Name: Water Hyssop or Brahmi
Scientific name: Bacopa monnieri of Family Scrophulariaceae
Common name: thyme-leaved gratiola, water hyssop, herb of grace, Indian pennywort
Botanical description: the is a succulent herb which grows creeping on the ground and rooting mainly from the nodes. The plant needs a damp and marshy environment for its growth and development. Flowers of these plants are blue or white in color and commonly blooms during the summer season. The whole plant is medicinally very important.
Medicinal Properties: The main medicinal properties of Brahmi are it helps in mental-clarity and brain-stimulating action. It also possesses anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, epilepsy, insanity, anticancer and antioxidant activities (1).
In the ayurvedic medicinal system, the plant Brahmi is used mainly for skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, leprosy, asthma, and diseases of the nervous system.
Medicinally active compounds in Bacopa or Brahmi and their properties
The plant Brahmi contains two important saponins namely Bacoside A and B. these compounds plays a main role in the neuroprotective activity. These compounds help in enhancing attention, memory processing and increase working memory (2)
A research study suggested that the antitumor activity of stigmasterol isolated from the aerial parts of the Brahmi plant (3).
Brahmines, Herpestine and their mixture are three main alkaloids.
4. Amino acids
Main amino acids are alpha-alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, and serine.
These compounds act as an antioxidant in the body.
Other compounds are Beutalic acids, Sapogenins, D-Mannitol, betulic acid, beta-sitosterol, octacosane, and nicotine.
Health benefits of Brahmi or Bacopa
1. Neuroprotective activity of Brahmi
Bacoside A and B present in Brahmi helps in enhancing the cognitive effects. These compounds help in repairing and restoration of damaged neurons and improve nerve impulse transmission. The number of human clinical studies have also been done which showed remarkable efficiency in memory-enhancing capacity and neuroprotective activity of this wonderful plant (4).
2. Antidepressant activity of Brahmi
Bacopa or Brahmi helps to fight against depression. In a study done on animal model shows that consuming 20-40mg/kg bodyweight for 5 days helps in reducing depression (5).
3. Reduce anxiety and stress
The herb Brahmi helps in reducing the anxiety and stress level of the body. It was observed that chewing Brahmi leaf helps in around 20% reduction of anxiety level in human. The leaves help in balancing the hormonal level of the body thus is very efficient compared with other medicines (6).
4. Improves respiratory health
Bacopa leaves when chewed or taken with tea helps in strengthening the respiratory system. It helps in the treatment of bronchitis, chest congestion, colds and blocked sinuses. Also helps in relieving inflammation of the throat by clearing phlegm and mucus (7).
5. Brahmi helps in treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHA)
Studies done on 36 children aged between 8-10 years proves that 50 mg bacopa twice a day helps in significant improvement in logical memory and learning capacity (8).
6. Improves digestion
Brahmi leaves help in improving digestion and other digestive system related disorders. The herb Brahmi soothes the system and provide relief from gastrointestinal disorders like ulcers etc (7).
7. Treats epilepsy
The leaves of Brahmi are used for the treatment of epilepsy. The leaves of these plants improve the neural pathway thus combat with epilepsy and fits and other mental problems like mental diseases and bipolar disorders (7).
Paste or oil of Brahmi helps in reducing skin-related disorders and helps in fast wound healing and scar (7).
9. Treats Alzheimer’s disease
Studies done of humans suggest that taking 300 mg of Brahmi twice a day for six months helps in treating Alzheimer’s problems in newly diagnosed patients (9)
10. Treats Parkinson disease
Brahmi acts as neuroprotective by treating Parkinson’s diseases. Studies show that Bacopa extracts help in glutamate metabolism and glutamine content (10).