Monday, December 17, 2012

Bacopa, Bacopa Monnieri, Brahmi, ब्राह्मी

Bacopa monnieri, waterhyssop, brahmi, thyme-leafed gratiola, water hyssop, herb of grace, Indian pennywort

Bacopa has traditionally been employed as a neurological tonic and cognitive enhancer, and it is currently being studied for its possible neuroprotective properties.

Traditionally, it was used as a brain tonic to enhance memory development, learning, and concentration, and to provide relief to patients with anxiety or epileptic disorders. The plant has also been used as a cardiac tonic, digestive aid, and to improve respiratory function in cases of bronchoconstriction. Recent research has focused primarily on Bacopa’s cognitive-enhancing effects, specifically memory, learning, and concentration, and results support the traditional Ayurvedic claims. Research on anxiety, epilepsy, bronchitis and asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastric ulcers also supports the Ayurvedic uses of Bacopa. Bacopa’s antioxidant properties may offer protection from free radical damage in cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

A study is reported on the effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monniera) on human memory. Seventy-six adults aged between 40 and 65 years took part in a double-blind randomized, placebo control study in which various memory functions were tested and levels of anxiety measured. There were three testing sessions: one prior to the trial, one after three months on the trial, and one six weeks after the completion of the trial. The results show a significant effect of the Brahmi on a test for the retention of new information. Follow-up tests showed that the rate of learning was unaffected, suggesting that Brahmi decreases the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information. Tasks assessing attention, verbal and visual short-term memory and the retrieval of pre-experimental knowledge were unaffected. Questionnaire measures of everyday memory function and anxiety levels were also unaffected.
Brahmi is used for Alzheimer's disease, improving memory, anxiety, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergic conditions, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a general tonic to fight stress. People also take brahmi to treat backache, hoarseness, mental illness, epilepsy, joint pain, and sexual performance problems in both men and women. It is also sometimes used as a “water pill.” Bacopa has been used in traditional Ayurvedic treatment for epilepsy and asthma. It is also used in Ayurveda for ulcers, tumours, ascites, enlarged spleen, indigestion, inflammations, leprosy, anaemia, and biliousness.
The most commonly reported adverse side effects of BM in humans are nausea, increased intestinal motility, and gastrointestinal upset. Improving memory. Some research shows that taking specific brahmi extracts (KeenMind; BacoMind) improves some measure memory in otherwise healthy older adults. Brahmi appears to be no more effective than a sugar pill in keeping IBS symptoms from returning after remission.
      Be careful not to confuse brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) with Gotu Kola and other natural medicines that are also sometimes called brahmi.  Gotu Kola(Centella asiatica) is also known as sarswathi aku, kudavan, muththil, kudangal, thankuni, मधुकपर्णी, mandukaparni, ब्राम्ही(Marathi), vallaarai, brahmi booti.  In Ayurveda supplements made from Gotu Kola(Centella asiatica) are promoted as cancer treatment; however according to the American Cancer Society, "available scientific evidence does not support claims of its effectiveness for treating cancer or any other disease in humans.