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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 (katuka kula)

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


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)


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 Vata and Pitta.
Prabhava – Medhya (improves intelligence)

According to Bhojana Kutuhalam twelfth chapter, Brahmi is cold in potency, astringent and bitter in taste, alleviates vitiated vata, rakta and pitta dosha. It imparts wisdom, knowledge, memory and there by increases lifespan.

There is another variety of brahmi with small and unctuous leaves and grows in water. this variety is bitter in taste, hot in potency, strengthening in nature, treats vitiated vata dosha and disorders caused by ama.

Sanskrit verse

brahmi benefits

Part used, dosage

Part used- whole plant
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.

Brahmi for children:

Is it recommended to use brahmi in any form to 1year old and above children as a supplement to enhance cognitive power? If yes, suggest dosage and best method.
Brahmi – Bacopa monnieri is not usually administered directly in children. It is administered in the form of a soothing polyherbal combination such as –
Swarna Bindu Prashana – an immunity and brain power boosting Ayurvedic remedy 
Saraswatarishta – a fermented tea preparation, more suited for children above 3 years of age 
Brahmi ghrita or Saraswata ghrita – suitable in smaller doses of just a pea size per day. 

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.

Brahmi with milk

Can a Brahmi capsule / tablet be taken with milk? If so, should it be taken with hot milk or cold milk?
Brahmi – is a rasayana herb. It has anti-aging properties. It is considered as medhya – improves brain functions such as memory, concentration, cognition etc.

Milk, containing a small amount of fat, is also explained to have anti aging properties.
So, Brahmi with milk is a good combination.

Brahmi is a coolant herb. Milk is also naturally cold. Taking Brahmi with cold milk will increase the coldness in the body. This is ideal for Pitta body type people, who feel hot all the time. But for Kapha and Vata dominant persons, Brahmi with hot milk is more suited. The hotness of the hot milk slightly decreases the natural coldness of the milk.

Other alternative co-drinks for Brahmi are –
Ghee, which is neither hot, nor cold, but it improves digestion strength
Cold or lukewarm water
Honey. Honey is slightly hot in nature and it ensures quick absorption and assimilation of Brahmi.
Ideal dose of a 250 mg Brahmi capsule or tablet is – 1 – 2 tablets – 1 – 2 times a day, before food.
It can be continued for a period of 1 – 2 months, based on the patient’s needs.


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.

Difference between Brahmi and Gotukola

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.


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.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

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.


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
Matsyakshi – Flowers of Brahmi resembles eyes of fish
Somavalli – Brahmi filled with good qualities
Vayastha – Brhami is very good rejuvenator
Toyavalli,,nirabrahmi – Grows near water resources

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
Marathi name – Ghola

Sthanika karma (Action on Different Systems)

External application – Relive edema, pain, and has anti toxic effect
Internal administration
Nervous system – Improve intelligence, anti convulsive, Indicated in Epilepsy, Insanity etc.
Circulatory System – It is Bitter in taste so act as Blood purifier, Because of its hot potency it stimulate heart
Respiratory System – Because of its Bitter taste and Hot potency it alleviate kapha dosha and good for Throat. Indicated in Cough, Voice
Excretory System – Being hot in nature it is a good diuretic, indicated in dysuria
Reproductive System- Good in menstrual disorders and aid fertility. Indicated in Dysmenorrhea, and in Infertility.
Skin – Stimulate sweat glands, Relive itching and other skin disorders
Anti toxic, indicated in fever also in general debility.
Digestive system – Indicated in indigestion and low digestive strength

Classical Categorization

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


Ra . Ni – Brhmi , Ksudra patra brahmi
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.


Common in moist places throughout India, near pond, river side etc. Also seen in Srilankha and Singapore


Succulent, Spreading, prostrate, creeping, glabrous annual herb
Leaves – Simple, opposite, decussate, fleshy.
Flowers – Axillary, solitary on long slender pedicels of varying lengths
Whitish, or pale bluish in colour
Fruits – Capsules Ovoid
Seeds – Oblong, minute and many

Does stopping Brahmi suddenly cause side effects?

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