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Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri)

Description

The generic name is bacopa monnieri and belongs to the family scrophulariaceae. Brahmi is also called as moniera cuneifolia or herpestis monnieri. The other common names are jalnaveri, sambrani chettu, thyme leaved gratiola.

Bacopa Monnieri is very effective nervine tonic and helps in improving the learning ability. Brahmi can be consumed at the rate of 300 mg of extract in a day. The contra indications are yet to be documented and the brabmi interactions are yet to be studied. Bacopa Monnieri should not be used in pregnant women and breast feeding women. Brahmi of course has CNS effects but does not cause serious sedation.

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Brahmi is an herb and a creeper. Brahmi grows well in marshy lands and can be grown in fresh water aquaria. This plant has India as native but can be seen all tropical areas. Centella asiatica and merremia gangnetica are also called as Bacopa Monnieri but most scientists consider b.monnieri as the brahmi.

Bacopa Monnieri is very popular drug in traditional ayuvedic medicine. Brahmi is utilized in the preparation of much ayurvedic herbal preparation. People were using Brahmi traditionally for the treatment of epilepsy, cardiotonic, asthma, insanity, nervine tonic, diuretic; hoarseness etc. Bacopa Monnieri usage is very well mentioned in the texts of sixth century AD.

Triterpene saponins and bacopasaponins are the principle constituents of brahmi. Bioactivity of the plant brahmi totally depends on the saponins. The correct chemical structure of the saponins is very difficult to find as they have the ability to rearrange the structure on acid hydrolysis. The structure of saponins of brahmi is determined by the HPLC coupled with 2-D NMR, mass spectrometry and anthelmintic bioassay.

Initially the alkaloids present in the saponin were considered to be the cause of CNS activity of the brahmi. Bacopa Monnieri also contains very small amount of nicotine and so many other simple alkaloids which have no pharmacological value. Bacopa Monnieri also contain free triterpene and bacosine in addition to mannitol, betulinic acid, common plant sterols, glutamic acid and aspartic acid.

Precautions

In mice, brahmi [ethanolic extract] found to increase the cerebral level within 15 minutes after administration. Brahmi [saponin fraction] reduces spontaneous motor activity in rats and lowers the rectal temperature in mice. The same chemical produces tranquilizing effect in rats but could not block the conditioned avoidance response.

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