Brahmi is a plant that has been used in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda). Be careful not to confuse brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) with gotu kola and other natural medicines that are also sometimes called brahmi.
Brahmi is used for Alzheimer's disease, improving memory, anxiety, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergic conditions, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a general tonic to fight stress.
People also take brahmi to treat backache, hoarseness, mental illness, epilepsy, joint pain, and sexual performance problems in both men and women. It is also sometimes used as a “water pill.”
How it works
Brahmi might increase certain brain chemicals that are involved in thinking, learning, and memory. Some research suggests that it might also protect brain cells from chemicals involved in Alzheimer's disease.
Possibly EffectiveImproving memory
Some research shows that taking specific Bacopa extracts (KeenMind; BacoMind) improves some measure of memory in otherwise healthy older adults. Also, taking Bacopa extract seems to improve some measures of memory and hand-eye coordination in children aged 6-8 years.
Bacopa extract is POSSIBLY SAFE for adults when taken by mouth appropriately and short-term, up to 12 weeks. Common side effects include increased bowel movements, stomach cramps, nausea, dry mouth, and fatigue.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking Bacopa if you arepregnantorbreast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Slow heart rate (bradycardia): Bacopa might slow down the heart beat. This could be a problem in people who already have a slow heart rate.
Gastrointestinal tract blockage: Bacopa might cause “congestion” in the intestines. This might cause problems in people who have a blockage in their intestines.
Ulcers: Bacopa might increase secretions in the stomach and intestines. There is concern that this could worsen ulcers.
Lung conditions: Bacopa might increase fluid secretions in the lung. There is concern that this could worsen lung conditions such as asthma or emphysema.
Thyroid disorders: Bacopa might increase levels of thyroid hormone. Bacopa should be used cautiously or avoided if you have a thyroid condition or take thyroid hormone medications.
Urinary tract obstruction: Bacopa might increase secretions in the urinary tract. There is concern that this could worsen urinary obstruction.
ModerateMedications for Alzheimer's disease (Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors)
Bacopa might increase levels of certain chemicals in the body that work in the brain, heart, and elsewhere. Some drying medications called "anticholinergic drugs" can also these same chemicals, but in a different way. These drying medications might decrease the effects of Bacopa, and Bacopa might decrease the effects of drying medications.Some of these drying medications include atropine, scopolamine, some medications used for allergies (antihistamines), and some medications used for depression (antidepressants).Bacopa might increase certain chemicals in the brain, heart, and elsewhere in the body. Some medications used for Alzheimer's disease also affect these chemicals. Taking Bacopa along with medications for Alzheimer's disease might increase effects and side effects of medications used for Alzheimer's disease.
Bacopa might increase certain chemicals in the brain, heart, and elsewhere in the body. Some medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions also affect these chemicals. Taking Bacopa with these medications might increase the chance of side effects.Some of these medications used for glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions include pilocarpine (Pilocar and others), donepezil (Aricept), tacrine (Cognex), and others.The body naturally produces thyroid hormones. Bacopa might increase how much thyroid hormone the body produces. Taking Bacopa with thyroid hormone pills might cause too much thyroid hormone in the body, and increase the effects and side effects of thyroid hormone.