Bacopa Monniera, more commonly known as Brahmi is an important herb in Ayurvedic Medicine. This herb increases intelligence, longevity and memory. It fortifies the immune system and strengthens the adrenals. It does have tranquilising effects but unlike the pharmaceuticals it has no side effects of dulling the mind. In India traditionally school children are often given Brahmi on a daily basis.
Modern research shows that Brahmi contain steroidal saponins; Bacosides A & B. The neurobiological effects of these isolated molecules were found to increase protein kinase activity in the hippocampus and induce an increase in protein and serotonin and lowered the nor epinephrine level in the same region (Indian Journal of Pharmacology 1997; 29:S359-S365). Earlier studies by Kumar and Gupta (All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi) demonstrates that Brahmi has cognitive enhancing properties. Results published in an Italian journal, Fitoterapia (Vol. LXVI, No.3, pp. 216-222, 1995), indicate that Brahmi actively promotes cholinergic recovery, thereby facilitating central cholinergic mechanisms. This confirms Brahmi’s effectiveness in promoting mental alertness.
Furthermore two very specific markers of stress are the expression of heat shock protein and increased levels of lipid peroxides in various brain regions. These increases were effectively and convincingly prevented by Bacosides A&B in all the brain regions and most particularly in the hippocampus region, which is concerned with learning and memory and in the cerebral cortex region, which regulates motor activity.
In the last few years Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) has been on the increase. This may be due to environmental factors, diet, genetic pre-disposition etc.
I have used Brahmi with much success to treat ADD in pre- school children in Integrated Medicine clinics around the world.. Their parents observed improvements within a few weeks i.e. daily intake of Brahmi resulted in significant improvement with increased concentration span and reduction in fidgeting, and intrusiveness on others.
The treatment of ADD remains controversial, with ongoing concern about the possible overuse of stimulant drugs (such as methylphenidate, known as Ritalin) among children who may not need them. It is recommended that MD’s should consider Brahmi in the safe alternative treatment of pre-school Attention Deficit / Hyperactive Disorder, and further consider vitamins and diet as part of the treatment regime.