You may not have heard of brahmi. Named after (Indian) supreme consciousness Brahma, is a creeping herb also known as bacopa monnieri, as well as water hyssop, among other terms. It is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. It has been shown to improve cognition and memory recall.
The plant grows in marshy areas in various parts of the world. Brahmi should not be confused with gotu kola or cnidium monnieri, both of which are different plants.
Besides improving memory and cognitive function, brahmi has also been used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Brahmi has also been used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), male infertility, and epilepsy, among other conditions.
Though brahmi has been tested mainly in the elderly, younger people may benefit from it as well.
And while many herbal supplements out there have been claimed to aid virtually every condition known, this one seems legitimate going by the credible sources that have studied it or cited other credible studies.
How Does Brahmi Work?
According to WebMD, the herb works by increasing certain brain chemicals that are involved in thinking, learning and memory. It may also protect the brain from certain chemicals linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Brahmi takes time to work and thus should be given a fair period of time (12 weeks or more) to notice significant results.
Brahmi may be safe for most people. Adverse side effects are rare. The most commonly reported side effects include nausea and gastrointestinal upset. One study showed no toxicity or side effects. It is best taken with food. Bacopa (brahmi) may be better absorbed when accompanied with a lipoid transporter and is often used with ghee in India.
So where can you get brahmi? Brahmi extract supplements are sold online, in health food, and other stores including pharmacies. Some brain and memory supplements contain it as an ingredient. Of course, do your due diligence when buying these or other supplements as there are many scam products out there.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
 WebMD: BACOPA