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Bacopa monnieri, Bramia indica, Bacopa monnieria, Herpestis monnieri

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Shivani Kagra* & K.L. Dahiya**


* Pursuing Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgeory; Lal Bhadur Shastri Mahila Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Bilaspur (Yamuna Nagar), Haryana, India

** Kurukshetra Global City, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India


Vernacular name:

Assamese: Brahmi

Bengali: Brahmi-sak

English: Brahmi, Water Hyssop, Indian pennywort, Thyme Leaved Gratiola

Gujarati: Bamanevari, Jalanevari, Neerbrahmi

Hindi: Brahmi, Manduka Parni

Kannada: Brahmi, Jalabrahmi, Nirubrahmi, Valabrahmi, Ondelaga, Mandukaparni

Malayalam: Bhahmi

Manipuri: Brahmi-sak

Marathi: Jalnam, Brahmi, Birami

Nepali: Medhagiree

Oriya: Brahmi

Punjabi: Brahmibuti

Sanskrit: Brahmi, Gundala, Indravalli, Jalasaya, Sarasvati, Kapotavanka

Tamil: Nirabrahmi, Brahmi vazhukkai

Telugu: Sambarenu, Sambrani, Sambranichettu, Neerisambraanimokka

Urdu: Brahmi

Taxonomic classification

Kingdom: Plantae - plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants     

Subkingdom: Viridiplantae

Infrakingdom: Streptophyta - land plants 

Superdivision: Embryophyta         

Division: Tracheophyta - vascular plants, tracheophytes         

Subdivision: Spermatophytina - spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames       

Class: Magnoliopsida         

Superorder: Asteranae       

Order: Lamiales       

Family: Plantaginaceae - plantains          

Genus: Bacopa Aubl. – water hyssop, waterhyssop     

Species: Bacopa monnieri (L.) Pennell – Herb-of-grace, Coastal waterhyssop, Herb of grace – (Syn. Bramia indica, Bacopa monnieria, Herpestis monnieri)

Phytogeography: India, Bangladesh. Marshy, damp and wet areas throughout India.

Description: Brahmi is a perennial, creeping herb whose habitat includes wetlands and muddy shores. Root - Thin, wiry, small, branched creamish-yellow. Stem - Thin, green or purplish green, about 1-2 mm thick, soft, nodes and internodes prominent, glabrous; taste, slightly bitter.

Leaves: Succulent and relatively thick, arranged oppositely on the stem.  Simple, opposite, decussate, green, sessile, 1-2 cm long, obovate-oblong; taste, slightly bitter.

Flowers: Small flowers are borne in leaf axils. Flower stalk is 0.5-3.5 cm long. Bracteoles are 2, linear, below calyx. Sepals are 5, about 5 mm. Lower and upper sepals are ovate-lanceolate, lateral 2 sepals are lanceshaped to linear. Flowers are blue, purple, or white, 8-10 mm, obscurely 2-lipped. Capsule are narrowly ovoid, enveloped in persistent sepal-cup, tip pointed.

Fruit: Capsules upto 5 mm long, ovoid and glabrous.

Seeds: Yellow-brown, ellipsoid, truncate at one end, longitudinally channeled.

Flowering season: May-October.

Propagation: Seeds

Parts used: Leaves, shoots, whole plant

Phytochemical Constituents: b-sitosterol; 3-formyl-4-hydroxy-2H-pyran; 3-O-b-D-glucopyranosyl-(l-»3)-[b-Dglucopyranosyl]; 3-O-[b-D-glucopyranosyl-(l-»3)-[b-Dglucopyranosyl]; Aglycones; Alkaloids; Apigenin-7-glucuronide; Bacobitacins A-D; Bacogenin A2; Bacogenin A3; Bacogenin A4; Bacopa saponin-C; Bacopasaponins A-G; Bacopaside I; Bacopaside II; Bacopaside III; Bacopaside V; Bacopaside VI; Bacopaside VIII; Bacoside A; Bacoside A1; Bacoside A2; Bacoside A3; Bacoside B; Bacosine; Bacosterol; Bacosterol-3-O-b-D-glucopyranoside; Betulinic acid; Brahmine; Dammarane type triterpenoid saponins; D-mannitol; Jujubogenin; Luteolin; Luteolin-7-glucoside; Luteolin-7-glucuronide; Monnieraside I; Monnieraside III; Monnieri; Nicotine; Oroxidin; Plantioside B; Pseudojujubogenin; Stigmastanol; Stigmasterol; Wogonin.

Pharmacological actions: Adaptogenic; Analgesic; Anti-addictive; Anti-aging; Anti-amnesic; Anti-anxiety; Anti-arthritis; Anti-asthmatic; Antibacterial; Anticancer; Anticancer; Anticonvulsant; Anti-dementia; Antidepressant; Antidiabetic; Antiemetic; Antiepileptic; Antifungal; Antihypertensive, hypotensive; Antihypertensive; Anti-inflammatory; Antileprotic; Antimicrobial; Antinociceptive; Antioxidant; Antiparkinson; Antipyretic; Antispasmodic; Antitussive; Antiulcer; Anxiolytic; Aphrodisiac; Bitter; Blood purifier; Cardioprotective, cardiotonic; Cognitive enhancing; Emetic; Gastroprotective; Hair tonic; Heating; Hepatoprotective, hepatocuritive; Hypolipidemic; Laxative;  Myorelaxant; Nephroprotective; Neuroprotective; Nootropic; Pungent; Spasmogenic; Spasmolytic; Tranquilizer; Vasorelaxant.

Medicinal uses: Alzheimer’s disease; Anaemia; Anxiety; Arthritis; Ascites; Biliousness;  Convulsions; Diabetes mellitus; Diarrhoea; Epilepsy; Fevers; Hepatosis, hepatopathy, hepatitis; Hypertension; Indigestion; Inflammations; Leprosy; Leucoderma; Neuropathy; Parkinson’s disease; Scabies; Syphilis; Tumours; Ulcers.

Famed in Ayurvedic medicine, brahmi has antioxidant properties. It has been reported to reduce oxidation of fats in the blood stream, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. It has been used for centuries to help benefit epilepsy, memory capacity, increase concentration, and reduce stress-induced anxiety. It is listed as a nootropic, a drug that enhances cognitive ability. According to Ayurveda, it is bitter, pungent, heating, emetic, laxative and useful in bad ulcers, tumours, ascites, enlargement of spleen, indigestion, inflammations, leprosy, anaemia, biliousness etc. According to Unani system of medicine, it is bitter, aphrodisiac, good in scabies, leucoderma, syphilis etc. It is promising blood purifier and useful in diarrhoea and fevers.

Dosage and administration: Whole plant: 1-3 gm in powder form.

Leaves are chewed and taken orally. About 5 gm fresh juice of the leaves boiled with ghee and 2.5 gm root of Aplotaxis auriculata and honey prescribed internally in bilious disorders. Paste of its shoot along with shoots of Centella asiatica and Alternanthera sessilis in equal parts (10-15 gm each) given twice daily on empty stomach in both chronic and acute liver disorders associated wih hepatomegaly.

Agueous leaf juice is given twice a day for one month for diabetes.


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