Brahmi – A Boon in the Field of Ayurvedic Medicines
Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) is a medicinal plant that has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. It is considered very beneficial for the nervous system and is an important ingredient of many medicines that act on the nervous system. Brahmi helps to maintain good health and has numerous properties that help the body fight several diseases. Ayurvedic medicine takes up the uses of Brahmi and gives them a spiritual importance.
Findings of Several Research Studies
There are no published studies of the impact of bacopa monnieri on human memory in humans; but there are several experiments with non-human animals. These experiments have revealed that it enhances the speed of learning in a forward brightness discrimination task and in a maze task, it enhances retention, and it attenuates amyloid-induced amnesia in on Alzheimer’s patients. In another experiment with non-Alzheimer’s mice, bacopa monnieri prevented the expression of amyloid protein in the brain. The amyloid protein is the main amyloid protein implicated in the neurofibrillary tangles observed in Alzheimer’s patients.
The term “brahmi” is usually used in association with medicinal plants, but the generic term bacopa monnieri is also sometimes used. This plant is called brahmi in ayurvedic texts. It is one of the most commonly used and recommended herbs in India. It is one of the most important nootropic herbs in the world.
Brahmi is one of three constituents of the herb bacopa monnieri. The other two constituents are known separately. The major active constituents are bacosides A and B. They have more antioxidant activity than other compounds known. These compounds are believed to act on the myelin protein in the brain. Some of the substances in the plant are believed to stimulate the production of neurorestorative proteins, which play a vital role in the development of neurological conditions, such as memory loss, depression, dementia, Parkinsonism, and dementia.
How does Brahmi Reacts to Cognitive Functions?
A study looked at the effect of bacopa monnieri on cognitive functions, focusing on four domains of cognitive function: short-term memory, visual memory, verbal memory, and abstract memory. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial involving sixty healthy adults with mild Alzheimer’s disease showed that the extract of brahmi significantly improved the mean speed of cognitive aging in the participants. The improvement was especially significant for those aged 65 years or above, but there were no significant differences in performance between younger and older individuals. The study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Science Foundation.
Effects on AChE Antibodies
Several lines of evidence suggest that the extracts of brahmi and other herbs can protect against the development of both amyloid and neuron degeneration. Studies have shown that the anti-oxidants present in the herbs protect against free radical damage and reduce the formation of AChE antibodies, the primary molecules involved in the process of AChE-induced neuron degeneration. The anti-oxidant effects of the extracts of brahmi also inhibit the formation of AChE, suggesting the involvement of these substances in the protection of the nervous system from AChE-induced neuron degeneration. Additionally, the compounds found in brahmi appear to prevent the protein cross-linking, a process that is critical in the development of neuron degeneration.
Beneficial in the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
In vitro studies have provided a great deal of evidence in support of the benefits of bacon and other herbs in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In one study, bacopa was effective in treating the symptoms of AD in human subjects, but had no effect or a minor effect on non-AChE amyloid proteins. In another study, the anti-amyloid protein deaminase (DAO) was able to prevent the conversion of amyloid protein into AChE. These findings suggest that the compounds in brahmi are important in the prevention of AD. Further studies are necessary to determine whether the plant extracts can slow down the progression of this disease.
The Bottom Line
It should be noted that the animal studies reported above had used rather small samples of subjects, which made it difficult to conclude whether the findings are valid. Similarly, the quality of the studies was uneven, with some using poor methodology and others using questionable methods. Nonetheless, these animal studies provide strong suggestive evidence for the efficacy of bacon and other extracts of brahmi in the treatment of dementia and other disorders of cognition. Further studies using controlled labs and larger samples are needed to ascertain the effectiveness of these and other Brahmi compounds in the treatment of Alzheimer’s.