A traditional, therapeutic herb native to India, brahmi (also known as Bacopa monnieri) is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine as a memory enhancer, aphrodisiac, and general tonic. Its impact on cognitive performance has prompted a number of investigations into its positive benefits. Here are just a few of the health benefits attributed to brahmi.

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1. Promotes Comfort

Many diseases, brain and otherwise, are connected to chronic irritation and redness in the body. Plants like brahmi and turmeric have been studied extensively for their ability to fight discomfort and systemic redness. One review has identified brahmi as a potential therapy for chronic discomfort and neuropathy. [2] [3] [4] [5]

2. Stress Reduction

If the effects of daily stressors are getting the best of you, brahmi supplementation may be something to explore. Stress reduction is perhaps brahmi’s most well known, traditional use. A study evaluating brahmi supplementation reported significant mood improvement among participants, as well as decreased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. This suggests that brahmi counteracts the effects of stress by regulating hormones involved with the stress response.

3. Boosts Cognitive Agility

A recent, placebo-controlled study of 24 volunteers reported that brahmi boosted cognitive performance. These results support use of the herb as a therapy by persons suffering from cognitive issues, short attention span, foggy memory, and blurred focus. [8]

4. Alzheimer’s Therapy?

Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating and heartbreaking disease, usually caused by a plethora of physiological, genetic, and environmental factors. Amyloid formation in neurons can cause significant brain damage and influence the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s important to understand that, to date, no herb, plant, drug, or anything — including brahmi — has been found to be the magic bullet against Alzheimer’s. Based on its history as an herbal therapy to promote neurological function, some have suggested that brahmi may be a promising therapy for Alzheimer’s. [9]

5. Protection Against Toxic Compounds

Nobody ever said French fries were healthy but do you realize just how toxic they can be? Enter acrylamide. Acrylamide is a toxic compound that forms when starches are heated above 248 degrees; in other words — fried. Acrylamide is a carcinogen that also damages brain tissue. In animal models, brahmi supplementation protected brain cells exposed to acrylamide from oxidative stress and neurotoxic effects. [10]


6. Encourages Normal Blood Pressure

Brahmi has been shown to increase the utilization of nitric oxide in the body and also appears to encourage vascular muscle function, two benefits that positively influence normal blood pressure. [9] While promoting normal blood pressure is not one of Brahmi’s most well-known uses, the herb may still provide a valuable, natural approach to those seeking this benefit.

7. Strong Antioxidant Activity

Antioxidants… can we get too many of them? Many researchers are evaluating natural plants, herbs, and foods for their antioxidant potential and findings indicate that Brahmi is a good one. It provides protection against oxidative damage, a type of cellular damage caused by free radicals. [10] The herb has also been shown to enhance antioxidant activity in other organs, like the kidneys. [11]


8. Supports the Brain

As people age, it’s common for age-related brain degradation to happen. The active compounds in Brahmi, known as bacosides, are beginning to be evaluated for their effects on the brain and human health. Some research has shown the compounds in Brahmi to positively influence brain cells that prompt the regeneration of brain tissue. [1] In one animal study, long-term supplementation with bacosides showed therapeutic value against the rapid degeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease. [2] Hopefully more will continue to explore its potential benefits for brain health.

9. Promotes Liver Health

The brain is not the only organ that benefits from Brahmi’s health-promoting compounds. The liver is the body’s main detoxifying organ, and studies suggest Brahmi may be useful for encouraging liver function following toxin damage.  With the daily onslaught of toxins in our environment and food, it’s no wonder so many seek safe, natural compounds that support proper liver function.

10. Protection Against Neonatal Hypoglycemia

When it comes to newborn infants, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can result in serious and immediate brain damage, inducing future motor and cognitive impairment. Studies have found bacosides to be highly-active compounds that exhibit neuron-protecting effects in hypoglycemic infants. Therefore, many researchers believe that Brahmi extracts may be effective for protecting newborn brains against hypoglycemia-induced brain damage.

11. Positively Impacts Opioid Dependence

Doctors prescribe (and sometimes over-prescribe) opioids, like morphine and oxycodone, for pain management. Although these drugs are effective, their highly-addictive nature is a massive downside. Seventy-seven percent of chronic pain patients also suffer from depression and face an added risk of addiction. Researchers have discovered that bacosides may be helpful for enhancing the benefits of morphine while reducing the “high”, thus decreasing the risk for dependence. In addition, studies indicate that bacosides offer protective benefits for organs commonly affected by opiate toxicity.

12. Fights Systemic Redness and Swelling

Any illness or irritation can cause redness and swelling in the body. No location more dangerous than the brain. Brahmi may be helpful at fighting this. Research supports its use for managing systemic redness in the brain caused by the body’s autoimmune response . [8] Much of the research is ongoing; however, the emerging data offers hope for new therapies in the treatment of chronic discomfort and redness.