BRAHMI (Bacopa monnieri)
Brahmi the Sanskrit word derived from brahma, the creator of the universe. Brahmi has various synonyms in Ayurvedic scriptures delineating its properties like medhya – a nervine, divya – divine, smarani – boosts memory, vayahstha – imparts longevity, Saraswati the goddess of learning etc. Maharsi Caraka has categorized brahmi as samjna sthapana restores consciousness and praja sthapana – promotes reproduction. He has also praised it as a majjadhatu rasayana – the rejuvenative to nervous system.. It is mentioned to be a keen stimulant for memory (smarana), intelligence and booster for longevity. (Raja Nighantu). Acarya Vagbhata places it as a drug of choice in epilepsy (apsamara)
The herb is found in moist or wet places, such as on borders of water channels, wells, irrigated fields etc. It grows throughout India, upto 1,200 metres elevation. The glabrous annual creeper is succulent. The leaves are obovate, entire, with broad apex, aessile and their lower surface is dotted. The flowers are solitary, stalked, corolla bluish white in colour and about 1 cm across. One of the five sepals is larger than the others. The fruits are ovoid, with minute and numerous seeds.
The botanical name of brahmi is Bacopa monnieri and it belongs to family Scrophulariacceae. Bacopa monnieri has been considered as true brahmi in south. In northern areas Centella asiatica has been used as brahmi. The authorities have use of Centella asiatica as mandukaparni and Bacopa monnieri as brahmi. An uncharacterized alkaloid and brahmine are isolated from the alchol extract The plant also yields beuliic acid, gamma sitosterol, stigmasterol, mannitol, saponinbacoside A. From the leaves , alkaloids – brahmine and herpestine alongwith the mixture of three alkaloids have been isolated. From the whole plant D – mannitol, beta sitosterol, stigmasterol stigmastanol and bacoside A and B are reported. Nicotine, luteolin and luteolin and luteolin 7 – glucoside isolated Bacogenin A1 obtained from acid hydrolysate of bacoside. Structure and absolute configuration of jujubogenin degradation of bacoside A
Brahmi is bitter and astringent in taste , sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency . It has a special potency to alleviate epilepsy and hysteria . It alleviates vata and pitta dosas. The chief properties of a brahmi are rejuvenative, imparts longevity, memory and intelligence. It possesses light and laxative attributes. (Bhavaprakasa Nighantu)
The whole plant, especially the leaves, have great medicinal value. Brahmi is used both, internally as well as externally. The medicated oil of brahmi with triphala (three myrobalans), karcura (Curcuma zedoaria and usira (Vetiveria zizanioides) augments the hair growth and imparts pacifying effect on the brain. The fresh juice of brahmi massaged on rheumatic joints, relieves the pain and swelling.
Internally, brahmi is used in a vast range of diseases. Brahmi is one of the best nervine tonic and is widely used in treating epilepsy, hysteria etc. The powder of its dried leaves can be used when fresh plant is not available. It suppresses the appetite, hence should be used with dipana drugs. Brahmi ghrta or svarasa (juice) is used with benefit in epilepsy and hysteria. In these disorders, it alleviates the mental debility, nourishes majja dhatu (nervine tissue) by pacifying pitta dosa. Brahmi is not sedative but rectifies the mental debility and boosts memory and intelligence. The fresh juice of brahmi, kustha (Saussurea lappa) is combined with honey, works well in gysteria. Brahmi should not be used in seak appetite and in predominance of kapha dosa. Instead of it, vaca (Achorus calamus), sankhapuspi (Evolvulus alsinoides) and nirgundi (Vitex negundo) are recommended in these conditions.
Brahmi being cold in potency reconciles the vitiated pitta in urinary ailments like burning, bleeding and pain, as it is diuretic. The medicated milk of brahmi is used in dysuria and urinary calculi. In hoarseness of voice, brahmi with pippali, vasa and haritaki is chewed. The jam prepared of brahmi is beneficial in cough of vata and pitta types and in the whooping cough. To attain longevity, improve the memory and intelligence, brahmi should be given with honey, for prolonged duration. Sarasvata curna is one of the best preparations of brahmi which imparts benefits to mental faculties. Brahmi is salutary as a rejuvenative as it nourishes all the seven dhatus (tissues). Maharsi Susruta has quoted Brahmi ghrta rasayana and Brahmi svarasa rasayana to be the celestial.
- Brahmi prasa
- Brahmi ghrta
- Brahmi siddha taila