Water Hyssop

Binomial Name Bacopa Monnieri
Family Scrophulariaceae
Order Lamiales
Higher Classification Water hyssop
Genus Bacopa

Bacopa Monnieri is a perennial, creeping, non-aromatic herb, that grows naturally in moist and wet places like the borders of streams, water channels, wells, and irrigated fields. It is native to Southern and Eastern India, Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. Bacopa Monnieri is popularly used in Ayurveda, where it is known as Brahmi. Named after the creator God of the Hindu pantheon – Brahma, the use of Brahmi dates back to 3000 years or more in India. It is said to represent the creative energy of Earth. The leaves of this plant are oblong, succulent, and relatively thick (around 4-6mm). Leaves are lanceolate with the more pointed end at the base and are arranged oppositely on the stem. The flowers are small, white or purple and have a radial symmetry with four to five petals. This plant grows up to 2-3 feet with branches which can be 10-35cm long. It is propagated by seed, cuttings and also by the root division. Brahmi is a popular aquarium plant for its ability to grow in water. It can even grow in mild brackish conditions. It grows in marshy areas throughout India, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Vietnam. It can also grow in damp conditions by a pond or bog garden across Florida, Hawaii, and other southeastern states of the United States. This plant can be grown hydroponically. An important herb in ayurvedic medicine, Brahmi is believed to improve mental functioning, including comprehension, memory, and recollection. Its initial description dates back to the 6th century A.D. in texts such as the Charaka Samhita, Atharva-Veda, and Sushruta Samhita as a medhya rasayana–class herb taken to sharpen intellect and attenuate mental deficits. This herb was allegedly used by ancient Vedic scholars to memorize lengthy sacred hymns and scriptures.


The best compounds found in Bacopa monnieri are dammarane-type triterpenoid saponins which are known as bacosides, with jujubogenin or pseudo-jujubogenin moieties as aglycone units. Bacosides are saponins in nature. It helps to repair damaged neurons by enhancing proteins involved in the regeneration of neural-cell synapses in the body. Bacosides comprises of a family of 12 known analogs. Bacopa monnieri contains alkaloids such as brahmine, nicotine, and herpestine, along with D-mannitol, apigenin, hersaponin, monnierasides I–III, cucurbitacin and plantainoside B. Brahmine resembles strychnine in action but is less toxic in nature. This alkali contains stigma sterol in free state. Hersaponin, the active principle, resembles reserpine and chlorpromazine in action. Bacopa also contains the flavonoids apigenin and luteolin.


Brahmi For The Mind

Extracts from this plant improve memory capacity and mental function. Brahmi contains bacosides and saporins that interact with the neurotransmitters in the brain which raises the levels of acetylcholine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and serotonin. This process regulates the balance of the mind benefitting our overall mood, memory and cognitive function. Brahmi has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for several years to increase focus and retention. It affects the hippocampus part of the brain, which is responsible for intelligence, concentration, and memory.

Skin Benefits

Brahmi is considered very soothing for both the scalp and skin. This herb contains antioxidants which help in removing toxins from the body, especially from the epithelium layer. It further helps in improving skin complexion and stimulating skin cell regeneration. It is considered beneficial for the internal skin as well, which lines the digestive tract, supporting healthy microbes functioning. Brahmi is also used in treating psoriasis, eczema, abscess, and ulceration. Brahmi oil is used in treating hair fall and dandruff. Applying this oil on the scalp strengthens the hair follicles, thus promoting hair growth. Massaging this oil on your scalp helps fight dandruff, itchiness, formation of split ends and flakes. It can also help combat temporary or permanent baldness due to its biochemical antioxidant compounds. Anxiety & Stress Reliever Bacopa Monnieri reduces stress and anxiety by decreasing the levels of the stress hormone known as cortisol. Brahmi neutralizes the effects of stress by regulating hormones involved with the stress response. It improves the production of serotonin – the hormone that calms the mind, which can decrease anxiety. This herb is used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine as a nervine – a herb that calms the nervous system.

An Antioxidant

Bacopa Monnieri is rich in powerful compounds that have antioxidant effects. It has a strong protective effect on cells, with significant super-oxide radical scavenging activity. It has also shown to enhance antioxidant activity in organs, like the kidneys. Brahmi is highly effective against acrylamide, a dangerous toxin, which is connected to various neurodegenerative diseases. When fat molecules interact with free radicals, they undergo a process called lipid peroxidation, which is linked to several diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, etc. Bacopa Monnieri contains Bacosides, its main active compound, which has shown to neutralize free radicals and prevent fat molecules from reacting with free radicals.

Alzheimer’s Disease

The amyloid compound found in neurons is responsible for brain damage and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Brahmi is known to help ease the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Bacosides, the biochemical compound in Brahmi, influences the brain cells, thus by helping to rebuild brain tissue.

Epilepsy Treatment

Brahmi has been used for the treatment of epilepsy since ages. The chemicals bacosides A and B improves neurotransmission among brain cells and repairs damaged neurons. Its chemical properties diminish neuro-degeneration. It helps to prevent epileptic seizures and other disorders such as bipolar disorder and neuralgia.

Reduces ADHD Symptoms

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which is characterized by symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattentiveness. Brahmi reduces the symptoms of ADHD. Research has shown that taking Brahmi for 6 months reduces ADHD symptoms like restlessness and learning problems by 20% or more in some children with ADHD.

Urinary System

Brahmi, that grows in marshy places, increases kleda and other secretions in the body and hence, acts as a diuretic. It should be used in conditions such as burning micturition, pain, haematuria, and nephrocalcinosis. Extracts from this plant can also be used to treat urinary infections and calculi.

Immunity Booster

Brahmi contains antioxidant compounds that help strengthen the immune system by speeding up its response time to pathogens, viruses or bacterial infections. It has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicines for centuries for the treatment of bronchitis, chronic cough, asthma, hoarseness, arthritis, rheumatism, backache, fluid retention, blood cleanser, chronic skin conditions, constipation, hair loss, fevers, digestive problems, depression, mental and physical fatigue. When consumed regularly, Brahmi can give the immune system a necessary boost.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The leaves of this plant can be rubbed tropically on affected parts of the body to reduce inflammation. The compounds released can reduce swelling and eliminate irritation. Bacopa Monnieri suppresses the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are molecules that stimulate an inflammatory immune response. Blood Sugar Levels An animal study has shown that Bacopa Monnieri regulates blood sugar levels as it has an antihyperglycemic effect. It is considered useful for diabetes patients as it is a blood sugar level regulator and also improves the symptoms of hypoglycemia.