Besides mental functioning, ayurvedic texts advocate the use of Brahmi in other physiological conditions. As a result, researchers have evaluated the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic and other pharmacological effects of Bacopa monnieri preparations/extracts.
Since free radical-induced damage is implicated in most of the disease conditions treated with Brahmi in Ayurveda, recent researchers attempted to evaluate the antioxidant action of the whole plant and the isolated bacosides. Preclinical research supports the partial role of the bacosides’ antioxidant action in the frontal cortex, striatum, and hippocampus on the cognition-facilitating action of Bacopa monnieri.
Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities
The anti-inflammatory effect of Brahmi Rasayan, a rejuvenating preparation containing Bacopa monnieri was studied in rodents. The effectiveness of Brahmi Rasayan in inhibiting experimentally induced inflammation was compared with that of indomethacin, a known anti-inflammatory drug. The results of this study showed that Brahmi Rasayan effectively suppressed experimentally induced inflammatory reactions and did not cause gastric irritation at anti-inflammatory doses. The mechanism of anti-inflammatory action, in part, was proven to be similar to that of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are mediated through inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis and partly through the stabilization of lysosomal membranes.
Preclinical studies on frogs demonstrated the cardiotonic and neuromuscular blocking actions of an extract of the whole plant.
An alcoholic extract of the entire plant was found to be have anticancer activity against walker carcino sarcoma 256 (intramuscular) in rats. It is speculated that bacopa’s anticarcinogenic activity is furnished by inhibition of DNA replication. However, further research needs to be performed to confirm the validity of these findings.
Use of Bacopa monnieri in the management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
An indigenous preparation containing Bacopa monnieri and Aegle marmelos correa (Bilva) was clinically evaluated for its efficacy in the management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in a 6-week, double-blind randomized trial. IBS is a painful condition accompanied by a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, including gas, diarrhea, and constipation. About 169 patients with Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS) received either standard therapy with clidinium bromide, chlordiazepoxide and isaphaghulla or the ayurvedic preparation of Aegle marmelos correa and Bacopa monnieri Linn along with matching placebo. The ayurvedic preparation (57 patients) was found to be effective in 64.9% of the cases, while standard therapy (60 patients) was useful in 78.3% of the cases. Only 32.7% of the patients receiving the placebo(52 patients) showed improvement. In cases where diarrhea was predominant, the ayurvedic preparation was found to be better than conventional therapy. In contrast, conventional therapy was found to be better than the ayurvedic one in cases of predominant constipation and painful IBS. Overall, the ayurvedic preparation appeared to be effective and safe in the management of the diarrheal form of IBS for which long-term use of antidiarrheals with possible side effects is prescribed. However, neither the ayurvedic nor conventional forms of therapy were found to be better than the placebo in preventing the relapse after six months.