Brahmi - The Ayurvedic Nootropic

Benefits of Brahmi (Ayurvedic Nootropic)

Brahmi, a powerful brain tonic gets it’s name from Lord Brahma, the divine creator of this earth, according to ancient Hindu mythology. It also called the "Herb of Grace." It is originally an aquatic plant which can also be grown in soil. According to ancient texts, it has the ability to make our mind and body so powerful and strong, that it enables us to access any knowledge or wisdom, and live a healthy life.

Scientific Name: Bacopa Monnieri

Family Name: Scrophularaceae

Sanskrit and vernacular names:

Saraswati: Just like the Hindu Goddess Saraswati, who is the epitome of supreme intelligence and knowledge.
Somavati: Containing nectar (soma).
Safed Kami: White Lord.
Mandukparni/ Manduki: Frog-shaped leaves.
Aindri: Favourite of the Hindu Lord, Indra.
Divya: Divine medicine.
Maha-aushdhi: Useful in healing multiple diseases.

Ayurvedic Composition:

Rasa (taste) – Tikta (Bitter), Kashaya (astringent)
Guna (qualities) : Laghu (light to digest)
Vipaka (Post digestion taste): Madhura (sweet)
Veerya (potency) : Sheeta (cold)
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Vata and Pitta.
Prabhava (special effect) – Medhya (improves intelligence)

Chemical composition:

Brahmine, Monnierin (a saponin), Ascorbic acid, Nicotinic acid, Herpestine, Alanine, Hentri-acontane, Octacosane, Hersaponin, Bacosid A&B, Bacogenins A1-A4 (Sapogenins), Beta-Sitosterol, etc.

Classical Categorization of Brahmi from Ancient texts:

Charak Samhita:

  • Praja-sthapan : Beneficial in supporting pregnancy.
  • Balya : Provide strength and immunity.
  • Medhya-rasayan : Good for brain.

Sushruta Samhita:

  • Medhya : Brain tonic.

What does Ayurveda say about Brahmi?

Smriti-prada : Improves memory.
Svarya : Improves quality of voice/speech.
Kushtha-hara: Useful in healing skin diseases.
Pandu-hara : Useful in treating Anaemia.
Mehastra: Useful in Diabetes and urinary disorders.
Kasajita: Useful in treating cold and cough.
Visha-hara: Useful in countering effects of poisoning, and helps detoxify the body.
Unmad-vinashni: Useful to get rid of psychological disorders like psychosis, depression, anxiety, etc.
Vaya-sthapna: Anti-aging agent.
Medha: Boosts up intelligence.
Deepaniya: Ignites our digestive fire (Jatharagni), and improves digestion.
Kandu-ghan: Relieves itching, pruritus, etc.
Hrudya: Supports cardiac health.
Shwasa-hara: Helpful in healing respiratory illnesses, like asthma, etc.
Pleeha-ghan: Supports spleen, liver.
Jwara-hara: Acts as an anti-pyretic agent.
Keshya: Promotes hair growth.

Main benefits of Brahmi:

Improves memory:

Brahmi is the most effective herbal medication for improving memory. It works by acting upon hippocampus, promoting intelligence, focus, and memory.

Reduces anxiety:

Brahmi has been shown to alleviate stress by lowering cortisol levels. The active components in this herb work to reduce stress by modulating hormones involved in the stress response, resulting in a natural calm and relaxed state.

Produces good sleep:

Consumption of Brahmi helps in relaxing our mind and rejuvenates us. It induces sleep and treats sleep related disorders.

Skin health:

Brahmi improves skin texture and complexion by acting upon melanin, our skin pigment. It works on cell regeneration and treats skin disorders, like eczema, acne, etc. It is also good for hair growth and alleviates dandruff related scalp issues.

Respiratory health:

Brahmi aids in the removal of excess mucus and the treatment of various respiratory diseases, like- irritation and soreness in the throat, rhinitis, sinusitis, cold and cough.

Immunity booster:

Antioxidants present in Brahmi supports the strengthening of our immune system, and provides a better response to infections.

How to consume:

The herb can be taken as ghrita (medicated Ghee), medicated oil, churna (powder), svarasa (fresh juice), infusion, decoction, aasava- arishta (fermented beverage), syrup, tea, lepa (paste), vati (pill), or by directly chewing it’s leaves.

Here are few ways and processes by which Brahmi can be consumed:

  • Make a paste of Brahmi leaves, or, add it's powder in any hair oil. Massage it on your scalp. Leave it on for an hour and wash your hair with normal temperature water to reduce headache. This also provides relief from stress, and induces sound sleep.
  • Take 1 teaspoon of Brahmi powder, mix it with rose water and make a paste. Apply it on acne-prone skin, areas of skin irritation and, on skin burns.
  • Take leaves and stem of Brahmi, crush them, and make a paste by adding some water in it. Now, squeeze the paste and filter it using a sieve to get it’s juice. Consume it for instant effect to aid in a variety of ailments.
  • Add ¼- ½ teaspoon of Brahmi powder in ghee while cooking vegetables, for proper digestion.
  • Consume 1 teaspoon of Brahmi powder with honey to get rid of cold and cough.
  • 1 gram of Brahmi powder when taken with Ashwagandha powder in milk, every night, is for good immunity and maintaining proper health.
  • 1 gram of Brahmi powder with ½ teaspoon ghee if consumed daily in morning, is helpful in improving alertness and concentration.
  • Brahmi can be used in decoction form also.
  • Ayurvedic formulations like Sarswarishta, Brahmi ghrita, Brahma-rasayana, Brahmi vati, etc. are available for different kind of uses, specific to the condition being treated for.
Author: Dr. Monika Mittal
Editor: Debleena Chatterjee

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  • Asthang hridya uttar tantra 40/52
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Photography: Milad Fakurian