Brahmi, is an ancient herb, used extensively in Ayurvedic preparations and is known to boost memory. The leaves of the plant are known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, and may even have a role in play in helping those with degenerative memory loss.
What’s on my plate?
For the uninitiated millennial, who may not have spotted this plant growing wild in their courtyard, this is a perennial plant, a tiny creeper with numerous branches. Brahmi has small, oblong leaves which are relatively thick, and small, with light purple/white flowers. This therapeutic herb generally grows in damp and muddy soil with direct sunlight but it can also be grown in pots at home. It has a neutral, bitter-sweet taste.
Brahmi is excellent for improving memory – short-term as well as long-term. Its retaining capacity and concentration, according to Amreen Shaikh, Dietician at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai, The book, Prescription for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A Balch claims that brahmi is useful in the treatment of memory-related conditions, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and Parkinson’s disease. According to the book, bacosides A and B, found in the plant, have been proven to increase protein kinase activity and new protein synthesis in regions of the brain associated with long-term memory. “Many studies have found that brahmi produces faster performance times, reduces errors, improves acquisition and retention of learning, decreases forgetfulness, and increases the ability to adapt to new learning,” states the book.
"Brahmi's nutrients clubbed with its anti-oxidant properties improve one's metabolism and immunity levels," adds Shaikh. These qualities make Brahmi perfect for the monsoon months, considering that our immunity tends to be low at this time. Shaikh also mentions that Brahmi can help heal wounds, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Brahmi also plays a significant role in treating anxiety disorder and stress. It helps reduce the restlessness and distraction caused by nervousness. According to Shaikh, it can help cure stress-induced hormonal imbalances.
However, Shaikh warns that if brahmi is consumed in large quantities, it can lead to increased bowel movements or nausea.
Where to buy
While it's best to grow this plant at home, you can also find this therapeutic herb in online stores or at your local supermarket.
Brahmi leaves, fresh or dried, can be used to make a calming cup of tea at the end of a difficult and tiresome day. You can even buy Brahmi powder or capsules but only after consulting a certified doctor, nutritionist or dietician.
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