Herb-Brahmi

Brahmi
(Bacopa monneiri)

Part Used: Herb

Habitat: Common throughout India and the world, in shaded, watery places.

Introduction:

Brahmi is used in traditional medicine to treat various nervous disorders. The name Brahmi is derived from the word ‘Brahma’ the mythical “creator” in the Hindu pantheon.
J. Chem. Bio. Phy. Sci. 2011, Vol.1, No.2, Sec. B, 250 – 259.

The literal, meaning of the term, Brahmi is one which promotes the intellect and that is why many herbs similar effects are known as Brahmi.
D. Arora et al. / Journal of Natural Remedies, Vol. 2/2 (2002) 143 - 149

Mechanism of Action:

• The triterpenoid saponins and their bacosides are responsible for brahmi’s ability to enhance nerve impulse transmission. The bacoside aid in repair of damaged neurons by enhancing kinase activity, neuronal synthesis and restoration of synaptic activity and ultimately nerve impulse transmission.
• According to some animal studies, bacosides appear to have antioxidant activity in the hippocampus, frontal cortex and striatum.
• According to animal research, brahmi extracts modulate the expression of certain enzymes involved in generation and scavenging of reactive oxygen species in the brain.
• Bacopa exerts a protective effect against DNA damage in astrocytes and human fibroblasts.
• Bacopa appears to stabilize mast cells and possesses anti-inflammatory activity via inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis and lysosomal membrane stabilization.
Alternative Medicine Review, Volume 9, Number 1, 2004

• Bacosides induce membrane dephosphorylation, with a concomitant increase in protein kinase and RNA turnover in specific brain areas.
• B. monnieri enhances protein kinase activity in the hippocampus which may also contribute to its nootropic action and thus it would aids in repair of damaged neurons by enhancing kinase activity, neuronal synthesis and restoration of synaptic activity and ultimately nerve impulse transmission.
Gohil and Patel: A review on Bacopa monniera International Journal of Green Pharmacy | January-March 2010

Pharmacological Actions:

Anticholinesterase activity – According to animal studies, bacosides are shown to facilitate acquisition or learning. Bacosides were found to reverse the amnesia and the suggested possible mechanism of action is, increase in acetylcholine levels.

Neuroprotective Role – Brahmi is neuroprotective, prevents oxidative stress and reverses this as well as the ultra structural changes in the hippocampus, prevents the accumulation of lipid and protein damage. The reduced activity of the endogenous antioxidant enzymes is also restored by brahmi to its normal levels.

Cognition & Antioxidant Activity – Brahmi has free-radical-scavanging activity and provides protection against DNA damage. It’s antioxidant property and its ability to balance the antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase levels have shown to reverse the depletion of acetylcholine, the reduction in choline acetylase activity.
Gohil and Patel: A review on Bacopa monniera International Journal of Green Pharmacy | January-March 2010

Alzheimer’s Disease – Brahmi has been found to normalize the stress-mediated transient deregulation of plasma corticosterone and monoamine changes in the brain. Treatment with bacosides brought about an increase in the activity of SOD in the brain regions.
J. Chem. Bio. Phy. Sci. 2011, Vol.1, No.2, Sec. B, 250 – 259.

Clinical Studies:

1. According to a clinical trial published in the journal of Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative medicine, 2012, B. monieri can improve attention, cognitive processing and working memory via the suppression of AChE activity.

B. monnieri demonstrated enhanced attention and cognitive processing capability together with enhanced memory cholinergic function. The mechanism for this might be that B. monnieri suppresses the function of AChE in the cerebral cortex, especially in the parietal cortex and hippocampus, leading to increased available Ach in the mentioned area, giving rise to enhanced attention and memory operation capability or cognitive processing and finally resulting in enhanced working memory.
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2012, Article ID 606424, 10 pages, doi:10.1155/2012/606424

2. According to a clinical trial published in the reputed journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2002, B. monnieri has a significant effect on the retention of new information. Brahmi decreases the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information.

The possible mechanism of action may be mediated by the antioxidant action of brahmi within the hippocampus which results in the improved retention of information.

NEUROPSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY 2002 –VOL.27, NO.2
© 2002 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Published by Elsevier Science Inc.

Conclusion:

The active compounds of brahmi like bacosides, saponin etc. have been tested for antioxidant and acetycholinesterase inhibitory activities. The antioxidant property has the protective effect over brain and neurons. This balances the activity of antioxidant enzymes like SOD and catalase which has its protective effects on age related damage of neurons or brain cells. It helps to reverse the reduction in acetylcholine levels in the brain and changes due to stress & anxiety and even amnesia (partial or total loss of memory).

Now we can conclude that brahmi can undo all the unwanted changes in the brain due to stress or ageing. It can make the brain ready to retain new information and enhances memory.