In Ayurveda, ‘Brahmi’ has been used to describe two distinct kinds of herbs. They are Bacopa Monnieri and Centella Asiatica. ‘Brahmi’ literally translates to the ‘female essence of consciousness’ in Sanskrit, and has been credited as the herb that brings pure awareness to those who consume it.
Now both of the above mentioned herbs are known to promote awareness as well as exhibit properties that help enhance the quality of one’s mind. Both Bacopa Monnieri and Centella Asiatica possess similar benefits when it comes to their respective mind enhancing properties. The only thing that separates them is the geography.
Bacopa Monnieri aka ‘bacopa’ is found in southern India, whereas Centella Asiatica aka ‘gotu kola’ is native to northern India. Both of these ‘Brahmi’ herbs are known to pacify Kapha, Pitta and Vata dosha. However, having any of the two herbs in excess can result in an excess of Vata.
Both of these herbs offer strong benefits to the blood, nervous tissues, lymph and urinary tract of our body. ‘Gotu Kola’ in particular, shows affinity towards muscle and bone tissues. Although both the herbs are tridoshic in nature, ‘Bacopa’ is considered to be more focused on improving strength and energy, while ‘gotu kola’ is more focused on purification and rejuvenation.
There are many more benefits to be enjoyed with the two above ‘Brahmi’ herbs, let’s dive deep and know what they have in store for our body and mind.
Benefits of Brahmi
Mind Enhancing Properties
Both the above ‘Brahmi’ herbs are considered as sattvic herbs in Ayurveda, meaning they promote subtle awareness. In fact, both ‘bacopa’ and ‘gotu kola’ have been used prominently in Ayurveda to enhance memory, improve concentration and rejuvenate the brain.
These herbs are also known to promote intellect and intelligence by improving the sadhaka pitta. Both the herbs are crucial in tackling behavioral and developmental mental imbalances. Ayurveda deems both the herbs as ‘tonic for heart’, thus emphasizing the relation of the mind with the overall health of one’s body.
Furthermore, ‘Bacopa’ is prescribed in Ayurveda to alleviate vata disorders while ‘gotu kola’ is prescribed to alleviate mental and emotional aggravations pertaining to both vata and pitta.
Promotes Skin Health
Both the ‘Brahmi’ herbs are known to have soothing effects on an ailing skin. ‘Gotu Kola’ in particular is said to be more effective in cases of aggravated pitta, while ‘bacopa’ can handle skin issues due to nervous imbalance.
Furthermore, both the herbs are also beneficial for healthy hair. Applying these herbs on the scalp can stimulate the brain and nervous system in close connection with the scalp, and thus facilitate healthy and strong hair growth.
Of both the herbs, ‘gotu kola’ is considered to be more effective when it comes to healing skin disorders and promoting skin health. It has a special affinity towards the bhrajaka pitta and helps clean wounds, soften, cleanse and protect skin.
Protect the Nervous System
Both ‘Bacopa’ and ‘gotu kola’ are said to have a positive effect on the majja dhatu (the nervous tissue) of the body. As such, they help relax tension in the body while taking measures to protect the nervous system.
‘Bacopa’ is attributed to reducing constipation and muscle tension whereas ‘gotu kola’ is attributed to slow down the effects of ageing and relax the central nervous system.
Both the herbs are essential in improving the overall quality of sleep, reducing stress and enhancing daytime alertness.
There are many other benefits that can be had with both these ‘Brahmi’ herbs:
- They can assist in digestion, with ‘gotu kola’ acting as an appetizer while ‘bacopa’ suppresses the appetite
- They can also support joints and enable them to move freely
- Both of the herbs can also eliminate harmful toxins and free radicals from the human body.
How to Use Brahmi
As taste plays a crucial role in Ayurveda, we recommend taking ‘Brahmi’ internally. This can be done via ‘Brahmi’ herbs available in powder, tablet or liquid extract forms in the market.
As ‘bacopa’ is known to suppress appetite, it is usually taken with other digestive herbs like ginger and cardamom to promote digestion.
These ‘Brahmi’ herbs can be applied topically on the body as oil made of ‘bacopa’, ‘gotu kola’ or both for a good session of massage that promotes healthy hair, skin and results in free movement of joints. Furthermore, a paste of these herbs can be made and applied over the body to promote skin health and stimulate the central nervous system.
Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.