In India there has been the whole gamut of welcome drinks that can be served to guests, having taste and health. Such as the traditional drinks like lassi, jal jeera, shikanji which are still more common, but sadly are now being replaced by the commercialised soft drinks, soda, mocktails, etc. Today, in our series #SacredIndianHerbs, the fifteenth herb which we going to discuss about is Brahmi, which makes a healthy and refreshing drink and also is a part of Indian cuisine. So, if your guest turns up especially during summers make them drink brahmi sharbat. They will be relieved from heat, feel refresh and will be benefited with health.
Scientific name: Centella asiatica (North India), bacopa monnieri (South India)
English name: Pennywort
Common name: Brahmi, gotu kola (Sri lanka)
Hindi name: Mandukaparni, brahma-manduki
A sattvic herb popularly known as ‘Mandukaparni’ as the shape of the leaves appears like a shadow of a sitting frog ‘Manduk’, and is best available & consumed during summers. It is mostly found in Himalayas because the geographical features, topography and climatic conditions favours the plant life. It grows naturally in wetland, shallow water, damp and muddy shores. It is a small creeping plant having numerous branches and thick leaves. The flowers are small and light purple or white with four to five petals. The whole plant can be used for medicinal purposes. Though it's a summer plant but the leaves can be dried under shade and stored to derive benefits year long. Here’s a look at the health benefits of brahmi for both the body and the mind.
Brahmi as a summer drink (thandai)
Brahmi can be consumed in the form of liquid extracts which are convenient, easy to assimilate and have a long shelf life. During summers we can mash some 8-10 fresh leaves of Brahmi and mix in milk or water together, and consume it in the form of thandai. You can also add khand / honey/ jaggery to sweeten the taste (khand is more appropriate). This drink will help you to soothe your mind and digestive system.
Brahmi as a brain tonic
In southern India, Brahmi refers to ‘Bacopa monnieri’. The active compounds present in Bacopa are known as ‘bacosides’ effects the brain resulting in enhancing the memory power and resolving various brain disorders. It is favourable to give bacopa to a child who comparatively lacks memory power or is notorious and struggles to remember for long. In this condition, extract the juice of fresh brahmi leaves and give half teaspoon along with honey, in the morning empty stomach for few days. It will provide positive effects on brain and health. A very renowned ayurvedic herbal preparation, available in the market for school going children who are always stressed about better performance better in grades, is Shankhpushpi syrup, having Shankhpushpi and Brahmi herb as the major ingredients. Both these herbs are traditionally described to improve concentration, focus and recall ability.
Brahmi for skin treatment
Brahmi is one of the remarkable herb that helps to enhance your skin by stimulating cell regeneration. Skin disorders such as skin discoloration, rashes, irritation, pimples, acne, etc can be treated and healed fast. Sprinkle the powder on the affected sites and tie a cotton cloth around it. This will help to remove toxins from the skin and promotes healing. Professor Chakraborty and his team of Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine has done research work over brahmi which signifies the use of brahmi to cure leprosy. Take the whole plant of Brahmi with roots and dry it in shade. Mash the plant to form a paste and make tablets of 1g each. Consume 1 tablet two times a day. It can help to cure leprosy which is considered as a chronic infectious disease.
Brahmi for hair rejuvenation
The antioxidant components present in Brahmi helps in rejuvenating the scalp and also promote regeneration of hair. On the other hand, Bhringraj oil is a medicinal herb that is considered good for the hair growth. An effective homemade oil can be made by using both these remarkable herbs:- take the leaves of Bhringraj and Brahmi in equal quantity. Mash the leaves to form a paste and add sesame oil four times the paste. Then add water four times to that of oil. Heat the mixture at its lowest setting. When water gets completely evaporated, turn off the flame and let the remnant oil to cool down. Filter the oil and store in an airtight bottle for later use. You can also add 1-2 drops of essence of sandalwood, rose or jasmine. Apply the oil regularly directly into the roots of the hair and scalp before bed and let it sit overnight; or apply before bathing and rinse. Regular application of this oil will promote thicker and healthy hair, build new hair follicles and also aids to relieve stress. Hence, helps to cure alopecia, itching, dandruff, flakes and split ends.
Are you consuming Brahmi or a similar herb?
Many plants appear similar to Brahmi and are used popularly in place of Brahmi such as Banafsha. Its leaves are similar to Brahmi and its flowers are used to make decoction during cough and respiratory disorders. The other is Androsace rotundifolia of which various varieties are found and many people have consumed this herb thinking it as brahmi. These herbs are available in the market with different names. Jal Brahmi is commonly found in Bengal near damp and moist areas. Also called as Jalanimba as it is bitter in taste as that of neem. Its leaves can be distinguished from a distance. So, be careful not to confuse brahmi with other natural herbs and check before buying them.
Till now we have discovered that these natural herbs brings a sense of peace and wonder at the marvel of nature. It is our divine responsibility to treasure these herbs which are quite aplenty and noticeable.