Bacopa monnieri (L.) Pennell

Bacopa monneri is a small glabrous creeping herb with obtuse-angular stems; the leaves are short-petioled, cuneate to obovate; the capsules are ovoid. It can be easily grown in damp areas and can be propagated using seeds or vegetatively. It grows in damp, marshy areas. It is a reputed medicinal herb in many systems of medicine. It is also under cultivation as medicinal crop.

Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Bacopa
Species: B. monnieri
Botanical Name: Bacopa monnieri (L.) Pennell
English name: Thyme-Leaved Gratiola
Nepalese Name: Brahmi
Other common names: "Brahmi" Hindi (India), Lunuwila in Sinhalese (Sri Lanka), "psheta sru'a" in Hebrew; "Ji? m? ch? xiàn") in Simplified Chinese
Trade name: Bacopa monnieri
Parts used: The whole herb

Habitat and distribution
Bacopa monnieri is found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, particularly the Americas. A few are regarded as weeds and excess stock should not be dumped in warmer regions. Most grow in moist amphibious conditions, though some like B. myriophylloides seem to be wholly aquatic.

Major Chemical constituents
The principal chemical constituents in Bacopa monnieri are the alkaloids brahmine, herpestine, and a mixture of three bases. Some other constituents are the saponins, monnierin ; hersaponin, bacoside A and bacoside B. Other constituents present in the plant are D-mannitol, betulic acid, ß- sitosterol, stigmasterol and its esters, heptacosane, octacosane, nonacosane, triacontane, hentriacontane, dotriacontane, nicotine, 3-formyl-4-hydroxy-2H-pyran, luteolin and its 7-glucoside. The presence of a-alamine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid and serine is also found in Bacopa monnieri.

It is a glabrous somewhat succulent, creeping herb, rooting at the nodes, with numerous prostrate branches, each 10-30 cm long; Leaves oblong to spathulate, sessile, decussate, rather fleshy, entire, punctuate, obtuse; Flowers axillary, solitary, peduncles often much longer and deflexed in fruiting stage; Corolla about one cm long, pale, lobes 5, oblong, obtuse, subequal, tips purple; Capsule ovoid-acuminate or slightly beaked at the apex; Seeds oblong, truncate, longitudinally ribbed with transverse striations in between the ribs.
The leaves of this plant are succulent, oblong and 4–6 millimeters thick. Leaves are oblanceolate and are arranged oppositely on the stem. The flowers are small and white, with four or five petals. Its ability to grow in water makes it a popular aquarium plant. It can even grow in slightly brackish conditions. Propagation is often achieved through cuttings.

Bacopa herb has been used in traditional Ayurvedic treatment for epilepsy and asthma. It is also useful for ulcers, tumors, ascites, enlarged spleen, indigestion, inflammations, leprosy, anemia, and biliousness. According to Ayurveda, it is bitter, pungent, heating, emetic, laxative and useful in bad ulcers, tumours, ascites, enlargement of spleen, indigestion, inflammations, leprosy, anaemia, biliousness etc. According to Unani system of medicine, it is bitter, aphrodisiac, good in scabies, leucoderma, syphilis etc. It is promising blood purifier and useful in diarrhea and fevers.

It is astringent, bitter and cooling, and, is reported to improve the intellect. It is used in indigenous systems of medicine for the treatment of asthma, hoarseness, insanity, epilepsy and as a potent nerve tonic, cardiotonic and diuretic. A clinical report showed that this drug is an anti-anxiety agent having adaptogenic effect. It exhibits a barbiturate hypnosis-potentiating effect in albino rats. The leaves are also useful as a diuretic and aperient.

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