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.
Benefits of Brahmi
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. 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. 
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. 
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. 
What's Your Experience with Brahmi?
Some of the research is definitive; some of it is preliminary and hopeful. But, it appears that, among its other benefits, brahmi offers effective means for stimulating and protecting brain function, without the negative side effects commonly associated with other options. Is brahmi part of your daily supplementation? What's your experience? Please leave a comment below and share with us!
- Gubbannavar JS, Chandola HM, Harisha CR, Khanpara K, Shukla VJ. A comparative pharmacognostical and preliminary physico-chemical analysis of stem and leaf of Bacopa monnieri (L.) Pennel and Bacopa floribunda (R.BR.) Wettst. Ayu. 2013 Jan;34(1):95-102. doi: 10.4103/0974-8520.115441.
- Rauf K, Subhan F, Al-Othman AM, Khan I, Zarrelli A, Shah MR. Preclinical profile of bacopasides from Bacopa monnieri (BM) as an emerging class of therapeutics for management of chronic pains. Curr Med Chem. 2013;20(8):1028-37.
- Haitian Lu, Weiming Ouyang, and Chuanshu Huang. Inflammation, a Key Event in Cancer Development. Mol Cancer Res. April 2006 4;221.
- Kathryn E. Wellen and Gökhan S. Hotamisligil. Inflammation, stress, and diabetes. J Clin Invest. 2005;115(5):1111-1119. doi:10.1172/JCI25102.
- Rogers J. The inflammatory response in Alzheimer’s disease. J Periodontal. 2008 Aug;79(8 Suppl): 1535-42. doi: 10.1902/jop.2008.080171.
- Benson S, Downey LA, Stough C, Wetherell M, Zangara A, Scholey A. An Acute, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Cross-over Study of 320-mg and 640-mg Doses of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on Multitasking Stress Reactivity and Mood. Phytother Res. 2013 Jun 21. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5029.
- Pase MP, Kean J, Sarris J, Neale C, Scholey AB, Stough C. The cognitive-enhancing effects of Bacopa monnieri: a systematic review of randomized, controlled human clinical trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jul;18(7):647-52. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0367.
- Downey LA, Kean J, Nemeh F, Lau A, Poll A, Gregory R, Murray M, Rourke J, Patak B, Pase MP, Zangara A, Lomas J, Scholey A, Stough C. An Acute, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study of 320?mg and 640?mg Doses of a Special Extract of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on Sustained Cognitive Performance. Phytother Res. 2013 Sep;27(9):1407-13. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4864.
- Rasool M, Malik A, Qazi A, Sheikh IA, Manan A, Shaheen S, Qazi MH, Chaudhary A, Abuzenadah AM, Asif M, Alqahtani MH, Iqbal Z, Shaik MM, Gan SH, Kamal MA. Current View from Alzheimer Disease to Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2013 Sep 19.
- Shinomol GK, Raghunath N, Bharath MM, Muralidhara. Prophylaxis with Bacopa monnieri attenuates acrylamide induced neurotoxicity and oxidative damage via elevated antioxidant function. Cent Nerv Syst Agents Med Chem. 2013 Mar;13(1):3-12.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.