Top 10 Health Benefits of Water Hyssop (Bacopa Monnieri)

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Introduction To Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri is a medicinal herb which is native to the northeastern and southern regions of India. It belongs to the family 'Scrophulariaceae' and grows in marshy, damp and wet areas. It is a perennial herb, that is, it lives for several years.

It is a celebrated medicinal herb that has been used in traditional Ayurveda for several centuries. In Ayurvedic use, it is called 'Brahmi', named after the Hindu Lord 'Brahma'. Since the Vedic civilization, Bacopa Monnieri has been used for medicinal, religious and social purposes in India. The most common name of Bacopa Monnieri is water hyssop, while other names include Jalanimba, herb of grace, Indian pennywort and thyme-leaved Gratiola.

Bacopa Monnieri : Nutritional Facts

Bacopa Monnieri contains numerous compounds that supply it with its medicinal properties. These include:
  • Brahmin
  • Saponins
  • Beta-sitosterol
  • Sigmasterol
  • Betulinic acid
  • D-mannitol
Each of these compounds has a unique pharmacological potential that helps in treatment and management of diseases.

It also contains phytochemicals such as nicotine, desaponin glycosides and herpestine. These phytochemicals are compounds that improve brain health, and thus, Bacopa Monnieri is known as a brain-boosting herb.

Because this herb contains so many healthy compounds, it is used as an anti-diabetic, liver-enhancer, anti-ulcerogenic, anti-pyretic (treats fever), carminative, analgesic, anti-asthmatic, anti-bacterial and many more.

Health Benefits Of Bacopa Monnieri

Over the last decade, researchers are becoming more and more interested in the health benefits of Bacopa Monnieri. Let us now take a look at the myriad health benefits of this miraculous herb:

Enhances Memory

Studies have revealed that Bacopa Monnieri acts as a brain tonic that helps in enhancing brain development. Long term consumption of Bacopa Monnieri helps in improving concentration level and attention span.

Bacopa Monnieri also contains bacoside, a natural compound that improves brain health, helps in the transmission of messages from the brain to the other parts of the body.

It further helps in lowering anxiety levels. Antioxidants present in Bacopa Monnieri protect hippocampus neurons, a component of the brain that prevents memory damage. These antioxidants help in the retention of information and boost overall memory. Regular consumption of Bacopa Monnieri reduces brain cell death, improves its density and increases blood flow to the brain.

Antioxidants in Bacopa Monnieri Help Boost Memory

Anti-Bacterial Potential

Bacopa Monnieri contains active ingredients such as flavonoids, saponins and alkaloids that help in destroying bacteria. They inhibit the growth and the spread of bacteria. Thus, it helps combat bacterial infections and diseases in humans.

A very interesting research has revealed that the anti-microbial activity of Bacopa Monnieri leaves is almost comparable with standard drugs such as Ciprofloxacin (drug used to treat microbial infection).

Anti-Asthmatic Role

Mast cells are cells present in connective tissue that play an important role in the development of asthma. These mast cells induce constriction of airways in lungs and secretion of mucus, which are the features of asthma.

The healthy compounds present in Bacopa Monnieri help in the stabilization of mast cells. It further blocks mast cell activation and prevents the release of histamine, a contributor to asthma. Thus, Bacopa Monnieri acts in a way similar to mast cell stabilizers, drugs used to control asthma.

Anti-Diabetic Role

The anti-diabetic potential of Bacopa Monnieri is attributed to its high antioxidant content. Potent antioxidants present in it protects the beta-cells -- producers of insulin -- against damage.

Furthermore, Bacopa Monnieri helps the muscles and body to use glucose as a source of energy. This reduces hyperglycemia which is a condition characterized by excess glucose present in the blood.

Antioxidants further lower the risk of diabetic complications. Thus, Bacopa Monnieri helps in the management of diabetes mellitus.

Protects Against Ulcers

The juice of Bacopa Monnieri has been found to protect against gastric/ stomach ulcers. Studies have further revealed that this unique herb can heal 50% of drug-induced ulcers.

Furthermore, Bacopa Monnieri secretes mucus, a slimy layer that protects the inner lining of the stomach against the harmful action of corrosive gastric acids. In addition to this, mucus coats the stomach, regulates acidity and forms the first line of defense against ulcers.

Oxidative stress initiates and aggravates stomach ulcers. Free radicals attack the inner lining of the stomach and further deteriorate the condition. The powerful antioxidants present in Bacopa Monnieri fight against oxidative stress and protect against ulcers.

Bacopa Monnieri Fights Against Oxidative Stress And Protects Against ulcers

Improves Liver Health

Overuse of alcohol, drugs, chemicals and toxin load negatively affects overall liver health. The level of liver enzymes rises during liver damage. Consumption of Bacopa Monnieri improves liver health and helps in bringing back liver enzyme level to their normal range.

Bacopa Monnieri contains antioxidants that flush out toxins and other dangerous substances from the body. Hence, it detoxifies the liver.

In addition to this, healthy compounds present in this herb improve the structure and function of the liver that is otherwise altered during the damage. Hence, Bacopa Monnieri helps in strengthening the liver.

Cholesterol-Lowering Potential

Scientific studies have revealed that treatment with Bacopa Monnieri helps in lowering high levels of low density lipoprotein, (LDL) and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), that is the bad cholesterol and triglycerides. It inhibits the enzyme that produces cholesterol in the body.

Therefore, when paired with a low-cholesterol diet, Bacopa Monnieri can be beneficial for individuals with altered lipid profile. In addition to this, it is safe to use and does not have side-effects which are often associated with cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Relieves Stress And Depression

Bacopa Monnieri is claimed to have adaptogenic effects, that is, it helps the body to adapt to stress and increases its ability to resist the harmful effects of stress.

Bacopa Monnieri further helps in the restoration of the chemicals in the brain that help in maintaining mood balance. A deficit of these brain chemicals can lead to depression.

Oxidative stress plays a major role in onset of depression. The high antioxidant content of Bacopa Monnieri contributes to its anti-depressant effect.

Bacopa Monnieri Can Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Anti-Epileptic Role

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that is manifested as seizures. It is caused due to disturbance in the electrical activity in the brain.

Saponin, a compound present in Bacopa Monnieri exhibits protection against seizures. It improves brain activity, and thus, reduces seizures.

Furthermore, Bacopa Monnieri causes the brain to release a compound which enhances production of Gamma-Amino Butyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that helps in stopping seizures. It thus improves overall brain function.

Anti-Cancer Potential

Healthy compounds such as brahmin, bacoside A and B, betulinic acid and cucurbitacins present in Bacopa Monnieri have been noted for their strong anti-cancer potential.

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These compounds inhibit the growth of tumor and its spread to other parts of the body. They reduce the population of cancer cells by preventing its multiplication.

Oxidative stress and increased free radical load is the major cause of cancer. Bacopa Monnieri is a potent source of antioxidants that flushes out free radicals from the body and fights oxidative stress.

Bacopa Monnieri thus protects against cancer and helps in its treatment.

Some Other Benefits Of Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri helps in blood purification and relieves toothache. It possesses analgesic property and thus, it helps to sooth pain. Furthermore, it treats fever and enhances intellectual development. In some parts of the world, Bacopa Monnieri is also used to improve fertility and to prevent miscarriage.

Note: Excess intake of Bacopa Monnieri can have a negative effect on the digestive system, leading to loose motions, nausea, abdominal cramps and stomach ache.

Other benefits of Bacopa Monnieri

Recipe Using Bacopa Monnieri

Name of the recipe: Bacopa Monnieri chutney

Ingredients
  • Bacopa Monnieri leaves- 3/4th cup
  • Basil leaves- 1/4th cup
  • Grated coconut- 1/4th cup
  • Peanuts- 1/4th cup
  • Green chilies- 3 no.
  • Garlic- 3 cloves
  • Ginger- 1 small piece
  • Salt- as per taste
Method of preparation
  • Wash Bacopa Monnieri and basil leaves properly
  • Add all the above ingredients to a mixer or blender. Add little water and grind to a smooth paste
  • Bacopa Monnieri chutney is ready
Other Ways to Consume Bacopa Monnieri
  • Add a few fresh Bacopa Monnieri leaves to your cup of tea
  • Add finely chopped Bacopa Monnieri to your bowl of vegetable salad or soup
  • You can also add chopped Bacopa Monnieri leaves to sandwich

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