Brahmi- Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and More

by Somya Agrawal

What is Brahmi?

Brahmi herb, also known as Bacopa monnieri or water hyssop, is a staple plant in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It has been used for centuries to improve memory, enhance brain function, and reduce anxiety and stress.

Brahmi contains active compounds called bacosides, which have antioxidant effects and can neutralize free radicals. It may also help prevent neurodegenerative disorders by reducing lipid peroxidation. In addition, Brahmi has anti-inflammatory properties and can suppress pro-inflammatory enzymes and cytokines. This improves memory, attention, and the ability to process visual information.

Health Benefits of Brahmi

Some of the health benefits of brahmi or Indian pennywort include- 

1) Improved Cognitive Function: Brahmi is commonly known as a brain tonic. It is believed to enhance cognitive functions such as memory, learning, and concentration. It may also help in reducing the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

2) Stress Reduction: Brahmi is considered an adaptogenic herb, which means it helps the body adapt and cope with stress. It is believed to regulate stress hormones and decrease anxiety and nervousness. Regular consumption of Brahmi may also promote better sleep quality and help combat insomnia.

3) Antioxidant Properties: Brahmi is rich in antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals, which are harmful molecules that cause oxidative stress and damage cells. The antioxidants in Brahmi help neutralize these free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders.

4) Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Studies have shown that Brahmi has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to various health conditions, including arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cardiovascular disorders. The anti-inflammatory effects of Brahmi may help in managing these conditions.

5) Improved Digestive Health: Brahmi has been traditionally used to treat digestive issues like indigestion, constipation, and gastric ulcers. It is believed to stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, improve nutrient absorption, and promote bowel movements, leading to better digestive health.

6) Anti-Anxiety & Antidepressant Effects: Brahmi has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat anxiety and depression. It is believed to have calming effects on the nervous system and may help balance certain neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation, such as serotonin and dopamine.

7) Neuroprotective Properties: The active compounds in Brahmi have shown neuroprotective properties, which may help protect and regenerate brain cells. This can be beneficial in preventing age-related cognitive decline and reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Foods that should be taken with Brahmi

Brahmi is an herb known for its cognitive-enhancing properties, and it is commonly consumed as a supplement or added to food. When taking Brahmi, there are no specific dietary restrictions or requirements. However, you can pair it with certain foods that may support its effects and overall brain health. Here are some foods that can be beneficial when taken with Brahmi:

1) Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other nutrients that support brain health. They can enhance the cognitive effects of Brahmi.

2) Fatty Fish: Fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids that are crucial for brain function. Consuming these fish or fish oil supplements alongside Brahmi can provide added cognitive benefits.

3) Leafy Greens: Vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli are packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants that promote brain health. Including leafy greens in your diet while taking Brahmi can contribute to improved cognitive function.

4) Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and other berries are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols that protect the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation. Eating berries alongside Brahmi can provide additional cognitive benefits.

5) Turmeric: This yellow spice contains curcumin, a compound known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Adding turmeric to your meals can complement the cognitive effects of Brahmi.

6) Whole Grains: Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats, and whole wheat bread provide a steady release of energy throughout the day. They help maintain stable blood sugar levels and improve brain function when consumed with Brahmi.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) Which food should not be taken with Brahmi?

There are no specific food restrictions when taking Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri). However, to ensure the best absorption and effectiveness of Brahmi, it’s generally recommended to avoid consuming heavy, greasy, or spicy foods as they may interfere with digestion and absorption. Additionally, it is advised to avoid excessive alcohol consumption and caffeine intake, as these may also harm the efficacy of Brahmi.

2) Is there any side effect of Brahmi?

Yes. Over-consumption or inappropriate consumption of Brahmi can lead to gastrointestinal issues, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, dizziness, low heart rate, allergic reactions, extremely low blood pressure, and nausea.

3) Is it safe to have brahmi during pregnancy or lactation?

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication or herbal supplement during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. This is because some substances can have different effects on individuals and may potentially have an impact on the developing fetus or nursing baby. While Brahmi is generally considered safe for most people, more research is needed to determine its safety for pregnant or lactating women specifically.

4) What should be the everyday dosage of Brahmi?

The recommended daily dosage of Brahmi may vary depending on individual needs. However, a typical dosage range for Brahmi extract or capsules is 300-450 mg per day, split into two or three doses. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional or follow the instructions provided on the product packaging for appropriate dosage recommendations.


Brahmi is a potent herb with potential cognitive-enhancing, stress-reducing, and antioxidant properties. It is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as it provides various health benefits. However, it may also have side effects and should be used with caution, especially by individuals with certain medical conditions.