Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst.

Last updated: 1 Nov 2016

Scientific Name

Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst.


Anisocalyx limnanthiflorus (L.) Hance, Bacopa micromonnieria (Griseb.) B.L.Rob., Bacopa monnieri var. cuneifolia Michx., Bacopa monnieri var. micromonnieria (Griseb.) Pennell, Bacopa monnieria Hayata & Matsum. [Illegitimate], Bacopa monnieria var. cuneifolia (Michx.) Fernald, Bramia indica Lam., Bramia micromonnieria (Griseb.) Pennell, Bramia monnieri (L.) Drake, Bramia monnieri (L.) Pennell, Calytriplex obovata Ruiz & Pav., Capraria monnieria Roxb., Gratiola monnieri (L.) L., Gratiola portulacacea Weinm., Gratiola tetrandra Stokes, Habershamia cuneifolia (Michx.) Raf., Herpestis africana Steud., Herpestis brownei Steud., Herpestis calytriplex Steud., Herpestis cuneifolia Michx., Herpestis micromonnieria Griseb., Herpestis monnieri (L.) Rothm., Herpestis monnieri (L.) Kunth, Herpestis moranensis Kunth, Herpestis pedunculosa Steud., Herpestis procumbens Spreng., Herpestis spathulata Blume, Limosella calycina Forssk., Lysimachia monnieri L., Moniera africana Pers., Moniera brownei Pers., Moniera pedunculosa Pers., Monniera cuneifolia Michx., Ruellia articulata Houtt., Septas repens Lour., Septilia repens Raf., Thunbergia stolonifera Blanco. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Beremi [2]
English Water hyssop [2]
China Jia ma chi xian [2]
India Adha-birni, akantapuntu, aramiyacceti, arapiyam, attapirami, avapulippi, avarukam, baam, barami, barmi shak, brahmi, brahmi haridvar, brahmi patti, brami, campirani, campiranippuntu, captalai, carmakaca, catala, cemanavacceti, cempirami, chhoti brahmi, cinkamamuli, gundala, indravalli, jal brahmi, jalasaya, jalbrahmi, jalnim, kadaviluni, kavaliyam, kiru brahmi, malanacini, maturatipputu, muntantakanni, narivalukkai, neer brahmi,neeru braahmi, nikava, nikavari, nilappirami, pattalakam, piramiya valukkai, safed chamni, sarasvati, soma lataa, trayanthi, utiramalanacani, varalam, varavi, vatikam, virumamuli, vivitam [2]
Thailand Phak mi, phrommi [2]
Laos Phôm mi [2]
Philippines Alasiman, olasiman, ulasiman-aso, ulasimang-aso [2]
Cambodia (smau)sna:ô [2]
Vietnam Rau(sam) d[aws]ng, ru[ooj]t g[af] [2].

Geographical Distributions

Bacopa grows naturally in moist or wet places such as the borders of irrigated fields, streams, water channels, and wells. Native to India, Indochina, Sri Lanka, and the Mascarene islands of Mauritius, Reunion, and Rodrigues, this genus—which consists of 56 species—flourishes in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. [3]

Botanical Description

Bacopa monnieri is a member of the family Plantaginaceae [2]. The succulent, smooth leaves are thick and oblanceolate, arranged opposite on each stem [4][5].

The leaves of this plant are succulent and relatively thick. Leaves are oblanceolate and are arranged oppositely on the stem. [4][5]

The flowers are small and produce four or five petals. It is well tolerated to wet environments and can be grown hydroponically. [4][5]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

B. monnieri has been reported to contain bacoside A and B, alkaloids, betulic acid, flavonoids, phytosterols, β-sitosterol, D-mannitol, stigmastarol. [4]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant, or the roots, stems, leaves. [5]

Traditional Use

B. monnieri is most classically known as Brahmi in Ayurvedic medicine as a mental tonic of sorts. This water hyssop is reported to have been used in India for 6000 years. It is known as a medhya rasayana, which indicates its rejuvinative mental effects [6]. In addition to its mental effects, B. monnieri has traditionally been used in many gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcers, indigestion, ascites and enlarged spleen. B. monnieri may also be used for its laxative properties, as well as its ability to combat anaemia, some inflammations and leprosy [5].

Preclinical Data


Cognitive Enhancing activity

B. monnieri has been reported to improve cognitive function and increase learning ability in laboratory animals and human subjects [7][8][9]. In a brightness-discrimination reaction, B. monnieri improved acquisition, retention, and delayed loss of the new behavior. In a continuous avoidance response, B. monnieri -treated animals learned more quickly and were fully adapted after 20 days whereas controls had not adapted [10].

A laboratory animal study found that B. monnieri lowers Abeta 1-40 and 1-42 levels in cortex by as much as 60%, and reverses Y-maze performance and open field hyperlocomotion behavioral changes present in PSAPP mice, suggesting a potential use in Alzheimer’s therapy. [11]

Neuroprotective activity

A laboratory animal study found that B. monnieri treatment in epileptic rats significantly reversed the down-regulated mgluR8 gene expression toward control level, suggesting B. monnieri may have corrective measures for epileptic and hypoxic management. [12]

Antioxidant/Anti-inflammatory activity

An extract of B. monnieri was reported effective against lipid peroxidation in vitro [13]. Interestingly, B. monnieri only slightly protected the auto-oxidation and FeSO4 induced oxidation of reduced glutathione on lower doses of 100 micrograms/ml and below (in vitro), but on higher concentrations, it enhanced the rate of oxidation. B. monnieri was also reported in this study to have approximately half the antioxidant value of vitamin E. Other studies have noted the potential mast cell stabilizing activity of B. monnieri extracts [14]. An in vitro study found that a standardized extract of B. monnieri protected human lymphocytes against various clastogens due to its antioxidant effects [15].

A laboratory study also found that B. monnieri has anti-inflammatory activity through inhibition of COX-2 and 5-LOX along with downregulation of TNF-alpha. [16]

Other activity

A laboratory study reported that B. monnieri treatment causes reversible suppression of spermatogenesis and fertility, without producing apparent toxic effects in mice. [17]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

A double-blind placebo-controlled trial evaluated the cognitive enhancing effects of a B. monnieri extract in healthy human volunteers. After 12 weeks, the findings indicated that the extract may improve cognitive processes, such as learning and memory [18]. In a double-blind randomized, placebo control study, 76 adults were tested on various memory functions. B. monnieri seemed to show a significant effect for decreasing the rate of forgetting newly acquired information [19].

Clinically, B. monnieri has been reported to improve intellectual behavior in children; in adults, v has been reported to be effective in reducing anxiety, thereby allowing improved brain functioning in terms of memory enhancement and elevated mental performance [20].

A four-week open trial in India was conducted on 35 adult patients with anxiety neurosis. Concentration and immediate memory span were both significantly improved. On-the-job mental fatigue, measured as total work output, and errors committed per unit time, also were statistically improved. Other major symptoms improved, including nervousness, palpitation, insomnia, headache, tremors, and irritability. The mean total anxiety level was significantly decreased, as was the mean maladjustment level and the disability level. In some cases, disability status was overcome. Side effects were transient and not clinically significant. [21]

A single-blind trial in India was conducted to study the effects of B. monnieri on children (ages 6-8) and learning behavior. Maze learning improved, as did immediate memory and perception, and the reaction/performance times. [22]

In an open clinical study of 13 patients with epilepsy, B. monnieri was reported useful in improving the symptoms and occurrence of epileptic seizures [23]. The onset of epileptic seizures was completely resolved in five of the cases. This trial was conducted in 1966, so new studies need to be performed to justify the use of B. monnieri in epilepsy. Many epileptic patients suffer from cognitive impairments, with both the underlying pathology and antiepileptic drug therapy causing such deficits. The commonly used anticonvulsant phenytoin (Dilantin) is known to adversely affect cognitive function. A recent Indian study tested B. monnieri alone and in combination with phenytoin for its effect on cognitive impairments in laboratory mice. [24]


No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


No documentation


Dosage Range

B. monnieri dosage range could varies from 5-10 g in powder form and 8-16 mL of infusion. [4]

Most Common Dosage

If standardized extract is used, dosage would be 50-150 mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day. [25]


Standardization to 20% bacosides A and B per dose. [25]

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013. [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited on 2016 Aug 17]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume I A-B. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 514.
  3. American Botanical Council. Bacopa. [homepage on the Interent]. c2016. [updated 2011; cited on 2016 Aug 18]. Available from:
  4. Kapoor LD. CRC Handbook of Ayurvedic medicinal plants. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 1990; p.61.
  5. Society for Parthenium Management (SOPAM). Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri). [homepage on the Internet]. c2015. [updated 2015 Jun 30; cited on 2016 Aug 18]. Available from:
  6. US National Plant Germplasm System. Bacopa monnieri (L.) Pennell. Ver [homepage on the Internet]. [updated 2011 May 9; cited on 2016 Aug 18]. Available from:
  7. Singh HK, Dhawan BN. Effect of Bacopa monniera Linn. (Brahmi) extract on avoidance responses in rat. J Ethnopharmacol. 1982 Mar;5(2):205-14.
  8. Stough C, Downey LA, Lloyd J, et al. Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Phytother Res. 2008;22(12):1629-1634.
  9. Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2008;14(6):707-713.
  10. Bone K. Medicinal plants: Effects on mental function and performances. Part 2. Mediherb Professional Newsletter 1991 Feb;Number 19.
  11. Holcomb LA, Dhanasekaran M, Hitt AR, Young KA, Riggs M, Manyam BV. Bacopa monniera extract reduces amyloid levels in PSAPP mice. J Alzheimers Dis. 2006;9(3):243-251.
  12. Paulose CS, Chathu F, Khan SR, Krishnakumar A. Neuroprotective role of Bacopa monnieri extract in epilepsy and effect of glucose supplementation during hypoxia: Glutamate receptor gene expression. Neurochem Res. 2008;33(9):1663-1671.
  13. Tripathi YB, Chaurasia S, Tripathi E, Upadhyay A, Dubey GP. Bacopa monniera Linn. as an antioxidant: Mechanism of action. Indian J Exp Biol. 1996;34(6):523-526.
  14. Samiulla DS, Prashanth D, Amit A. Mast cell stabilising activity of Bacopa monnieri. Fitoterapia. 2001;72(3):284-5.
  15. Deb DD, Kapoor P, Dighe RP, et al. In vitro safety evaluation and anticlastogenic effect of BacoMind on human lymphocytes. Biomed Environ Sci. 2008;21(1):7-23.
  16. Viji V, Helen A. Inhibition of lipoxygenases and cyclooxygenase-2 enzymes by extracts isolated from Bacopa monniera (L.) Wettst. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008;118(2):305-311.
  17. Singh A, Singh SK. Evaluation of antifertility potential of Brahmi in male mouse. Contraception. 2009;79(1):71-79.
  18. Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacol (Berl). 2001;156(4):481-484.
  19. Roodenrys S, Booth D, Bulzomi S, Phipps A, Micallef C, Smoker J. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacol. 2002;27(2):279-281.
  20. Kidd PM. A review of nutrients and botanicals in the integrative management of cognitive dysfunction. Altern Med Rev. 1999;4(3):144-161.
  21. Singh L, Singh RH. Studies on the anti-anxiety effect of the Medyha Rasayana drug, Brahmi (Bacopa monniera Wettst.)-part1. J Res Ayur Siddha. 1980;1:133-48.
  22. Sharma R, Chaturvedi C, Tewari PV. Efficacy of Bacopa monniera in revitalizing intellectual functions in children. J Res Edu Ind Med. 1987;1:1-12.
  23. Mukherjee GD, Dey CD. Clinical trial on Brahmi. I. J Exp Med Sci. 1966;10(1):5-11.
  24. Vohora D, Pal SN, Pillai KK. Protection from phenytoin-induced cognitive deficit by Bacopa monniera, a reputed Indian Nootropic plant. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000;71(3):383-390.
  25. American Herbal Products Association. Use of marker compounds in manufacturing and labeling botanically derived dietary supplements. Silver Spring, Maryland: American Herbal Products Association; 2001.