Would it come as a surprise if we told you that there is a safer alternative to treating memory and brain-related disorders that has been in use since thousands of years? This miracle herb has been given a place of honor in several Ayurvedic treatises including Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita in the 3rd century CE. It’s none other than bacopa or as it’s known by its Sanskrit name – Brahmi.
Don’t let its decorative use in aquariums fool you. For centuries, Brahmi has been used to treat a wide range of mind-related concerns such as memory loss, depression, anxiety, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and epilepsy. What’s great is that Brahmi or Bacopa has significantly less side effects to popping psychotropic drugs.
Bacopa monnieri contains bacosides which increase cognitive function by enhancing transmission of nerve impulses, making it a promising avenue for the natural treatment of ADHD.
An Ancient Cure for Stress
The word Brahmi translates into “herb of grace.” This name is closely associated with Brahmi‘s use as an anxiolytic medicine. In Ayurveda, it is known to balance majja dhatu (the nervous tissue) and help to relax tension and improve mood.
|Bacopa Pros||Bacopa Cons
|Does not cause addiction||Can upset the stomach if not supplemented with food|
|Boosts memory recall and cognitive function||It takes time to show effects; Cognitive improvements are seen at 8-12 weeks|
|Proven to aid with anxiety and depression||Tastes really bitter if consumed in powder form|
|Improves production and regulation of dopamine and serotonin|
|Supports attention and retention|
|Treats headaches arising from stress|
A study found that adults taking Brahmi found it easier to learn and retain new information. Another study put its stamp of approval on the earlier studies by showing that participants who took bacopa supplements could do better at memory and brain performance.
It is used in treating Alzheimer’s disease as it helps bring down amyloid levels. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early phase Alzheimer's disease is attributed to cholinergic degeneration and oxidative stress. A research that is study on the elderly clearly demonstrated that B. monnieri suppresses AChE activity due to high cholinergic function, which in turn enhances attention and memory processing.
Brahmi has been shown to be effective in regulating enzymes like HSP 70, CYP 450 and SOD by anticipating stressful conditions. This can be of huge help in stress-related conditions like depression, anxiety and ADD (attention deficit disorder). In children, a study in which Brahmi was administered over 12 weeks discovered significant benefits in the improvement of sentence remembering, logical thinking and paired associate learning tasks.
According to Dr. David Frawley, Brahmi helps awaken the crown chakra (Sahastrara; the seventh spiritual chakra in head) and balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
How to Use Bacopa
Brahmi milk: Soak a small quantity of Brahmi leaves in water overnight. Then make it into a paste with a few ground almonds, sugar candy and milk. Given to children, this works as an excellent brain tonic.
Juice and tablets: Adults can benefit from drinking 10-20 ml of fresh Brahmi juice on a daily basis. Taken in powder/tablet form, the dosage could range from 250 mg to 1 g after food at night along with honey or ghee and water based on your health practitioner’s advice.
Tea: Add a few fresh leaves or a generous pinch of bacopa powder to one cup of boiled water and allow to steep for up to 10 minutes.