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Bacopa (Brahmi)

Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Bacopa monniera

Botanical Family:


Other Common Name:

Brahmi*, Indian pennywort, water hyssop, thyme-leafed gratiola, herb of grace.

*In India, the common name “Brahmi” is also applied to a very different medicinal plant with similar medicinal properties, Centella asiatica, also known as “Gotu Kola”.

Where is it found?

This creeping and succulent plant commonly grows in marshy areas throughout Asia, especially India, Sri Lanka Pakistan, Nepal, Vietnam, as well as in South America. Additionally, it grows in Hawaii and Florida.

Parts of the plant used:

The whole plant.

How is it used?

  • The plant can be eaten as a potherb or dried and pulverized and mixed with butter.
  • The juice can also be taken with milk or mixed with clarified butter (ghee).
  • Bacopa (alone or in combination with other herbs) is commercially available mainly in pill or capsule form.

What is it used for?

  • Bacopa is considered a very important healing plant in the traditional systems of medicine from India.
  • Its use is for improving memory/cognitive function
  • To treat insanity and epilepsy
  • To reduce neurosis, hypertension, and anxiety.
  • Bacopa is recommended in India as a tonic to slow down ageing.
  • It is used to treat asthma, kidney ailments, leprosy, tuberculosis, and skin diseases.
  • Externally, a paste made for the fresh plant is applied to treat elephantiasis and rheumatism.
  • The leaves and stems are used to treat snakebites in India.
  • Bacopa’s active constituents are a complex mixture of compounds known as “bacosides”.
  • These ingredients may have a protective effect upon nerve cells (neurons) and improve learning (cognitive) function.
  • For the reasons mentioned above, this plant may theoretically have an important role in the prevention or treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Bacopa’s active ingredients may possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


Safety / Precautions


  • There is no known toxicity associated with the use of this plant (Van Wyk and Wink, 2014).
  • In rare cases, only mild nausea, stomach upset and diarrhea have been reported.
  • Its use during pregnancy has not been thoroughly researched (Gardner and McGuffin, 2013).

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication: Always be on the safe side!



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