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Botanical Description & Habitat

Bacopa monniera, herpestis m



Medicinal Parts
Whole herb

Historical Properties & Uses

Brahmi is a popular Indian Ayurvedic herb. Brahmi is also one of the most frequently used herbs in Japanese medicine. In both cases, it used primarily as a nerve tonic, to treat insomnia and nervous tension, with secondary applications as a diuretic.

Method of Action

Brahmi Saponins are Sedative in Nature
Brahmi contains saponins (dammarane type glycosides called bacosides) yielding ebelin lactone on acid hydrolysis. Saponins of similar character occur in Zizphus jujuba, jujuba fruit, and have been shown to by Chinese physicians to strengthen the nervous system, and decrease insomnia. Jujuba and bacopa are both used for nearly the same purposes, and their chemistry turns out to be nearly identical also.

Brahmi also has marked hypotensive and diuretic properties. Brahmi has some anti-cancer properties, against Walker 256 in the rat.

Brahmi Affects Learning and Memory
Brahmi facilitates the acquisition, consolidation and retention of learned tasks in rats. Acquired responses involved shock-motivated brightness-discrimination tasks (negative reinforcement), active conditioned avoidance responses, and conditioned taste aversions (positive reinforcement).

In this research it was also determined bacopa has no central depressant or stimulant action. The nervous system properties of bacopi appear, therefore, to be receiving ongoing validation in basic research.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Known Interactions
Brahmi, insofar as its diuretic action increases the renal excretion of sodium and chloride, may potentiate the hyperglycemic and hyperuremic effects of glucose elevating agents.

Possible Interactions
Brahmi should not be used with methotrimeprazine, a potent CNS depressant analgesic.

The use of diuretics may require dosage adjustments of antidiabetic drugs.

In the absence of other hard data, it may still be assumed observable interactions may occur between the many central nervous system drugs and the psychoactive principles in brahmi.

The neuromuscular relaxing action of brahmi may be enhanced by the use of certain aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as clindamycin.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Brahmi possess no known side effects or toxicity at normal doses.

Preparation & Administration

use 1-3g twice daily

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.


Bhakuni, D.S., M. Dhar, M. Dhar, B. Dhawan & B. Mehrotra. Screening of indian plants for biological activity. Part II. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, 7(10), 250-262, 1969.

Chatterji, N., R. Rostogi & M. Dhar. Examination of bacopa monier. I. Isolation of chemical constituents. Indian Journal of Chemistry, 1, 212, 1963.

Gladkih, A.S., I. Gubanov & I. Rabinovich. Pharmacological studies on medicinal plants in India. Farmakologia I Tosikologia, 31(1), 120-122, 1968.

Kawai, K. & Shibata, S. Phytochemistry, 17, 287, 1978.

Kulschreshtha, D.K. & Rastogi, R.P. Chemical examination of bacopa monniera. V. Identification of ebelin lactone from bacoside A and the nature of its genuine sapogenin. Phytochemistry, 12, 887, 1973.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Shibata, S. Pharmacology and chemical study of dammarane-type triterpenoids. D. Baron & W. Ollis. eds. Advances in Medicinal Phytochemistry, John Libbey, 1986.

Singh, H.K. & B. Dhawan. Effect of bacopa monniera Linn. (Brahmi) extract on avoidance responses in rat. J of Ethnopharmacology, 5, 205-211, 1982.

Singh, H.K., R. Rastogi, R. Srimal & B. Dhawan. Effect of bacosides A and B on avoidance responses in rats. Phytotherapy research, 2(2), 70-75, 1988.