical study yielded saponins, tannins, flavonoids, and triterpenoids.

– Plant yields the presence of a trace of oil matter, two resins, organic acid, tannin and an alkaloid principle.

– Indian study yielded alkaloids, Brahmine and hespestine, saponins d-mannitol and hersaponin, monnierin.

– Yields betulic acid, stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol, bacosides and bacosaponins.

Medicinal properties of brahmi

– Considered aperient, adaptogenic, anti-anxiety, anti-epileptic, antipyretic, analgesic, anti-ulcer, anti-asthmatic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, antioxidant, diuretic, immuno-modulating, memory enhancing, neurotonic.

Parts used

Entire plant.

Folkloric traditional medicine remedies and uses of brahmi

– In the Philippines, decoction of entire plant utilized as diuretic.

– Hindu physicians use it as nervine tonic; used for insanity, epilepsy and hoarseness.

– Teaspoon of leaf juice used for vomiting and purging.

– In India, used as diuretic, aperient, and nervine tonic.

– In prehistoric times, used as nerve tonic for rejuvenating mental health and memory enhancement.

– Used to enhance memory, learning and concentration.

– In India and Pakistan, used as cardiac tonic, digestive aid, and to relieve bronchoconstriction.

– In Ayurveda, used for anxiety, mental retardation, depression, psychosis and epilepsy.

Scientific proven health benefits and uses of brahmi

Cognitive Enhancing Effects/ good for brain:

Study results suggest only chronic administration of extract is associated with cognitive-enhancing effects.


Study on rat model with extract with 25% bacoside A showed an anxiolytic effect comparable to benzodiazepene anxiolytic drug, lorazepam.

Epilepsy / Effect in High Doses:

Study in mice showed hersaponin provided protection against seizures. Study in mice using high doses of Bacopa extract demonstrated anticonvulsant effect, an effect not observed with lower doses.


Study showed Bacopa extract to have a relaxant effect on chemically-induced bronchoconstriction.

Spasmolytic / able to relieve spasm of smooth muscle:

In vitro studies demonstrated direct spasmolytic activity on intestinal smooth muscle through inhibition of calcium influx across cell membrane channels.


Animal and in vitro studies suggest a protective and curative effect on gastric ulcers.


A double-blind randomized, placebo-control study on 76 adults aged 40 to 65 showed a significant effect of Brahmi on a test for retention of new information, with decrease in rate of forgetting of newly acquired information.


Study of B. monniera extract on rat brain showed dose-related increases in SOD, CAT and GPX activities, suggesting a significant antioxidant effect after subchronic administration. The increase in oxidative free radical scavenging activity by BM may explain, in part, the cognitive-facilitating action noted in Ayurveda practice.

Antifertility: Study in mice showed antifertility effects with reversible suppression of spermatogenesis and fertility without any apparent toxic effects.

ADHD / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:

A double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized trial of 36 children with ADHD showed a significant benefit at 12 weeks, with improvement in sentence repetition, logical memory and paired associate learning tasks.


A study in adult male Sprague Dawley rats on the antistress effect of bacosides of Brahmi showed B, monnieri has the potential to modulate the activities of Hsp70, P450 and SOD, to prepare the brain to act under adverse conditions such as stress.


Study showed the standardized extract of B. monniera possesses a potent adaptogenic effect.


Study showed Bacopa monniera possesses anti-inflammatory activity through inhibition of COX and LOX and down-regulation of TNF-alpha.

Pollutant Detector:

Study showed the plant to be considerably tolerant to heavy metals, even accumulating trace quantities of these metals during growth. Analytical study showed considerable amounts of Al, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Pb, etc. in different parts of the plant. Its use as ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines and food supplements on one hand and bioaccumulation potential and phytoremediation efficacy are paradoxical.

Serotonin Receptor Activity / Antidepressant:

Study concluded Bacopa extract decreased cAMP production in cells with 5HT1a receptors, suggesting an agonistic effect. The effect was similar to results of a previous study where Bacopa displayed antidepressant effects comparable to imipramine.

Antioxidant Response Modulation:

Study evaluated the protective effect of B. monnieri on tissue antioxidant defense system and lipid peroxidative status in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Results showed Bm extract modulates antioxidant activity, and enhances the defense against ROS generated damage in diabetic rats.

Beneficial Effects on Attention, Cognition, and Working Memory:

In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled designed study of 60 healthy elderly subjects, study showed B. monnieri can improved attention, cognitive processing, and working memory partly via the suppression of AChE activity.

Cognitive Enhancing Effect / Free Memory Recall:

A review concludes there is some evidence to suggest Bacopa improves memory free recall with evidence for enhancement in other cognitive abilities.

Anti-Motility Effect:

Study evaluated a hydroalcoholic extract of BM for antimotility and toxicological studies. Results showed an anti GIT motility effect which may be due to the presence of saponins, tannins, flavonoids and triterpenoids and may involve the interaction of the constituents with alpha 2 and GABA receptors.

Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties / Toxicity Study:

In a study of the whole plant using various extracts, methanol extracts were found to have potent antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Active crude methanol extracts assayed for cellular toxicity to fresh sheep erythrocytes showed no cellular toxicity.

Protective Effect on Liver and Kidney Toxicity in Chronic Opioid Use:

Study evaluated the protective effect of B. monnieri against morphine-induced liver and kidney toxicity in rats. Study of Bacopa monniera in rats showed a significant protective effect against morphine induced liver and kidney toxicity.

Anticholinesterase Efficacy / Novel Approach for Alzheimer’s Disease / Leaves and Stems:

Study in male albino rats of an ethanol extract of leaves and stems showed anticholinesterase Inhibitory properties. Results showed competitive inhibition in AChE in all brain regions studied. Results suggest a potential natural source of bioactive compounds that may be beneficial to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Antimicrobial / Aerial Parts:

Study evaluated the antimicrobial activity of an ethanolic extract of aerial parts of B. monnieri, with Ciprofloxacin and Cotrimazole as reference controls. Results showed concentration dependent antimicrobial activity against test microorganisms.

Chemopreventive / Aerial Parts:

Study evaluated B. monnieri for cancer chemopreventive property on DBMA-induced skin pappilomagenesis in Swiss albino mice. Results showed chemopreventive activity with a significant reduction in tumor incidence, number of tumors and papillomas.

Bacoside A and B / Effects on Cognitive and Emotional Deficits in an Animal Model of Dementia:

Study evaluated an alcoholic extract of BM on induced cognitive effects in olfactory bulbectomized mice. Results showed amelioration cognitive functions via a mechanism implicated in the enhancement of synaptic plasticity-related neuronal signaling.

Cardioprotective in a Diabetic Model:

B. monnieri exhibited significant myocardial salvaging effects in a model of chemically induced rats using streptozotocin (STZ). In addition, treatment was safe to vital organs with preservation of histopathological structures of hepatic, renal, and pancreatic tissues.

Anti-Epileptic / Bacoside A / Decreased GABA Receptors:

Bacopa monnieri and Bacoside-A treatment reversed epilepsy associated changes to near control suggesting decreased GABA receptors in the cerebral cortex have an important role in epileptic occurrence.

Inhibition of Human Cytochrome P450 Enzymes / Potential for Herb-Drug Interactions:

Study showed Bacoba monnieri extract could contribute to herb-drug interactions when orally co-administered with drugs metabolized by CYP1A2, CYP3A4, CYP2C9 and CYP2C19.

Anti-Amnesic Effect / Diazepam Induced Amnesia:

Study showed B.monnieri has an anti-amnesic effect, significantly reducing SOD activity. Its anti-amnesic effect that may vary depending on the amnesic agent used. However, the antioxidant mechanism may be central to evoking the memory enhancing effects of B. monniera against diazepam induced amnesia.


Capsules, teas and extracts in the market.

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