The genus bacopa includes over 100 species of aquatic herbs distributed throughout the warmer regions of the world. In the United States, the herbs are recognized as weeds in rice fields and found growing abundantly in the marshes and wetlands of the warmer regions.
Characteristic features of Brahmi
The plant source for Brahmi is Bacopa monnieri, a small herb with light purple flowers. It grows in wet and sandy areas and near streams in tropical regions. It is a creeping herb with numerous branches and small fleshy, oblong leaves. Flowers and fruits appear in summer. The whole plant is medicinally useful.
The plants grow on wet soil or in very shallow water. They are generally found in marshy places growing near reservoirs, canals, and waterways. In India, the herb is found throughout the country from sea level to altitudes of 4400 ft. It can be easily cultivated in damp areas. The land should be plowed and the field cleaned for weeds. Irrigation and drainage are provided by narrow canals dug across the fields. In traditional practice, natural fertilizer in the form of cow dung manure is added at levels of 2 to 3 tons per acre.
Seeds or rooted plants planted in 24″ x 24″ patches are used for propagation. The planting is done in the period between mid-June and early July, roughly at the onset of the monsoon season. About 440 lbs. of fresh plants are required for cultivation in an acre. The plants may be grown for three consecutive years at a single location. Vegetative propagation is predominant.
Irrigation & Harvesting
The plant requires adequate water. The irrigation requirement depends upon the soil’s moisture content. Weeding is done periodically. The whole plant can be removed after 120-150 days. The planting material for the next crop is ensured by retaining 24″ x 24″ patches of the cultivated crop. Good quality final product is green in color. The method of drying affects the final quality. The plants should be washed properly before drying. For bulk drying, the harvested crop should be immediately spread in thin layers in well-ventilated shaded areas. In order to ensure quick and uniform drying, the product should be stirred at least twice a day. The drying process takes about 8 to 10 days.
Description of the plant
The plant is a profusely branched herb, rooting at the nodes and forming dense mats. The leaves are fleshy. Flowering and fruiting occur throughout the year, in brief successive durations.