Brahmi – Bacopa monnieri
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Bacopa monnieri (waterhyssop, brahmi, thyme-leafed gratiola, water hyssop, herb of grace, Indian pennywort) is a perennial, creeping herb native to the wetlands of southern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. Bacopa is a medicinal herb used in Ayurveda, where it is also known as “Brahmi”, after Brahm?, the creator God of the Hindu pantheon.
The leaves of this plant are succulent, oblong and 4–6 mm (0.16–0.24 in) thick. Leaves are oblanceolate and are arranged oppositely on the stem. The flowers are small and white, with four to five petals. Its ability to grow in water makes it a popular aquarium plant. It can even grow in slightly brackish conditions.
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.
The best characterized compounds in Bacopa monnieri are dammarane-type triterpenoid saponins known as bacosides, with jujubogenin or pseudo-jujubogenin moieties as aglycone units. Bacosides comprise a family of 12 known analogs. Other saponins called bacopasides I–XII have been identified more recently. The alkaloids brahmine, nicotine, and herpestine have been catalogued, along with D-mannitol, apigenin, hersaponin, monnierasides I–III, cucurbitacin and plantainoside B.
The constituent most studied has been bacoside A, which was found to be a blend of bacoside A3, bacopacide II, bacopasaponin C, and a jujubogenin isomer of bacosaponin C. These assays have been conducted using whole plant extract, and bacoside concentrations may vary depending upon the part from which they are extracted. In one Bacopa monnieri sample, Rastogi et al. found this bacoside profile—bacopaside I (5.37%), bacoside A3 (5.59%), bacopaside II (6.9%), bacopasaponin C isomer (7.08%), and bacopasaponin C (4.18%).
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.
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.
All information provided is for informational purposes only. Please seek professional advice before medicinal use of any plants.