Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri

Synonyms

No documentation.

Vernacular Name

Brahmi, bacopa, brambhi, brihmi sak, zarazab, nirbrahmi, sard turkistan, coastal water hyssop.

Description

The succulent, smooth leaves are thick and oblanceolate, arranged opposite on each stem. The leaves of this plant are succulent and relatively thick. Leaves are oblanceolate and are arranged oppositely on the stem. The flowers are small and produce four or five petals. It is well tolerated to wet environments and can be grown hydroponically. [1][4] 

Origin / Habitat

Brahmi is a small creeping plant found growing wildly in damp lands throughout tropical climates of the world. It is also cultivated as a medicinal herb. [1] [2] In Hindi tradition Brahmi is revered and is likely named after the Goddess of learning, which coincides with the plants reputation as having strong cognitive benefits. [3] 

Chemical Constituents

Bacoside A and B, alkaloids, betulic acid, flavonoids, phytosterols. Beta-sitosterol, D-mannitol, stigmastarol. [1][3]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant, or the roots, stems or leaves by themselves. [3]

Traditional Use

Brahmi is most classically known in Ayurvedic medicine as a mental tonic of sorts. This water hyssop is reported to have been used in India for 6000 years. It is known as a medhya rasayana, which indicates its rejuvinative mental effects. [2] In addition to its mental effects, Brahmi has traditionally been used in many gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcers, indigestion, ascites and enlarged spleen. Brahmi may also be used for its laxative properties, as well as its ability to combat anaemia, some inflammations and leprosy. [3] 

Traditionally it was used to anoint newborns with the hope of improving their intelligence, to "open the gate of Brahma" (Brahma being “creator” in the Hindu culture). Brahmi is still given in India to school age children for improving intellectual behavior. 

The saponin compounds (bacosides) are attributed with the capability to enhance nerve impulse transmission and thereby strengthen memory and general cognition.

Dosage

5-10g Powder, 8-16ml Infusion [1]

Standardization Dosage

Note: If standardized extract is used, dosage would be 50-150mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day. (Standardized to 20% bacosides A and B per dose.) [5] 

Pharmacology

Pre-clinical

Clinically, B. monnieri has been reported to improve intellectual behavior in children; in adults, B. monnieri has been reported to be effective in reducing anxiety, thereby allowing improved brain functioning in terms of memory enhancement and elevated mental performance. [6] A four-week open trial in India was conducted on 35 adult patients with anxiety neurosis. [7] Concentration and immediate memory span were both significantly improved. On-the-job mental fatigue, measured as total work output, and errors committed per unit time, also were statistically improved. Other major symptoms improved, including nervousness, palpitation, insomnia, headache, tremors, and irritability. The mean total anxiety level was significantly decreased, as was the mean maladjustment level and the disability level. In some cases, disability status was overcome. Side effects were transient and not clinically significant. 

B. monnieri is also reported beneficial in children. A single-blind trial in India was conducted to study the effects of B. monnieri on children (ages 6-8) and learning behavior. [8] Maze learning improved, as did immediate memory and perception and the reaction/performance times. 

B. monnieri has been evaluated as an antifertility agent in a male mouse model. Animals treated with the herb had no reduction in testosterone and no effect on libido, but fertility was significantly reduced. [9] 

Clinical

In an open clinical study of 13 patients with epilepsy, B. monnieri was reported useful in improving the symptoms and occurrence of epileptic seizures. [10] The onset of epileptic seizures was completely resolved in five of the cases. This trial was conducted in 1966, so new studies need to be performed to justify the use of B. monnieri in epilepsy. Many epileptic patients suffer from cognitive impairments, with both the underlying pathology and antiepileptic drug therapy causing such deficits. The commonly used anticonvulsant phenytoin (Dilantin) is known to adversely affect cognitive function. A recent Indian study tested B. monnieri alone and in combination with phenytoin for its effect on cognitive impairments in laboratory mice. [11] Work on understanding how B. monnieri might play a role in Epilepsy has continued. [12] 

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.

Interaction with Drugs

Based on pharmacology, use with caution in individuals on calcium channel blocking agents. [13]

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

No documentation.

Pregnancy

Not to be used with pregnant or nursing mothers.

Age limitation

Not to be used in children under two years of age.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

Read More

  1) Medicinal Herbs

References

  1. Kapoor, LD. CRC Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1990.61.
  2. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) Available from: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?102292. [Accessed on 13 February 2009].
  3. Premila, M.S. Ayurvedic Herbs: A Clinical Guide to the Healing Plants of Traditional Indian Medicine. Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press; 2006.
  4. Society for Parthenium Management (SOPAM). 2004. Available from: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/CropFactSheets/bramhi.html. [Accessed on 13 February 2009].
  5. American Herbal Products Association. Use of Marker Compounds in Manufacturing and Labeling Botanically Derived Dietary Supplements. Silver Spring, MD: American Herbal Products Association; 2001.
  6. Kidd,P. A Review of Nutrients and Botanicals in the Integrative Management of Cognitive Dysfunction. Altern Med Rev. Jun1999;4(3) :144-161.
  7. Singh RH: Singh L. Studies on the Antianxiety Effect of the Medyha Rasayana Drug, Brahmi (Brahmi monniera Wettst.)-part1. J Res Ayur Siddha;1980.1:133-148.
  8. R. Sharma, et al. Efficacy of Brahmi monniera in Revitalizing Intellectual Functions in Children. J Res Edu Ind Med.1987;1: 1-12.
  9. Singh A, Singh SK.Evaluation of antifertility potential of Brahmi in male mouse. Contraception.Jan2009;79(1):71-79.
  10. Mukherjee, GD et al. Clinical Trial on Brahmi. J Exp Med Sci. 1966; 10(1): 5-11.
  11. Vohora D, Pal SN, Pillai KK. Protection from Phenytoin-induced Cognitive Deficit by Brahmi monniera, A Reputed Indian Nootropic Plant. J Ethnopharmacol. Aug2000;71(3): 383-390.
  12. Paulose CS, Chathu F, Khan SR, Krishnakumar A.Neuroprotective role of Bacopa monnieri extract in epilepsy and effect of glucose supplementation during hypoxia: glutamate receptor gene expression. Neurochem Res. Sep2008;33(9):1663-1671.
  13. Dar A, Chana S.Calcium Antagonistic Activity of Brahmi monniera On Vascular and Intestinal Smooth Muscles of Rabbit and Guinea-pig. J Ethnopharmacol 1999; 66(2):167-174.