Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Focus on Herbs: BRAHMI

We have several herbs growing here that I would like to use more often and one of those is Brahmi. We saw it at our local Gardenfest last year and actually bought it because the nursery rep said it was 'good for the brain'. Well, he had our attention as soon as he said that as my husband and I are both becoming forgetful so thought we would see if it would grow in our climate.


There had been mention of this plant being 'a bit bitter' but I had no idea that it would taste as bitter as it does. I wondered if it was worth growing such a distasteful plant and when I bought Isabell Shipard's wonderful book How Can I Use Herbs In My Daily Life?  I checked out the detailed information she had shared about brahmi.
It is a perennial ground cover which is considered to be a bog plant as it likes wet spots but it will also grow in pots, in a shady spot in the garden or, if given ample water, will even grow in full sun. We have ours growing in an old wheel-barrow on the eastern side so it gets the morning sun and is in shade in the afternoon. It is thriving there at the moment but we will need to protect it from the frost in winter.
Brahmi has been used in traditional Indian medicine for many years as a treatment for arthritis, inflammatory conditions, rheumatism, asthma and many other conditions. It is valued as a cardiac, brain and nerve tonic and is widely used by students for improving mental clarity and is available as herbal supplements and tablets to help with learning and for memory.
Well, in light of that information and much more supplied by Isabell in her book I thought I should try to include brahmi into my daily diet but her suggestion to ...tuck a few brahmi sprigs into the corner of a sandwich, swallow it quickly and tell yourself it is good for you...didn't persuade me at all so I thought I would do what Tanya from Flood Proof Mum does and include it in a smoothie of sorts.  

So I juiced some carrots (white, orange and purple), beetroot, kale, silverbeet, parsley, cucumber and a couple of apples and ended up....
....with this! Not a lot but enough for my son and myself. He drank his first and said it tasted good so I plucked up some courage and drank my glass of juice and it wasn't bitter at all as I had added the extra apple to counteract that but I think I will leave the parsley out the next time. So I was pleased with myself that at long last I had actually eaten some brahmi.
According to another of Isabell's books, How Can I Be Prepared With Self-Sufficiency and Survival Food?  we need to eat more bitter foods in our daily life as they are important to the function of the endocrine system, for stabilising blood pressure and insulin secretions and for the manufacture of T cells that have the role of destroying cancer cells. It's a pity they taste so yuk though eh?
For those who want to grow this amazing herb and has difficulty with the bitterness (like me) you can cut and dry it then crush it to a powder and put into gelatine capsules. It can also be drunk as a tea with sweetener. To obtain therapeutic benefits it will need to be taken for at least 3 months. The daily dosage is 3-4g daily and 3g is approximately six sprigs 8-10cm long.
So I have crossed one herb off my list of herbs to use this year and next week I will focus on another one that I rarely use. Am I the only one who doesn't use the herbs they have growing as much as they could?




  1. Eh..You're not offering a good argument for me to try it, Nana Chel:-) I love the idea of all the health benefits, especially the insulin secretion (for Mma) and cancer bit (paternal family prone to it. ) But I think I'll stick to reading about it, thanks.

  2. Ha ha, Damaria. Have you seen it for sale in your area? Perhaps Gotu Kola or Herb Robert would be easier to take for your Mma. They do taste nicer and I just pick off leaves and eat them when passing in the morning.

  3. I have been taking the brahmi for a month or so now and I do notice the difference...still have not found any other way more palatable than the smoothie though :) I saw the capsules at Isabel's herb farm. Would still work out alot cheaper than buying the brahmi capsules. They are expensive!

  4. Actually I was just looking at the brahmi and wondered if I should pick some and make a I'd better go outside and do just that. I'm pleased you have noticed the difference in your health as that would make it worth the effort of making something to cover the taste. LOL!
    Thanks Tanya.


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