Brahmi: Evidence Based Benefits and Health Effects

What is brahmi?

Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) is a well-known herb used in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) to treat a host of neurological disorders. Based on many studies, it is considered to be one of the healthiest herbs.

Brahmi

Brahmi

Possible health benefits of brahmi

Memory improvement

Young children often experience difficulty learning, concentrating, and retaining information. Brahmi leaf extract can be given to them to boost memory and concentration.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with weak memory and poor attention. A clinical trial conducted on children with ADHD symptoms demonstrated the positive effects of the extract.

It might be beneficial for older people with normal age-related memory problems. Some controlled trials have revealed its effectiveness in improving the memory of elderly people by suppressing the activity of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme responsible for decreased brain function.

Brahmi Images

Brahmi Images

Alzheimer’s disease (AD)

Cognitive decline is often associated with aging which causes low attention, difficulty learning, and memory loss.

Alzheimer’s disease is marked by progressive loss of brain cells that leads to memory deficiency and cognitive impairment. A study on AD-affected mice showed the potential of the extract in improving the symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease

Every year, 50,000-60,000 cases of Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed by physicians. Males are more susceptible to the neurological condition than females.

In this disorder, low production of the neurotransmitter dopamine results in muscle stiffness, loss of proper movements, and tremors. In a study, the extract has been shown to reverse motor impairment by restoring the activity of dopamine.

Brahmi Photos

Brahmi Photos

Anxiety disorders

Patients with mental or cognitive disorders suffer from fear and anxiety. Constant feeling of nervousness can cause trouble sleeping, fatigue, and increased heart rate.

Tea prepared from the leaves or flowers might help in reducing frequent panic attacks. Clinical studies have supported its use as a mood enhancer to treat the symptoms of anxiety.

Few more evidences about its therapeutic effects on a range of anxiety disorders have been found in some human clinical trials.

Depression

More than 121 million people throughout the world suffer from clinical depression. The distressing condition is one of the prime causes of suicide as many patients fail to cope with it.

Regular intake of the tea can aid in the treatment of depression. In a study, affected mice had reduced episodes of mood swings after its administration.

Brahmi Flower

Brahmi Flower

Epilepsy

Epileptic seizures are controllable with the intake of the juice or powder. Gotu kola is often combined with it for a better effect during an epileptic attack.

Clinical experiments on epileptic rats showed its beneficial effects on the neurological disorder.

Immunity

An array of illnesses can be curbed with consumption of the extract which improves immune function to fight against several bacteria and viruses.

It increases the production of antibodies (immunoglobulins) in the body so that the harmful effects of foreign substances are neutralized.

In an animal study, the results supported the benefits of Brahmi diet for building a strong immune system as well as preventing autoimmune disorders.

Brahmi Plant

Brahmi Plant

Brahmi Powder

Brahmi Powder

Thyroid disorders

Hypothyroidism is marked by low production of thyroid hormone called thyroxine in the body. Affected patients experience symptoms like fatigue, loss of hair, and increased weight as result of an underactive thyroid gland.

It appears that the leaf extract could reverse the function of the thyroid gland in order to regulate the levels of the hormone. A study on affected mice suggested its role in stimulating the gland to increase thyroxine production.

Diabetes

The presence of antioxidants makes it ideal for treatment of diabetes. Interestingly, a controlled study on rats fed with the extract found similarities with the action of insulin in healthy individuals.

Cancer

Use of the liquid extract can combat several forms of cancer as a result of its antioxidant activity. Studies carried out on tumor cells in mice have found that it could be an effective treatment for cancer.

Hypertension

Bacosides in the extract have vasodilatory properties that correct high blood pressure by reducing stiffness in the arteries.

In some animal studies, its administration brought a prominent reduction in blood pressure.

Brahmi Pictures

Brahmi Pictures

Liver damage

It promotes liver functioning by eliminating toxins, thereby cutting the risk of various life-threatening disorders. Its usefulness as a detoxifying agent has been evaluated in a study.

Hair growth

Oil prepared by boiling the fresh leaves in base oil is used for boosting the growth of hair. It is often combined with amla to get strong and thick hair.

Brahmi Oil

Brahmi Oil

Although a study evaluated the potential positive effects of brahmi seed powder on hair growth, there are no strong evidences for supporting the use of the hair oil.

Safety and precautions

Side effects– It does not generally cause any adverse health effects. However, some individuals may experience abdominal cramping, nausea, and diarrhea in case of over-consumption.

Use during Pregnancy– It is advisable for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to stay away from brahmi.

References:

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-761-brahmi.aspx?activeingredientid=761&activeingredientname=brahmi

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/9-facts-brahmi-bacopa-monnieri/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacopa_monnieri

http://www.wellcorps.com/Therapeutic-Effects-of-Bacopa-Monnieri.html

http://www.drugs.com/npp/brahmi.html

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