Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri) Benefits, Dose, Side Effects, Research

Brahmi is one of the famous gifts of Ayurveda to the world. There is no herb that can improve intelligence naturally, better than this. Though it is more commonly known for its benefit in improving intelligence and memory, it is also an excellent anti aging, anti diabetic and anti oxidant herb.

Brahmi plant with flower

Botanical Name – Bacopa Monnieri (Linn) Pennell (Bacopa monnieria(L) Kunth; Gratiola monniera L)
Family- SCROPHULARACEAE

Vernacular Names

Hindi name – Barmi/ Jalanima
Telugu name – Sambarenu;
Bengali name – Birami
Tamil name -Neera Brahmi
Kannada name – Jala Brahmi
English name – Thyme leaved gratiola, Thyme leafed gratiola, water hyssop, Indian Pennywort, Herb of grace

Classical Categorization

Charaka Sahmita –
Prajasthapana – group of herbs useful in stabilizing the pregnancy.
Balya – strength and immunity improving group of herbs.

Varieties

Often the term Brahmi is also used in relation to Gotu Kola. This is because both have similar qualities. But with the term Brahmi, Bacopa monneiri is the more suitable herb to use. Gotu kola is more commonly called as Manduka Parni.

Distribution

Common in moist places throughout India.

Chemical constituents

Bacopa monneiri chemical constituents
Ascorbic acid, nicotinic acid, Brahmine, Herpestine, Alanine, hentri- acontane, Octacosane, Monnierin (saponin), Hersaponin, bacosid A&B, bacogenins A1-A4 (Sapogenins) B- Sitosterol etc.(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna Vijnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)

Brahmi plant

Uses

Bacopa is useful in –
Double vision due to weakness of nerves, dizziness, confusion, lack of mental composure.
Depression, anxiety, nervousness, phobia, manic depressive psychosis
sleep disturbances, insomnia, feeling sleepy all the time.
A study was conducted by Department of Physiology and Graduate School, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand on – Effects of 12-Week Bacopa monnieri Consumption on Attention, Cognitive Processing, Working Memory, and Functions of Both Cholinergic and Monoaminergic Systems. The study concluded that Brahmi is effective in these activities. (Research)

Brahmi is useful in –
Lack of memory, loss of concentration
Hearing and vision loss
As memory and confidence booster ahead of exams.
Tinnitus, neuropathy – Brahmi is a very good nerve tonic.
Speech problems in children – Brahmi promotes brain growth and improves co ordination between limbs, tongue and brain.
Hypertension – Bacopa is very useful in high BP. It controls stress and anxiety. It is also a very good anti oxidant. Hence, it protects nerves, heart and blood vessels.
Anti oxidant and DNA damage prevention activities of Brahmi were studied in Biochemistry & Nutrition Discipline, Defence Food Research Laboratory, Siddarthanagar, Mysore, India. The study found out that highest polyphenol content was found in methanol extract followed by water extract. This clearly indicates the Brahmi is a very rich in anti oxidants (related)

Bramhi for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder –
For all psychiatric disorders like MDP, OCD, depression etc, Brahmi is useful. But if the disease is there for a very long time or if the symptoms are very severe, then this one alone might not be effective enough. It might be required to make combination with other herbs such as Vacha, Shankhapushpi, etc.

A randomized controlled clinical trials review was conducted in Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia. The evaluation was done on cognitive-enhancing effects of Bacopa monnieri. The study concluded that there is some evidence to prove that Bacopa is efficient in this regard. (research)

Benefits

Brahmi Benefits as per Ayurveda –
Shophahara – good anti inflammatory herb
Panduhara – useful in anemia
Jvarahara – useful in fever
Deepani – improves digestion power
Kushtahara – useful in skin diseases.
Kandughna – relieves itching, useful in pruritis
Pleeha – useful in spleen disorders
Vayasa sthapani, Ayushya – improves life quality, anti aging
Unmada vinashini – useful in psychiatric disorders
Medha – improves intelligence
Vak – improves speech, helps in speech related development problems in children.
Svarya, Svarada – improves quality of voice
Hrudya – good for heart, acts as cardiac tonic
Shvasahara – useful in asthma, chronic bronchial disorders
Meha – useful in urinary tract disorders and diabetes
Diabetes – Brahmi is very useful in reducing blood sugar levels. Due to its anti oxidant property, it is also useful in improving the cell and tissue health in diabetic patients.
Read related: Diabetes: Ayurvedic Treatment, Remedies

Kasajit – useful in cough, cold
Visha hara – natural detoxification herb, useful in poisoning.
Its paste is put on a hot pan, heated to a little higher temperature and applied over chest of children to relieve chronic cough and asthma.
In case of fever due to Vata and Kapha imbalance, it is heated along with onion, tied in a pocket and heat is applied over chest.
Bacopa monneira is extensively used in treating Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disoreder (ADHD) in children.
It is also used in Irritable bowel syndrome, allergic skin and respiratory conditions, and as an anti stress tonic.

Bacopa monneiri

Medicinal properties

Brahmi – medicinal properties
Rasa (taste) – Tikta – Bitter, Kashaya (astringent)
Guna (qualities)—Laghu (light to digest)
Vipaka – taste conversion after digestion- Madhura – sweet
Veerya – Sheeta – cold in potency
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Vata.
Prabhava – Medhya (improves intelligence)

Sanskrit verse

brahmi benefits

Part used, dosage

Part used- whole plant
Dosage-
Fresh juice of Brahmi – 10-20 ml,
Brahmi powder – 2 – 3 grams in divided dose per day, is the adult dose.
Bacopa monneiri extract capsules in 25 mg – 500 mg size is also available. The dose of such capsules vary from 250 mg to 1 g per day.
In terms of leaves – leaf juice – 5 ml once or twice a day is the adult dose.

Brahmi dose as per age:
Your doctor is the best judge about this. 
From infants up to 5 years of age, rather than giving Brahmi in powder or capsule form, for children up to 5 years of age, it makes sense to give them Brahmi ghrita – an herbal ghee made with Brahmi and other ingredients.  Read more about Brahmi Ghritham
For this reason, Brahmi Ghrit is used as a part in boosting children immunity and for brain improvement program called Swarna Bindu Prashana

For children from 5 – 12 years of age, Brahmi ghritham can be administered or
Brahmi powder / capsule can be administered in a dose of 250 mg per day.
Brahmi powder – 1 gram per day, after food at night. along with honey or ghee and water.

For 12 – 18 years of age –
Brahmi extract capsule – 250 mg, once or twice a day, after food, along with ghee or honey.
Powder – up to 2 grams per day.

For adults, 2500 – 500 mg, once or twice a day of Bacopa extract.
2 – 3 grams, once or twice a day after food.

Its decoction is advised in a dose of 25 – 50 ml per day. Its decoction is prepared by adding 1 tablespoon of powder to 2 cups of water, boiled and reduced to half a cup. Filtered. Consumed when hot.

When is the right time to take Brahmi?
It is a tricky question. If you have sleep disturbances, consider taking it at night, after food
Some people with normal sleep feel disturbed sleep by taking Brahmi at night. They can take it along with half a teaspoon of ghee or it can be taken in the morning.
For improving alertness and concentration, it can be taken in the morning.

Usage duration:
Brahmi is safely used for a period of 3 – 4 months.

Research

Research on Bacopa monnieri:
When the proteins in our body malfunction – in form of misfolding or aggregation, it may result in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Diabetes type 2 or systemic amyloidosis depending on where the aggregation takes place.
A new research by Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU) has claimed that Brahmi, can be very effective in preventing and repairing the misfolding and aggregation of proteins (source)

Brahmi and Gotu kola

Both have been told to have similar benefits. When it comes to improving memory and intelligence, Brahmi is better, but Gotu kola does not cause Pitta increase, as much as Brahmi.

Action on Pitta dosha

Does Brahmi increase Pitta Dosha? How can it increase Pitta, being a coolant? 
Dhanwantari Nighantu says, Brahmi is Saumya – coolant, Tikta – bitter, Deepana – improves digestion strength. Balances Vata and Kapha Dosha. Bitter herbs can improve appetite, when conditions are favourable, just like wind can ignite fire.

Shodala Nighantu says Brahmi is Tikta – bitter, Katu Vipaka – undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion. swarapittada – improves taste and improves Pitta. He further says that Gotu Kola is similar to Brahmi, but gotu kola does not increase Pitta to a great extent. With these, it can be concluded that, Brahmi can mildly increase Pitta Dosha.

But its action on Pitta or agni is not intense as spicy sauces like Sambal. Here, Pitta increase should be understood as mild Pitta stimulation. That’s all.

Safety

Children, Pregnancy and lactation:
It is safe to take during pregnancy for a very short period of 2 – 4 weeks. It is safe to take  during lactation and in children above one year of age, in lower doses.

Side effects

Brahmi side effects:
It is best avoided in low heart rate conditions (bradycardia).
Because it acts as Deepana – digestive, it may not be tolerated well with people with sensitive stomach or ulcers. For them, it is best to take it along with ghee.
Some people have reported dizziness after taking brahmi as a single herb in the form of capsule / tablet.

Does Brahmi cause excess heat?
It is a coolant. It does not cause any heat.

Diet to follow

Diet while taking Brahmi –
Ghee, coconut oil, Sunflower seed, almond, taro root, flaxseed oil, soyabean, pistachio,
Broccoli, carrots, chard, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers
Flax seeds, walnut, tofu, brussel sprout, cauliflower, winter squash, fish oil, egg oil, krill oil, chia seeds, Canola, camelia are fine to take.
There are no diet restrictions. Please avoid all types of junk foods and Sodas. Please prefer homemade food wherever possible. 

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines with Brahmi as ingredient:
Brahmi Vati, Brahmi Ghrita, Saraswata Churna, Smriti Sagar Ras are used in improving learning skills, memory, concentration and to treat depression.
Balark Ras – used in cough, fever, intestinal worm infestation in children
Krimi Kuthar Ras – used in intestinal worm infestation and anorexia
Saraswatarishta – useful as an all purpose anti aging tonic for all ages.

Brands –
Himalaya Brahmi –
 Is a decent product. Usually administered in a dose of 1 tablet 2 times a day after food for 1 – 2 months time.
Patanjali Brahmi Churna – is usually administered – half a teaspoon once or twice a day with water for 1 – 2 months time.

Brahmi juice for infants

Q: How to make brahmi juice for infants?
Dr Hebbar:
First of all, for any medicine or home remedies, especially for infants, please consult an Ayurveda doctor directly. Following online advice is potentially dangerous.
Brahmi fresh leaves – is crushed and juice is extracted. This can be used in a dose of 3 drops in the morning after the baby is at least 9 months old.

If you are not sure about the quality of brahmi juice (if it is infested, it can cause fever and other complications in child), then prepare a decoction – 1 teaspoon of crushed leaves of brahmi + 1 cup of water. Boil and reduce to half a cup. Give this – 10 drops in the morning.
Any of the above 2 can be continued for 2 – 3 months time, based on your doctor’s advice.

FAQs

Can this be taken without consulting a doctor?
No. It is always best to consult your doctor before taking any herb

How long does it take to start showing results?
Depends on the dosage and other products suggested with this. Usually 1 – 2 weeks time.

Can this product be taken along with Allopathic medicines (English medicines)?
Usually it is well tolerated with allopathic medicines. However, consult your doctor for the right advice. When English and Ayurvedic medicines are advised together, it is best to take English medicine first, give a gap of half an hour and then take Ayurvedic medicines.  

Can it be used in people with diabetes?
Yes. But an eye should be kept on the blood sugar level. Your doctor should help you in this regard. This product can reduce blood sugar levels.

It is sold in plastic bottles. Is it fine? 
If the quality of the bottle material is very good, it should not be problem, if stored for a short period of time.

Can one take non vegetarian food while taking this medicine?
Yes, unless your practitioner has asked to avoid it.

Sanskrit Synonyms

Brahmi – the word is derived from the word Brahman, the Diety responsible for creation of universe.
Saraswata / Saraswati – named after Goddess Saraswati – Deity for learning. This is because the herb is useful in improving learning skills and intelligence.
Aindri or Endri – grows in moist places, improves strength
Kapotavega, Matsyakshi, Somavalli

75 thoughts on “Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri) Benefits, Dose, Side Effects, Research”

  1. Dear Dr. Hebbar,

    Is it safe and sufficient to give Brahmi Smriti granules available in the market to children above 3 years – one teaspoonful in a glass of milk once daily?

    Reply
  2. I thought In kannada ondu elaga soppu is bramhi, thanks for info. Can u pls tell what is ondu elaga soppu is called then

    Reply
  3. A very informative article. Thanks for the info.
    Which company/brands offer the genuine brahmi churna or capsules?

    Reply
  4. Doctor , It is an excellent piece of information.
    You are enriching us through your articles.
    A true Rishi….

    Can an Alzheimer patient take this drug or herb

    Prof Venkat

    Reply
    • In chronic diseases the dose can be higher for initial couple of months, then a maintenance dose can be administered for write a long period. I do not see a need for gap in between.

      Reply
  5. Dear Sir,
    I took brahmi Sharbat of leading brand and got headache for several hours.
    i was empty stomach & made sharbat in cold water.
    Kindly Advise.
    Thanks
    Vishal

    Reply
    • Please follow the instructions on the label carefully. Please also try a cup of the juice after food.

      Reply
  6. Nice article sir. Have a question. What is your opinion about this product:

    http://amritadrugs.com/Ingredient/b-brahmi.php

    It’s a powder that can be consumed by mixing in milk which contains brahmi and other herbs. I am thinking of using this powder instead of other milk drinks like boost, etc. Is it safe to use every day twice? Is it safe to give to a kid of 2 years?

    Reply
    • Hi, that Brahmi granules contain some other additional ingredients. It can be used in place of boost etc but only for 1 – 2 months period. I would not recommend long term usage. FOr kid of 2 years, in a very low dose of half a teaspoon per day, that can be used for one month time. It needs to be stopped after that.

      Reply
  7. Dear doctor, I want to increase my memory power, concentration will brahmi churna or it’s products help me? I am studying in class XI. So please Doctor advice me

    Reply
  8. Dear sir, Brahmi is useful in Mental stress,Fatigue, Insomnia, Improves Memory, Delays ageing etc., And is not useful for Migraine specifically but can be used an a adjuvant.
    Contra indicated: Low heart rate patients. As we do not know what other ingredients have been administered to produce the sherbat it is advised to take the sharbat with a advise from a Ayurvedic Physician.

    Note: As we all are genetically different with different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many different ways. Hence Standard Ayurvedic Treatments are always individually formulated. For specific treatment, always consult with a qualified Ayurvedic physician

    Reply
  9. Madam, It takes atleast 2 months for a considerable change. And it is based on your age, strength and constitution.

    Reply
  10. dear dr,
    if one has hypertension is it advisable to take it in the night. (a case of diabetes too)
    thanks

    Reply
    • Sir, It is a potent herb for high blood pressure. 250mg of brahmi should be taken at night.

      Note: Please do consult a ayurvedic physician before taking over the counter medication. Because we all are genetically different with different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many different ways. Hence Standard Ayurvedic Treatments are always individually formulated.

      Reply
  11. Dear dr,
    Can u plz comment on the efficacy of St. John wort over brahmi for depression and anxiety and it’s availability in India

    Reply
  12. Dear Sir,

    Thanks for many many such nice articles.
    Sir, Rasa, Vipaka and Veerya of Brahmi are all pitta-reducing. But in the article, you have written that Gotu Kola does not increase pitta as much as Brahmi. But according to rasa, vipaka and veerya, Brahmi should actually reduce pitta. I am concerned abouy this because I am pitta body type and have started consuming Himalaya Brahmi Capasules from couple of days.

    Reply
  13. Hello Doctor
    Thanks for the article. Recently I bought jalabrahmi plant. The seller is telling no problem in eating this leaves just like tulsi. It is good for Alzheimer. My question is whether we can eat the raw plant say one inch daily. Is there any side effects? And also what are the benefits by consuming it as raw.
    Thanks
    Rao

    Reply
    • Hi, it can be eaten raw, if you can tolerate the taste. – Just make a paste and chew it.
      It has all the benefits as explained above.

      Reply
  14. I want to use saraswati lehyam and bramhi oil for good memory.I will follow the pranayama.Please send details.

    Reply
    • You can use both together as combination. General dose of lehyam (assuming you are not diabetic) – 5 grams, once or twice a day, after food.

      Reply
  15. Hi, Ashwagandha in a dose of 1 capsule at night, along with a cup of milk for 2 months may help in improving weight. It can be taken along with Brahmi.
    It may take at least one month time to notice positive change.

    Reply
    • Thanks a lot for the prompt reply Dr. I love reading your articles, very informative and you give satisfied answer. My best wishes. Can you suggest where to buy this brahmi? Powder form or capsule. Thanks once again

      Reply
  16. I am on brahmi and aswagandha Himalaya capsule twice daily it works splendidly on me is it OK to continue for years

    Reply
    • I would not recommend to continue for years. Just take them for 3 months time and then start reducing the dose gradually by yourself or with the help of an Ayurveda doctor. Do not rely on medicines or herbs forever. Your body also has a healing mechanism. Give it a chance.

      Reply
  17. can we combine brahmi shankhapushpi jatamansi and ashwagandha together to improve mental condition as all there herbs good for mind or will there be any side effects

    Reply
  18. Dear Doctor Hebbar, I visit your site regularly, thank you for all the info you share. I’m aged 32 and was recently diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus and sliding hiatus hernia caused by chronic acid reflux. I’m taking esomeprazole 40 mg before food, morning and night. I’m also taking vidaryadi kash and dhanawantram tabs before lunch after consulting with avs doctor. I have taken brahmi before and would like to continue taking it for stress and anxiety. My questions are 1. What is the best time and way to take it, if after food how much time after food? 2. Is Himalaya brahmi tab or avs capsule better? Because I have heard that the brahmi in caps might not be absorbed fully. 3. Is it okay for me to take brahmi with the above described conditions of Barrett’s and haitus hernia? Thanks.

    Reply
    • I have use Himalaya brahmi and have found very effective. Once capsule / tablet at night after food is a good starting point, for one month usage, after that, re-analysis would make sense.
      Capsule does get absorbed better.
      It is fine for you to take Brahmi.

      Reply
  19. Sir,
    As Brahmi is fat soluble. Then how Brahmi Sharbat can be effective when taken with water? Kindly reply

    Reply
  20. Does Brahmi capsules / Himalaya help directly or indirectly in overcoming Chronic Depression . Person is under medication of antidepressents over a decade now .

    Reply
  21. sir ,for how much time one should take shankh pushpi brahmi syrup.. iam an adult of 30 years and do lot of study. thank you.

    Reply
  22. Hello dr,

    My son has 16 months..can u tell me d quantity gave him?
    I have brahmi powder..I have confusion about quanity serving?

    Reply
  23. Hi Sir,
    Just purchased Himalaya BRAHMI product ( 60tablet/250mg.tablet).
    Pls advise me dosage, best time & duration for my 12yrs old son. Should this take continously or need certain gap before continue.

    Pls reply & thank you.

    Rgds :
    Letchumanan
    Malaysia

    Reply

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