Health Benefits of Brahmi
Some of the most unique and important health benefits of brahmi include its ability to improve cognitive ability, relieve stress, prevent cancer, increase sexual drive, cleanse the body of toxins, treat respiratory conditions, protect against mental degeneration, boost the immune system, and lower inflammation.
With the scientific name of Bacopa monnieri, this creeping, perennial herb has been praised in Ayurvedic and traditional medicines across the world for generations. You may know it by another name, such as water hyssop, herb of grace, or waterhyssop, but brahmi is the most common name. It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact native region for this wetland-growing herb, and most experts agree that it has been growing wild in all six major inhabited continents for hundreds of thousands of years. Unlike many other herbs, brahmi has a range of rather unique health effects that have made it so desirable and cherished by global cultures.
There are certain valuable alkaloids and triterpene saponins found in brahmi that have strong effects on the body, in addition to many other organic compounds and volatile constituents. Brahmi is commonly used fresh as a salad ingredient, but the herb can also be dried and ground and used as any other herb. The leaves (2-3 per day) are often chewed by people as a general tonic, almost like a vitamin supplement. The flavor is relatively mild, but the real reason for using brahmi is for the impact that it has on human health. Let’s take a closer look at some of the unique health benefits of brahmi.
Health Benefits of Brahmi
Cognitive Boost: One of the most prized benefits of brahmi is its ability to stimulate the mind, particularly in terms of memory and concentration. It has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to increase focus and increase retention. Some of the organic compounds in brahmi stimulate cognitive pathways in the brain to boost cognitive ability.
Cognitive Disorders: Closely related to that first benefit of brahmi is the second – its ability to reduce the onset of cognitive disorders as we age, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Research has shown brahmi to be an effective way of stimulating the creation of new neural pathways and lowering oxidative stress in the brain, which keeps our minds sharp well into our old age.
Anxiety and Stress: The leaves of the brahmi plant can be chewed (only 2-3 at a time) in order to relieve stress and anxiety. The active ingredients in brahmi can effect hormonal balance in the body and positively impact the balance of stress hormones in our body, thereby inducing a calm, relaxed state in a natural way, avoiding the side effects of traditional pharmaceutical options for stress and anxiety relief.
Anti-Inflammatory Capacity: When the leaves of the brahmi plant are rubbed topically on affected parts of the body, the compounds released can reduce swelling and eliminate irritation, as well as inflammation inside the body as well. This is ideal for people suffering from arthritis, gout, and other inflammatory conditions.
Antioxidant Content: The antioxidants contained in brahmi are essential for promoting a healthy lifestyle. Antioxidants can eliminate free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause cells to undergo apoptosis (cell death) or mutate into cancerous cells. These free radicals affect everything from our skin to our cardiovascular system, so a regular dose of brahmi in a daily or weekly diet can help maintain a high quality of life and a healthy metabolism. Antioxidants also prevent certain types of cancer; research is ongoing into the direct pathways that brahmi’s components take to prevent or slow the spread of cancer. There is one particularly dangerous toxin, called acrylamide, which brahmi has specifically shown resistance to; acrylamide is connected to neurodegenerative diseases, so brahmi can add that to its list of benefits as well!
Respiratory Benefits: When brahmi is brewed in a tea or chewed as normal leaves, it can seriously boost your respiratory health. It has been used in Ayurvedic treatments for bronchitis, congestion, chest colds, and blocked sinuses. It can clear out excess phlegm and mucus and relieve the inflammation in the throat and respiratory tracts to provide you with rapid relief.
Immune System Booster: When consumed in any form, tea, leaves, or otherwise, brahmi can give the immune system a necessary boost. The small amount of nutrients is supplemented by the antioxidant compounds to increase the response time of our immune system against pathogens, viruses, or bacterial infection.
Epilepsy: The leaves of brahmi have been used as a treatment against epilepsy for thousands of years. This is thought to be due to the effect brahmi has on neural pathways, and it helps to prevent epileptic fits, as well as other forms of mental disease, including bipolar disorder and neuralgia.
Skin Health: If you want to speed up wound healing and disinfect the skin at the same time, spread brahmi juice or oil on the affected area. It can reduce the appearance of scarring and leave you with smooth, healthy skin enriched with its natural essential oils.
Blood Sugar: In some research studies, brahmi has been linked to increased blood sugar levels, so depending on your particular symptoms of diabetes, brahmi may be able to help improve your hypoglycemia and allow you to live a normal, healthy life.
Digestive Issues: Brahmi is a sedative and soothing herb, as well as anti-inflammatory and may help in providing relief from gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcers etc.
A Final Word of Warning: Long-term use of any herbal supplement is usually discouraged, and brahmi is no exception. Regular use for more than 12 weeks is discouraged, so it should only be used when you need it to alleviate a certain symptom or illness. Also, due to its effects on the respiratory system, urinary tract system, cardiovascular system, and blood sugar levels, you should consult a doctor is you suffer from asthma, urinary tract infections, a reduced heart rate, or hyperglycemia. Other than those concerns, brahmi is not considered to be a naturally allergenic food.