Bacopa monnieri

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Bacopa monnieri
Starr 010818-0007 Bacopa monnieri.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Bacopa
Species: B. monnieri
Binomial name
Bacopa monnieri
(L.) Pennell[1]

Bacopa monniera
Indian Pennywort[verification needed] (L.) Pennell
Bramia monnieri (L.) Pennell
Gratiola monnieria L.
Herpestes monnieria (L.) Kunth
Herpestis fauriei H.Lev.
Herpestis monniera
Herpestris monnieria
Lysimachia monnieri L.
Moniera cuneifolia Michx.

Bacopa monnieri (waterhyssop, brahmi,[2] thyme-leafed gratiola, water hyssop, herb of grace,[2] Indian pennywort[2]) is a perennial, creeping herb native to the wetlands of southern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America.[2] Bacopa is an important medicinal herb used in Ayurveda, where it is also known as "Brahmi," after Brahmā, the creator God of the Hindu pantheon. Bacopa has traditionally been employed as a neurological tonic and cognitive enhancer, and it is currently being studied for its possible neuroprotective properties.[3][4][5]


Bacopa monnieri in Hyderabad, India

The leaves of this plant are succulent, oblong and 4–6 millimeters thick. Leaves are oblanceolate and are arranged oppositely on the stem. The flowers are small and white, with four or five petals. Its ability to grow in water makes it a popular aquarium plant. It can even grow in slightly brackish conditions. Propagation is often achieved through cuttings.[6]


It commonly grows in marshy areas throughout India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Vietnam. It is also found in Florida, Hawaii and other southern states of the United States where it can be grown in damp conditions by a pond or bog garden.[7] This plant can be grown hydroponically.

Traditional uses[edit]

Bacopa has been used in traditional Ayurvedic treatment for epilepsy and asthma.[8] It is also used in Ayurveda for ulcers, tumors, ascites, enlarged spleen, indigestion, inflammations, leprosy, anemia, and biliousness.[6]


Brahmi is also the name given to Centella asiatica, particularly in North India, and Kerala where it is also identified in Malayalam as muttil (മുത്തിള്‍) or kodakan. This identification of brāhmī as C. asiatica has been in use for long in northern India, as Hēmādri's Commentary on Aṣṭāṅgahṛdayaṃ (Āyuṛvēdarasāyanaṃ) treats maṇḍūkapaṛṇī (C. asiatica) as a synonym of brahmi,[9][10] although that may be a case of mistaken identification that was introduced during the 16th century.[11]

Bacopa monnieri was initially described around the 6th century A.D. in texts such as the Charaka Samhita, Atharva-Veda, and Susrut Samhita as a medhya rasayana–class herb taken to sharpen intellect and attenuate mental deficits. The herb was allegedly used by ancient Vedic scholars to memorize lengthy sacred hymns and scriptures.

Chemical constituents[edit]

The best characterized compounds in Bacopa monnieri are dammarane-type triterpenoid saponins known as bacosides, with jujubogenin or pseudo-jujubogenin moieties as aglycone units.[12] Bacosides comprise a family of 12 known analogs.[13] Other saponins called bacopasides I–XII have been identified more recently.[14] The alkaloids brahmine, nicotine, and herpestine have been catalogued, along with D-mannitol, apigenin, hersaponin, monnierasides I–III, cucurbitacin and plantainoside B.[15][16][17]

The constituent most studied has been bacoside A, which was found to be a blend of bacoside A3, bacopacide II, bacopasaponin C, and a jujubogenin isomer of bacosaponin C.[18] These assays have been conducted using whole plant extract, and bacoside concentrations may vary depending upon the part from which they are extracted. In one Bacopa monnieri sample, Rastogi et al. found this bacoside profile—bacopaside I (5.37%), bacoside A3 (5.59%), bacopaside II (6.9%), bacopasaponin C isomer (7.08%), and bacopasaponin C (4.18%).[19]


Bacopa monnieri displays in vitro antioxidant and cell-protective effects.[20] It also inhibits acetylcholinesterase, activates choline acetyltransferase, and increases cerebral blood flow.[21] In rats, bacoside A enhances antioxidation, increasing superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase activities.[22] Bacopa monnieri augments Th1 and Th2 cytokine production.[23]

Several studies have suggested that Bacopa monnieri extracts may have protective effects in animal models of neurodegeneration.[24][25][26][27][28][29][30] There have also been preliminary clinical studies suggesting improvement of cognitive function in humans.[3][unreliable medical source?]


The rat LD50 was found to be 2400 mg/kg following a single oral administration.[31] Aqueous extracts of Bacopa monnieri may elevate serum thyroxine and have adverse effects on spermatogenesis, sperm count, and fertility in male mice.[32]

The most commonly reported adverse side effects of Bacopa monnieri in humans are nausea, increased intestinal motility, and gastrointestinal upset.[33][34][non-primary source needed]

International naming[edit]

The plant is known by many names in many international languages, including:

  • ബ്രഹ്മി in Malayalam
  • நீர்ப்பிரமி (Niirpirami)/ Valaarai in Tamil
  • ผักมิ (Phak mi), พรมมิ (Phrommi) in Thai
  • ලුනු විලLunuwila in Sinhalese (Sri Lanka)
  • ʻaeʻae in Hawaiian (Hawaii)
  • Rau Đắng in Vietnamese
  • פְּשֵטָה שרועה ("psheta sru'a") in Hebrew
  • Kleines Fettblatt in German

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bacopa monnieri information from NPGS/GRIN". Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d "USDA GRIN Taxonomy". Retrieved 20 arch 2014.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ a b Pase, M. P.; Kean, J.; Sarris, J.; Neale, C.; Scholey, A. B.; Stough, C. (2012). "The Cognitive-Enhancing Effects ofBacopa monnieri: A Systematic Review of Randomized, Controlled Human Clinical Trials". The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 18 (7): 647–652. doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0367. PMID 22747190.  edit
  4. ^ Russo and Borrelli, 2005. Bacopa monniera, a reputed nootropic plant: an overview. Phytomedicine.
  5. ^ Aguiar, S.; Borowski, T. (2013). "Neuropharmacological Review of the Nootropic HerbBacopa monnieri". Rejuvenation Research 16 (4): 313–326. doi:10.1089/rej.2013.1431. PMC 3746283. PMID 23772955.  edit
  6. ^ a b Purdue University. "Bacopa monnieri". Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  7. ^ IUCN. "Bacopa monnieri". Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Rajani, M. et al. (2004). Ramawat, K. G., ed. Biotechnology of Medicinal Plants: Vitalizer and Therapeutic. Enfield, NH: Science Publishers. 
  9. ^ Warrier, P. K.; Nambiar, V. P. K.; Ramankutty, C.; Ramankutty, R. Vasudevan Nair (1996). Indian Medicinal Plants: A Compendium of 500 Species. Orient Blackswan. p. 238. ISBN 978-81-250-0301-4. 
  10. ^ Daniel, M. (2005). Medicinal Plants: Chemistry and Properties. Science Publishers. p. 225. ISBN 978-1-57808-395-4. 
  11. ^ Khare, C. P. (2003). Indian Herbal Remedies: Rational Western Therapy, Ayurvedic, and Other Traditional Usage, Botany. Springer. p. 89. ISBN 978-3-540-01026-5. 
  12. ^ Sivaramakrishna C, Rao CV, Trimurtulu G, Vanisree M, Subbaraju GV. Triterpenoid glycosides from Bacopa monnieri. Phytochemistry 2005;66:2719–2728.
  13. ^ Garai S, Mahato SB, Ohtani K, Yamasaki K. Dammarane triterpenoid saponins from Bacopa monnieri. Can J Chem 2009;87:1230–1234.
  14. ^ Chakravarty A.K, Garai S., Masuda K, Nakane T, Kawahara N. Bacopasides III–V: Three new triterpenoid glycosides from Bacopa monniera. Chem Pharm Bull 2003;51:215–217
  15. ^ Chatterji N, Rastogi RP, Dhar ML. Chemical examination of Bacopa monniera Wettst: Part II—Isolation of chemical constituents. Ind J Chem 1965;3:24–29.
  16. ^ Chakravarty AK, Sarkar T, Nakane T, Kawahara N, Masuda K. New phenylethanoid glycosides from Bacopa monniera. Chem Pharm Bull 2008;50:1616–1618.
  17. ^ Bhandari P, Kumar N, Singh B, Kaul VK. Cucurbitacins from Bacopa monnieri. Phytochemistry 2007.
  18. ^ Deepak M, Sangli GK, Arun PC, Amit A. Quantitative determination of the major saponin mixture bacoside A in Bacopa monnieri by HPLC. Phytochem Anal 2005;16: 24–29.
  19. ^ Rastogi M, Ojha R, Prabu PC, Devi DP, Agrawal A, Dubey GP. Amelioration of age associated neuroinflammation on long term bacosides treatment. Neurochem Res 2012;37: 869–874.
  20. ^ Russo A, Borrelli F (April 2005). "Bacopa monniera, a reputed nootropic plant: an overview". Phytomedicine (Review) 12 (4): 305–17. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2003.12.008. PMID 15898709. 
  21. ^ Aguiar S, Borowski T (August 2013). "Neuropharmacological review of the nootropic herb Bacopa monnieri". Rejuvenation Res (Review) 16 (4): 313–26. doi:10.1089/rej.2013.1431. PMC 3746283. PMID 23772955. 
  22. ^ Anbarsi, K.; Vani, G.; Balakrishna, K.; Devi, C. S. (2006). "Effect of bacoside A on brain antioxidant status in cigarette smoke exposed rats". Life Science 78 (12): 1378–1384. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2005.07.030. PMID 16226278. 
  23. ^ Yamada, K.; Hung, P.; Park, T. K.; Park, P. J.; Limb, B. O. (2011). "A comparison of the immunostimulatory effects of the medicinal herbs Echinacea, Ashwagandha and Brahmi". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 137 (1): 231–235. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2011.05.017. PMID 21619924. 
  24. ^ Dhanasekaran, M.; Tharakan, B.; Holcomb, L. A.; Hitt, A. R.; Young, K. A.; Manyam, B. V. (2007). "Neuroprotective mechanisms of ayurvedic antidementia botanical Bacopa monniera". Phytotherapy Research 21 (10): 965–969. doi:10.1002/ptr.2195. PMID 17604373. 
  25. ^ Saraf, K.; Prabhakar, S.; Pandhi, P.; Anand, A. (2008). "Bacopa monniera ameliorates amnesic effects of diazepam qualifying behavioral- molecular partitioning". Neuroscience 155 (2): 476–484. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.05.043. PMID 18585439. 
  26. ^ Jadiya P, Khan A, Sammi SR, Kaur S, Mir SS, Nazir A. Anti- Parkinsonian effects of Bacopa monnieri: Insights from transgenic and pharmacological Caenorhabditis elegans models of Parkinson’s disease. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2011;413:605–610.
  27. ^ Rastogi M, Ojha R, Prabu PC, Devi DP, Agrawal A, Dubey GP. Prevention of age-associated neurodegeneration and promotion of healthy brain ageing in female Wistar rats by long term use of bacosides. Biogerontology 2012;13:183–195
  28. ^ Ahirwar S, Tembhre M, Gour S, Namdeo A. Anti-cholinesterase efficacy of Bacopa monnieri against the brain regions of rat. Asian J Exp Sci 2012;26:65–70.
  29. ^ Sairam K, Dorababu M, Goel RK, Bhattacharya SK. Antidepressant activity of standardized extract of Bacopa monniera in experimental models of depression in rats. Phytomedicine 2002;9:207–211
  30. ^ Vollala VR, Upadhya S, Nayak S. Enhancement of basolateral amygdaloid neuronal dendritic arborization following Bacopa monniera extract treatment in adult rats. Clinics (Sao Paulo) 2011;66:663–671.
  31. ^ Allan J, Damodaran A, Deshmukh NS, Goudar KS, Amit A. Safety evaluation of a standardized phytochemical composition extracted from Bacopa monnieri in Sprague–Dawley rats. Food Chem Toxicol 2007;45:1928–1937. PMID 17560704
  32. ^ Singh A, Singh SK (January 2009). "Evaluation of antifertility potential of Brahmi in male mouse". Contraception 79 (1): 71–9. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2008.07.023. PMID 19041444. 
  33. ^ Singh HK, Dhawan BN. Neuropsychopharmacological effects of the Ayurvedic nootropic Bacopa monniera Linn. (Brahmi). Indian J Pharmacol 1997;29:359–365.
  34. ^ Pravina, K.; Ravindra, K. R.; Goudar, K. S.; Vinod, D. R.; Joshua, A. J.; Wasim, P.; Venkateshwarlu, K.; Saxena, V. S.; Amit, A. (2007). "Safety evaluation of BacoMind in healthy volunteers: a phase I study". Phytomedicine 14 (5): 301–308. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2007.03.010. PMID 17442556. 

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