The Benefits of Brahmi Oil

Brahmi Oil
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Brahmi oil is a natural substance used in Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India). Typically massaged into the scalp, it's made from extracts of the herbs bacopa monnieri and gotu kola (usually combined with sesame oil or coconut oil). Proponents claim that brahmi oil can treat certain health conditions, as well as improve hair and skin.

Uses for Brahmi Oil

In ayurvedic medicine, brahmi oil is thought to soothe pitta (one of the three doshas).

According to the principles of ayurveda, excess pitta can contribute to inflammation, difficulty sleeping, skin problems, gastrointestinal disorders, and stress-related issues such as high blood pressure.

Take this quiz to determine your dosha.

In addition, brahmi oil is said to help treat the following health problems:

  • alopecia areata
  • anxiety
  • dandruff 
  • epilepsy
  • insomnia
  • stress

Brahmi oil is also thought to strengthen hair and promote hair growth.

Health Benefits of Brahmi Oil

Despite the long history of use of brahmi oil, there is currently a lack of research testing its health effects. Some preliminary studies suggest that ingesting bacopa monnieri may help treat certain health problems (such as memory disorders, Alzheimer's disease, and stress), while consumption of gotu kola may offer a number of benefits (such as anxiety relief and improvement of mood). However, there is no scientific support for the claim that applying these herbs to the scalp in the form of brahmi oil can help with any health condition.

Alternatives to Brahmi Oil

A number of natural remedies may offer health effects similar to the purported benefits of brahmi oil. For example, herbs like valerian and kava may help alleviate anxiety and promote healthy sleep, while such herbs as rhodiola, ashwaghanda, and Panax ginseng may help shield the body from the negative effects of chronic stress.

In addition, remedies like tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and biotin may help treat dandruff.

Another popular ayurvedic remedy said to improve and strengthen hair is amla oil. While research on amla oil's health effects is lacking, practitioners of ayurveda suggest that it can help condition the hair, treat dry scalp, promote hair growth, and retard prematurely graying hair.

If you're seeking to soothe pitta energy, some practitioners of ayurveda recommend strategies such as consuming cooling foods (including cucumbers and melons), undergoing massage, practicing stress management techniques, and using neem oil. Additionally, certain yoga poses (including standing forward bends and inversions) are said to calm pitta energy.

Caveats

Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of using brahmi oil. Keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb.

In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. While consumers face such risks when purchasing any dietary supplement, these risks may be of greater magnitude in the purchase of Ayurvedic products containing a variety of herbs in varying doses. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get further tips on using supplements here.

Where To Find It

Available for purchase online, brahmi oil is sold in some natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in self-care products.

Using Brahmi Oil for Health

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend brahmi oil as a treatment for any condition. It's important to note that self-treating a serious health condition (such as epilepsy) with brahmi oil may have harmful consequences. If you're considering the use of brahmi, make sure to consult your physician first.

Sources

Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. "Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial." J Altern Complement Med. 2008 14(6):707-13.

Chowdhuri DK, Parmar D, Kakkar P, Shukla R, Seth PK, Srimal RC. "Antistress effects of bacosides of Bacopa monnieri: modulation of Hsp70 expression, superoxide dismutase and cytochrome P450 activity in rat brain." Phytother Res. 2002 16(7):639-45.

Limpeanchob N, Jaipan S, Rattanakaruna S, Phrompittayarat W, Ingkaninan K. "Neuroprotective effect of Bacopa monnieri on beta-amyloid-induced cell death in primary cortical culture." J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 30;120(1):112-7.

Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, Nathan PJ. "The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects." Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 156(4):481-4.

Uabundit N, Wattanathorn J, Mucimapura S, Ingkaninan K. "Cognitive enhancement and neuroprotective effects of Bacopa monnieri in Alzheimer's disease model." J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 8;127(1):26-31.

Wattanathorn J, Mator L, Muchimapura S, Tongun T, Pasuriwong O, Piyawatkul N, Yimtae K, Sripanidkulchai B, Singkhoraard J. "Positive modulation of cognition and mood in the healthy elderly volunteer following the administration of Centella asiatica." Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2008 5;116(2):325-32.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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