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Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) medicinal plant

  Introduction
  Common Name
  Brahmi Plant
  Chemical Constituents
  Cultivation
  Brahmi as Medicinal plant
  Brahmi other uses
  Economics
  Recent research

  Introduction

  Brahmi has been used in traditional Indian medicine for over 3000 years. The medicinal herb Brahmi, or Bacopa  is a common treatment for a wide variety of illnesses, inlluding brain, nervous, respiratory, digestive and circulatory issues. According to Ayurvedic treatment Brahmi increase mental abilities and is often used in the treatment of Altheizmer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Attention Deficit Disorder and memory loss.

     Brahmi plant

 Brahmi  throughout India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and is also found in Florida and other southern states of the USA. In India Brahmi is found in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Foot hills of Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal. 



  Common Name

  Hindi -          Brahmi
English -      Bacopa monnieri
Latin  -         Bacopa monnieri   
Sanskrit -     Brahmi
Kannada -    Nirubrahmi
Telgu       -   Sambrani chettu
Malayalam-  Puli, Kolpuli 
Marathi     -  Jalnaveri
Bengali    -  Jalanimba

  Brahmi Plant

 Brahmi is the small creeping herb with the numerous branches. It grows to a height of 2 -3 feet and its branches are 10 -35 cm long. It has oval shaped leaves that are 1-2 cm long and 3- 8 mm broad. Leaves are formed in pairs
along the stems. Small- tubular, five petaled flowers are white- purple in colour. Its stem is soft, succulent, and hairy with the glands. Roots emerge out of the nodules and directly go to the soil. The fruit is oval and sharp at apex.

  Bramhi seeds

    Brahmi seeds

  Chemical Constituents

 Brahmi herb contains the alkaloids brahmine, herpestatine and a mixture of three bases. Brahmine is highly toxic. The herb also contains saponins, monnierin, hersaponin, bacoside -A and bacoside –B;  Monnierin, on hydrolysis, gave glucose,  arabinose and aglycone  whereas, bacosides A and B gave glucose, arabinose and bacogenines A, A2, A3 and A4; bacogenines A1and A 2.are epimers, and A4 is an ebelin lactone.

  Analysis of the leaves and stalks gave: moisture, 88.4; protein, 2.1:fat, 0.6; carbohydrates,5.9; crude fiber,1.05; and ash, 1.9 g / 100g. calcium,202.0; phosphorus, 16.0; iron, 7.8;

  Cultivation

  SOIL AND CLIMATE
  The Brahmi plant is known to grow under varying soil and climatic conditions. It grows exceptionally well in poorly drained soils and waterlogged areas under sub-tropical conditions. The plants grow faster at high temperatures (33-400 C) and humidity (65-80%) and should be cultivated as summer-rainy season crop.

  Brahmi leaves and flower   The field should be ploughed thoroughly and made free of weeds. The land should be irrigated a day before planting for successful establishment of plant cuttings. 

  TRANSPLANTING
  Plant cuttings about 4-5 cm long, each containing a few leaves, nodes and roots are ideal planting materials. These can be obtained by cutting mother plants into small pieces with roots. The cutting are transplanted in wet soil at spacing of 40 cm x 40 cm. Flood irrigation is provided immediately after planting. Ideally, the 
plants should be transplanted in March-June and allowed to grow and proliferate through hot and humid months of monsoon till September after which harvesting should be done. The plants can also be maintained in a perennial state with two harvests in a year, the first one in June and the other one after monsoon, in October.

  MANURES, FERTILISERS AND PESTICIDES
  The medicinal plants have to be grown without chemical fertilizers and use of pesticides. Organic manures like, Farm Yard Manure (FYM), Vermi-Compost, Green Manure etc. may be used as per requirement of the species. To prevent diseases, bio-pesticides could be prepared (either single or mixture) from Neem (kernel, seeds & leaves), Chitrakmool, Dhatura, Cow's urine etc.

  IRRIGATION
  Irrigation immediately after transplanting is essential for the successful survival of the plants. Subsequently, the fields are irrigated by flooding as per requirement usually every 7-8 days. There is no need for irrigation during the monsoon. 
  WEEDING
  Initially hand weeding is required every 5-20 days. Later as the plant proliferate and forms a dense mat of vegetation, weeding may be required sporadically.

  HARVESTING/POST-HARVESTING
  The plants should be harvested between October-November, after that there is loss of plant biomass and bacoside yield. The plant can be ideally harvested by ratooning so that the upper portions of the stem 4-5 cms from the base are removed and the rest left for subsequent regeneration. 

  Storage
  The plants can be dried in a conventional manner by spreading on the ground under shade at room temperature. Alternatively, they can be treated at 800 C in oven for 30 minutes immediately after harvest
for a two-fold more retention of bacoside-A content of dried herb. After treatment they can be further air dried by spreading on the ground at room temperature or in the oven at 370 C. The material is to be cleaned free of any external matter. The dry material should be stored in a cool dry room packed in bags/boxes having concrete flooring, away from walls. Precautions also need to be taken to avoid infestation with fungi and insects.

 

  Brahmi as Medicinal plant

 Brahmi as a Medicinal plant is used extensively in Ayurveda to treat several diseases. Brahmi increase a man's intelligence, increase mental abilities. Brahmi is often used in the treatment of Altheizmer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Attention Deficit Disorder and memory loss. ;Brahmi used in 
 Nervous Disorders  Brahmi has long been known for its relaxing effect and is often used as a treatment for women suffering from postnatal depression. It is also given in cases of anxiety, stress, insomnia and other types of depression. It is used to treat anxiety,  hysteria, nervous breakdown, insanity and to improve circulation, strengthen capillaries.

  Respiratory Problems   Brahmi has been used to treat asthma and a number of other respiratory problems including bronchitis, when served as a tincture or tea,. Brahmi can also be used to treat coughing and other symptoms related to the common cold, bronchitis, coughs etc.

  Digestive Issues  Brahmi is frequently used to treat irritable bowel syndrome and similar disorders related to the intestinal tract. Upset stomachs and consistent diarrhea are also often treated with Brahmi.

 Circulatory Illnesses  In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Brahmi is used to detoxify the blood. In recent years, Brahmi has been used to treat a number of circulation issues, including inflammatory conditions.

 Hair and Skin  Brahmi is used to promote hair and nail growth, to treat a variety of skin problems, to break fevers, and to decrease joint pain due to arthritis or rheumatism.

  Brahmi other uses

  Brahmi as herbal supplements and tablets have been marketed for super learning, for memory and as a brain tonic.Brahmi is rich in Vitamin C and can be used in the salads, soups and sandwiches. Brahmi oil restores and preserves the memory

  Economics

  Yield: The fresh and dry herb yields of Brahmi go upto 300q/ha and 60/q/ha, respectively, when harvested after September while bacoside- A yield can be as much as 85kg/ha. After the first harvest, 40q dry herb yield from the June harvest, totalling to 100 q dry herb yield in a year will be obtainable. 
  Expenditure per hectare Rs.35,000/-
  Gross return @Rs.20/kg of dry matter yield Rs.2,00,000/-
  Net income Rs.1,65,000/- (YEAR-2001)

  Recent research

 Central Drug Research of India (CDRI) began extensive research in 1933 for modern therapeutic uses. CDRI started clinical trials with brahmi on human volunteers. No adverse effects were recorded. The CDRI presented their research findings to numerous international brain research conferences.In May 1996 the Royal Society of British Science published a paper on nitric oxide, calling it the marvel of the decade. The article explained that the nitric oxide in brahmi has an extremely positive effect on learning and memory recall, as well as on blood circulation and the function of the liver, lungs and kidneys.
  Research is also being done on the use of nitric oxide to treat stroke and Alzheimer’s sufferers. In 1998 the Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded to three pharmacologists for their discovery that nitric oxide, in its natural form, has powerful potential as a messenger molecule in the body.
 A recent scientific study showed that brahmi has potent antioxidant properties, which is used for strengthening the immune system, improving vitality and performance and promoting longevity. The task of antioxidants in the body is to mop up free radical molecules.

 

 

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