Posted: 28 Jul 2014 08:00 AM PDT
Brahmi, or Bacopa monnieri, is a therapeutic plant used in Ayurveda for many purposes. Modern research supports this fact and has found Brahmi effective against several neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. Here are 6 health conditions that may be positively benefited by Brahmi supplementation.
Schizophrenia is marked by several defining characteristics and one is unstable chemicals in the brain. Brahmi has generated excitement as a potential therapy for schizophrenia because animal studies have reported that it stabilizes certain chemicals in the brain. The regulation of these chemicals may help some of the cognitive impairment effects common in persons with schizophrenia.  In one case study it was reported that a daily, 500-mg serving of Brahmi taken for one month led to a noticeable change in schizophrenia-related problems. 
Galantamine and rivastigmine are two licensed Alzheimer's drugs that are also plant extracts. They have been the catalyst for many scientific investigations into other plants that have traditional use for memory and brain support. Brahmi is just one of the many plants being evaluated for a protective role in Alzheimer's disease. 
Exactly why is Brahmi part of the discussion? Well, animal research has confirmed its positive effect on cognitive function; an effect attributed to the plant’s antioxidant compounds.  As an antioxidant, Brahmi seems to work by protecting against the neural oxidative stress associated with Alzheimer's disease.  It’s also believed to stimulate the brain’s own chemicals that protect neural cells.  Although the research isn’t yet conclusive, the possibility that person’s suffering from Alzheimer’s could potentially have a plant-based therapy is very exciting.
One of the active compounds in Brahmi (Bacoside A) has shown to reverse brain changes associated with epilepsy.  It also seems to protect areas of the brain responsible for serotonin uptake, helping to maintain a proper balance of the neurotransmitter.  Additionally, Brahmi appears to stabilize brain function and reduce behavioral deficits in epileptic patients. 
Cognitive effects don’t have to be part of growing old, but for many people, they are. Ayurveda has promoted Brahmi for centuries to support cognitive performance in the aging. Studies have shown that long-term use may lessen the impacts of aging on the brain.  A review of six studies, all at least 12 weeks in length and involving adults who supplemented with brahmi, reported consistent positive effects on memory.  In fact, one double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial consisting of fifty-four participants aged 65 years and older reported that Brahmi provided a noticeable boost in cognitive performance. 
As far as its traditional use is concerned, Brahmi is best known to enhance memory and support short- and long-term recall. One trial looked at sixty healthy elderly subjects who received either Brahimi or placebo on a daily basis for 12 weeks. Those taking the extract showed a remarkable decrease in brain chemicals associated with age-related cognitive decline. Memory and attention also improved in the subjects. 
A study from Australia examined the effect Brahmi extract had on participants' verbal learning, memory, and delayed recall. The study observed significant improvement in these faculties, yet also reported slight side effects such as nausea and mild intestinal distress. 
Brahmi’s track record with other brain issues has prompted researchers to take a look at how it affects persons with Parkinson's disease. This disease affects the brain's ability to produce adequate dopamine transmitter. Some research shows that Brahmi may increase dopamine levels in the brain and may even prevent neural degeneration associated with Parkinson's disease; however, research to date has been limited.  
One Final Thought…
Ayurvedic wisdom and conventional medicine are slowly joining forces, especially when it comes to Brahmi. It’s easy to get excited and look at Brahmi like it’s the next miracle substance but it’s important to remember that Brahmi is nutritional support for your brain, it’s not proven to cure or treat anything.
Have you ever heard of Brahmi, or have you ever used it as a supplement? Did you notice any beneficial effects? Let us know in the comments!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
The post 6 Brain Health Benefits of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) appeared first on Natural Health & Organic Living Blog.
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