15 Lesser-Known Health Benefits of Brahmi
Used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, Brahmi is undoubtedly the superstar of medicinal herbs. It is used for treating various physical and mental disorders and to support and enhance multiple functions in the human body. Scientifically known as bacopa monnieri, Brahmi grows in bogs and wetlands. It is known as Hyssop or Indian Pennywort in English and has various other names in the local languages of the places where it grows. But it is as Brahmi that this medicinal plant is universally known. The name Brahmi comes from Brahma, the Hindu God of creation.
Brahmi is a small, creeping, succulent herb. It is slightly bitter in taste, non-aromatic and branches profusely. It has purple flowers and small oblong leaves. As it roots in the nodes and grows easily wherever enough water is available it can be cultivated quite easily. The entire plant is used for medicines.
There are innumerable uses for Brahmi in Ayurveda, but it is best known for the benefit it has on the human brain and nervous system. It is believed to be a powerful ‘brain food’ and rejuvenates brain cells and revitalises the nerves in the brain. As it also improves blood circulation in the brain, it is said to delay the onset of senility in older people. It is popularly used as a memory enhancer and as a preventive and curative agent for anxiety.
While some benefits of Brahmi are quite well known, there are others which are not common knowledge. Read on.
1. Boosts brain functions: Brahmi is said to enhance memory and increase focus. As a result, the ability to concentrate on a task goes up. A study conducted in Lucknow concluded that taking Brahmi extract for a period of 12 weeks improved the learning rate, cognitive processing and memory in the people who were given the extract as compared to the subjects who were on a neutral placebo. Brahmi has two active molecules named bacoside A and B. They are being studied to understand how they work as they are believed to be the elements that help keep the brain in a good condition. Bacoside A plays a part in the release of nitric oxide in the blood, which relaxes the blood vessels and aids in the smooth flow of blood through the body. Bacoside B is a protein which nourishes the nerve cells in the brain and helps in restoring and rejuvenating them.
2. Slows down brain ageing: Brahmi not only helps in keeping the brain healthy, it has also been found to prevent or slow down the ageing process in the brain. A research conducted in Australia found that older people who took Brahmi had better verbal learning, memory processing and retention as compared to people in the similar age group who did not take the same supplement. This confirmed traditional belief that the use of Brahmi helps keep peoples’ brains in better condition for longer.
3. Helps Alzheimer’s patients: Studies have shown that taking Brahmi for a period of six months helps patients of Alzheimer’s disease. Their condition showed improvement and their quality of life became better with a decrease in irritability and insomnia. They also showed improvements in attention and language in terms of reading, writing and verbal communication as well as awareness of time, place and person.
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