Bacopa monnieri is a creeping perennial herb that thrives in wetlands, marshy places and on muddy shores. Bacopa only grows to a height of about 15 centimetres but its branches creep horizontally over the ground. Because Bacopa can grow underwater it is often used as an aquarium plant. The small oval shaped leaves are succulent and the plant bears little white or bluish flowers which bloom nearly all year round. In the autumn Bacopa is harvested, and either turned into a powder or made into a syrup which is best known as Brahmi.
Common Name: Brahmi
Botanical Name: Bacopa monnieri
Other Names: Herb of Grace, Brahmi, Thyme-Leave Gratiola, Water Hyssop
Growing Area: Native to Southern India and Australia
Nutrients & Applications:
Bacopa’s active constituents include alkaloids, sterols and saponins. The alkaloids brahmine and herpestine, saponins d-mannitol and hersaponin, acid A, and monnierin were isolated in India over 40 years ago. Other active constituents have since been identified, including betulic acid, stigmastarol, beta-sitosterol, as well as numerous bacosides and bacopasaponins. Bacopa also has the flavonoids apigenin and luteolin.
Bacopa’s therapeutic use has its origins in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, where, for centuries, it has been used for its adaptogenic, tranquilizing, and antioxidant properties. Traditionally, Bacopa is used as a brain tonic as it has naturally occurring nitric oxide which the bacosides release thus relaxing the aorta and veins allowing smooth blood flow to nourish nerve cells. This improves cognitive capability (learning, concentration and short and long term memory ability), mental clarity and focus.
Bacopa’s antioxidant properties support cardiovascular health and protect against certain types of cancer by inhibiting free radical damage. It is also used as a digestive aid, and to improve respiratory function in cases of broncho constriction. Bacopa may also increase thyroid hormone levels. It is bitter in flavour and in India the plant is used in salads, soups, cooked as a vegetable, or pickled. The entire plant can be used medicinally.