In Ayurveda there are 2 types of Brahmi plants, one is called “Mandukparni” in Sanskrit, known as Marsh Pennywort in English and which is commonly known as Gotu Kola. Since the shape of the leaves of this plant is like that of a frog (Manduk), this plant is called Mandukparni.
Another type of Brahmi is called “Jalneem” in Sanskrit, also known as Water Hyssop in English and commonly known as Bacopa Monnieri.
Both types of plants are used in Ayurveda as brain tonic. Generally, Centella Asiatica is extracted from “Mandukparni” and Bacopa Monnieri is extracted from “Brahmi”.
In Ayurveda there is always some logical and scientific explanation given about the properties and benefits of the objects, subjects, substances, etc. Accordingly, there is a sublime reason why Brahmi is useful for the brain and for mental health. The top part of the head is called “Brahmarandhra” in Ayurveda and in Yogic texts. The brain is situated in that region and therefore the plant which is beneficial for the Brahmarandhra region is called “Brahmi”.
Brahmi is well known and has been used as a brain tonic for centuries in India. In Ayurveda, Brahmi is called “Budhi Vardhak”. Budhi means intellect and vardhak means booster. Due to its energizing and simultaneously calming effect on the brain and the neurotransmitters, this herb is highly recommended for students, teachers, lawyers, doctors, etc.
In Ayurveda, Brahmi “panchang” is used as a brain tonic. Panch means five and anga means parts. In other words, five parts of the Brahmi plant – seeds, roots, leaves, fruits (in some cases, the bark is used) & flowers – are used in different Ayurvedic formulas which are recommended as brain tonics. Sometimes, the leaves are made into a powder & only this is used in Ayurvedic preparations, which also works very well as a brain tonic.
How and why does brahmi work as a brain tonic? Brahmi has mainly 2 tastes according to Ayurveda – bitter and sweet. Bitter taste, due to its stimulating effect, regulates air circulation in our body. Therefore, it ensures a consistent flow of Udana Vayu (air which circulates around and above our throat region), which as a result regulates oxygen supply to our brain and to the neurotransmitters. This helps to enhance the thinking, reasoning, comprehending, analysing and interpreting functions of the brain. Sweet taste has a stabilising and sustaining effect. As a result of this, Brahmi helps to retain the information and therefore is helpful in improving one’s memory.
Brahmi can be taken in powder, capsule or tablet form. In some health stores, even Brahmi tea bags are available. Normally it is taken twice a day with a hot drink, preferably fresh organic cow’s milk. The normal recommended dosage is 2.5 – 3 grams at a time. When it is taken in the morning, due to its stimulating effect, it makes one’s brain very alert and therefore helps with proper concentration and appropriate responses. When taken at night, it induces good quality sleep due to its calming and relaxing effect on the brain and the mind.
Besides its beneficial effects on the brain, memory, intellect, etc. Brahmi is also useful for the heart, lungs, stomach, liver, spleen, bladder and the nervous system. Due to its strengthening effect on the nervous system, it can be useful for those who suffer from fits & epilepsy, and can also be used to clear the throat, and to improve the voice quality by correcting/resolving cough related problems. It can also help to purify the blood, remove toxins from the body, and improve the health and texture of the skin. Additionally, Brahmi is helpful in reducing and preventing inflammation, reducing fever and normalising one’s body temperature, controlling/maintaining proper blood sugar levels, etc.
This wonderful plant is known as “Rasaayan” in Ayurveda, which means that it has a rejuvenating and life-span prolonging effect.
Side effects: If it is taken in moderation, there are no known side effects as such. If it is taken continuously and excessively for a very long period of time, particularly at night, it may cause some disturbance in one’s sleep, especially for Vata predominant people.
Caution : for your specific individual need, it is advisable to take Brahmi under the supervision of a qualified Ayurveda Practitioner.