brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) is an ayurvedic herbal medicine that is widely used in Ayurveda practice. It is usually prepared as a tea with an addition of ginger, turmeric, mustard seeds, dried mango powder and gram flour. Since ancient times, Brahmi has been used as a powerful nerve tonic by Ayurvedic doctors for as long as known. Regular consumption of Brahmi tea was found to be very effective in lowering the levels of anxiety and related symptoms in test subjects. Moreover, Brahmi was also found very effective in improving memory and mental functions.
Interestingly enough, studies also revealed that Brahmi can have an effect on the working memory of humans. When the herb was used in isolation, it had no effect on working memory, but when it was combined with Brahmi extracts, working memory was significantly enhanced. It is believed that the action of Brahmi on the human brain is due to its ability to protect nerve cells from damage caused by oxygenated compounds (free radicals). In other words, Brahmi acts as an antioxidant to counter the damage to nerve cells that results from high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, nicotine and alcohol use, aging and other agents that act as free radicals. Animal studies have shown that Brahmi helps to preserve nerve cells from degeneration and oxidative stress that accompany ageing; it also acts as an inhibitor of neurodegenerative processes such as the degeneration of neurons and glial cells.
Brahmi has a lot of amazing benefits that make it an important component of a healthy diet and regular Ayurvedic treatment. However, bacopa monnieri is a herb that needs to be taken with great care. People with acid reflux, peptic ulcers, problems with diarrhea or lactose intolerance should not take bacopa monnieri as it may cause severe, even life threatening side effects. For this reason, a combination of other herbal medicines are recommended when using bacopa monnieri in order to prevent or reduce the side effects that can result from its use.