Bacopa Monniera is a key ingredient in Javita Coffee
Bacopa monnieri (waterhyssop, brahmi, thyme-leafed gratiola, water hyssop) is a perennial, creeping herb whose habitat includes wetlands and muddy shores. Brahmi is also the name given to Centella asiatica, particularly in North India, and Kerala where it is also identified in Malayalam as muttil (മുത്തിള്) or kodakan. This identification of brāhmī as C. asiatica has been in use for long in northern India, as Hēmādri’s Commentary on Aṣṭāṅgahṛdayaṃ (Āyuṛvēdarasāyanaṃ) treats maṇḍūkapaṛṇī (C. asiatica) as a synonym of brahmi, although that may be a case of mistaken identification that was introduced during the 16th century.
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 white, with four or five petals. Its ability to grow in water makes it a popular aquarium plant. It can even grow in slightly brackish conditions. Propagation is often achieved through cuttings.
It commonly grows in marshy areas throughout India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, and is also found in Florida, Hawaii and other southern states of the USA where it can be grown in damp conditions by the pond or bog garden.  This plant can be grown even as hydroponics using just water.
It has been used in traditional Ayurvedic treatment for epilepsy and asthma. It is also used in Ayurveda for ulcers, tumors, ascities, enlarged spleen, indigestion, inflammations, leprosy, anemia, and biliousness.
Bacopa monnieri has many chemical constituents including alkaloids (brahmine and herpestine), saponins (d-mannitol and hersaponin, acid A, and monnierin), flavonoids (luteolin and apigenin). It also contains significant amounts of betulic acid, stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol, and bacopasaponins (bacosides A, bacosides B, bacopaside II, bacopaside I, bacopaside X, bacopasaponin C, bacopaside N2). The minor components include bacopasaponin F, bacopasaponin E, bacopaside N1, bacopaside III, bacopaside IV, and bacopaside V).
Pharmacology of chemical constituents
||This section needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. (August 2012)|
In rats, bacosides A enhance antioxidant defenses, increasing superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activity. Laboratory studies on rats indicate that extracts of the plant improve memory capacity. Some studies in mice suggest that ingestion of Bacopa for a 12 week period can significantly improve cognitive ability by accelerating the rate of learning and enhanced memory. The sulfhydryl and polyphenol components of Bacopa monnieri extract have also been shown to impact the oxidative stress cascade by scavenging reactive oxygen species, inhibiting lipoxygenase activity and reducing divalent metals. This mechanism of action may explain the effect of Bacopa monniera extract in reducing beta amyloid deposits in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. B. monnieri has a demonstrated ability to reverse diazepam-induced amnesia in the Morris water maze test. The mechanism of this action is unknown. In some trials, bacopacide extract did not restore or enhance memory formation, but improved retention. In others, including a randomized clinical trial of 98 healthy older people (over 55 years), Bacopa significantly improved memory acquisition and retention. A 2012 systematic review found some evidence to suggest that Bacopa improves memory free recall, but there was a lack of evidence for enhancement of other cognitive abilities.
Brahmi may regulate antibody production by augmenting both Th1 and Th2 cytokine production. It may also cause a lower heart rate, and increase secretions in the stomach, intestines, and urinary tract.
No safety studies have been performed on brahmi’s use in humans. When a preparation of the plant was evaluated for safety and tolerability it showed no adverse effects but there were some reports of mild gastrointestinal symptoms.
Participants in a 2001 double-blind study published in Psycho pharmacology experienced side effects including nausea, weakness and dry mouth while taking brahmi, notes the University of Michigan Health System. Brahmi could potentially cause elevated thyroid-hormone levels and decreased sperm counts. Therefore, taking brahmi should be avoided if you have a thyroid condition or are taking thyroid replacement therapies and other medications that affect thyroid function.
Aqueous extract of Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) has been reported to reversibly suppress spermatogenesis and fertility in male mice with at a dose of 250 mg/kg body weight/day for 28 and 56 days(equivalent to 1.54 g/day for a 76 kg male, when properly controlling for animal to human conversions ) Parameters of motility, viability, morphology, and number of spermatozoa in cauda epididymidis returned to baseline 56 days after treatment cessation.
The plant is known by many names in many international languages, including:
- ബ്രഹ്മി in Malayalam
- நீர்ப்பிரமி (Niirpirami)/ Valaarai in Tamil
- ผักมิ (Phak mi), พรมมิ (Phrommi) in Thai
- Lunuwila in Sinhalese (Sri Lanka)
- ae’ ae’ in Hawaiian (Hawaii)
- Rau Đắng in Vietnamese
- פְּשֵטָה שרועה (“psheta sru’a”) in Hebrew
- “Bacopa monnieri information from NPGS/GRIN”. www.ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- Warrier, P. K.; Nambiar, V. P. K.; Ramankutty, C.; Ramankutty, R. Vasudevan Nair (1996). Indian Medicinal Plants: A Compendium of 500 Species. Orient Blackswan. p. 238. ISBN 978-81-250-0301-4.
- Daniel, M. (2005). Medicinal Plants: Chemistry and Properties. Science Publishers. p. 225. ISBN 978-1-57808-395-4.
- Khare, C. P. (2003). Indian Herbal Remedies: Rational Western Therapy, Ayurvedic, and Other Traditional Usage, Botany. Springer. p. 89. ISBN 978-3-540-01026-5.
- Purdue University. “Bacopa monnieri“. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- IUCN. “Bacopa monnieri“. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- Rajani, M. et al. (2004). Ramawat, K. G., ed. Biotechnology of Medicinal Plants: Vitalizer and Therapeutic. Enfield, NH: Science Publishers.
- Anbarsi, K.; Vani, G.; Balakrishna, K.; Devi, C. S. (2006). “Effect of bacoside A on brain antioxidant status in cigarette smoke exposed rats”. Life Science 78 (12): 1378–1384. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2005.07.030. PMID 16226278.
- Morgan, A.; Stevens, J. (2010). “Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial”. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 16 (7): 753–759. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0342. PMID 20590480.
- Stough, C.; Lloyd, J.; Clarke, J.; Downey, L.; Hutchison, C.; Rodgers, T.; Nathan, P. (2001). “The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects”. Psychopharmacology 156 (4): 481–484. doi:10.1007/s002130100815. PMID 11498727.
- Roodenrys, S.; Booth, D.; Bulzomi, S.; Phipps, A.; Micallef, C.; Smoker, J. (2002). “Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory”. Neuropsychopharmacology 27 (2): 279–281. doi:10.1016/S0893-133X(01)00419-5. PMID 12093601.
- Stough, C.; Downey, L. A.; Lloyd, J.; Silber, B.; Redman, S.; Hutchison, C.; Wesnes, K.; Nathan, P. J. (2008). “Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa Monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial”. Phytotherapy Research 22: 1629–1634. doi:10.1002/ptr.2537. PMID 18683852.
- Dhanasekaran, M.; Tharakan, B.; Holcomb, L. A.; Hitt, A. R.; Young, K. A.; Manyam, B. V. (2007). “Neuroprotective mechanisms of ayurvedic antidementia botanical Bacopa monniera“. Phytotherapy Research 21: 965–969. doi:10.1002/ptr.2195. PMID 17604373.
- Saraf, K.; Prabhakar, S.; Pandhi, P.; Anand, A. (2008). “Bacopa monniera ameliorates amnesic effects of diazepam qualifying behavioral- molecular partitioning”. Neuroscience 155 (2): 476–484. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.05.043. PMID 18585439.
- Roodenrys, S.; Booth, D.; Bulzomi, S.; Phipps, A.; Micallef, C.; Smoker, J. (2002). “Chronic Effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on Human Memory”. Neuropsychopharmacology 27 (2): 279–281. doi:10.1016/S0893-133X(01)00419-5. PMID 12093601.
- Nathan, P. J.; Tanner, S.; Lloyd, J.; Harrison, B.; Curran, L.; Oliver, C.; Stough, C. (2004). “Effects of a combined extract of Ginkgo biloba and Bacopa monniera on cognitive function in healthy humans”. Human Psychopharmacology 19 (2): 91–96. doi:10.1002/hup.544. PMID 14994318.
- Pase, MP; Kean, J; Sarris, J; Neale, C; Scholey, AB; Stough, C (2012 Jul). “The cognitive-enhancing effects of Bacopa monnieri: a systematic review of randomized, controlled human clinical trials.”. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) 18 (7): 647–52. PMID 22747190.
- Yamada, K.; Hung, P.; Park, T. K.; Park, P. J.; Limb, B. O. (2011). “A comparison of the immunostimulatory effects of the medicinal herbs Echinacea, Ashwagandha and Brahmi”. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 137 (1): 231–235. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2011.05.017. PMID 21619924.
- Pravina, K.; Ravindra, K. R.; Goudar, K. S.; Vinod, D. R.; Joshua, A. J.; Wasim,No safety studies have been performed on brahmi’s use in humans. However, P.; Venkateshwarlu, K.; Saxena, V. S.; Amit, A. (2007). “Safety evaluation of BacoMind in healthy volunteers: a phase I study”. Phytomedicine 14 (5): 301–308. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2007.03.010. PMID 17442556.
- Reagan-Shaw, S; Nihal, M; Ahmad, N (2008 Mar). “Dose translation from animal to human studies revisited.”. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 22 (3): 659–61. PMID 17942826.
- Singh, A.; Singh, S. K. (2009). “Evaluation of antifertility potential of Brahmi in male mouse”. Contraception 79 (1): 71–79. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2008.07.023. PMID 19041444.
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- Monograph By Dr Ajay Padmawar,
- Caldecott, T. (2006). “Brahmi”. Ayurveda: The Divine Science of Life. Elsevier / Mosby. ISBN 0-7234-3410-7.
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