Centella asiatica commonly known as Asiatic pennywort belongs to family Apiaceae while Bacopa monnieri commonly known as Indian pennywort belongs to family Plantaginaceae. Both are creeping herbs with different morphology.
The word “Brahmi” has been used to describe two distinct Ayurvedic herbs – Centella asiatica and Bacopa monnieri. These two plants are often confused with each other. The fact is, in Ayurveda the name “Brahmi” can be applied to any strong tonic for the brain, bearing in mind that it carries the energy of the god Brahma, the creator of the Universe in Hinduism, and Brahman – the Absolute, Cosmos. However, it so happened that the word “brahmi” most often refers to bacopa monieri. In Indian mythology brahmi is a Sanskrit word that refers to the feminine essence of universal consciousness. In Ayurveda, both of the herbs that bear the name brahmi are thought to promote subtle awareness and sattva (the pure essence of consciousness). They are also both highly revered for their mind-enhancing properties and their support on the nervous system. The dual use of the name brahmi is a result of geographical differences. In southern India, “brahmi” refers to Bacopa monnieri, and in Northern India, “brahmi” refers to Centella asiatica. In the west Centella asiatica is also widely known by its name Gotu Kola.
It is used in indigenous systems of medicine for the treatment of asthma, hoarseness, insanity, epilepsy and as a potent nerve tonic; cardio tonic and diuretic. The leaves are also useful as a diuretic and aperient.
Brain tonic, Epilepsy, Headaches, Insanity, Improves memory, improves mental capacities, such as concentration and learning, Nerve tonic, Nervous breakdown, Nervous deficit due to injury and stroke Nervous exhaustion.
Phytochemistry: The best characterized phytochemicals in Bacopa monnieri are dammarane-type triterpenoid saponins known as bacosides, with jujubogenin or pseudo-jujubogenin moieties as aglycone units. Bacosides comprise a family of 12 known analogs. Other saponins called bacopasides I–XII were identified. The alkaloids brahmine, nicotine, and herpestine have been catalogued, along with D-mannitol, apigenin, hersaponin, monnierasides I–III, cucurbitacin and plantainoside B.
Saponins are the main active constituents of Bacopa monnieri responsible for most of its pharmacological actions, which are known to be antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, cardio protective, neuro-protective and adaptogenic. Regarding its uses in Ayurvedic medicine, Brahmi is known to improve memory by decreasing forgetfulness, improve insomnia, and reduce anxiety.
It is used in traditional systems of medicine as an antioxidant that rejuvenates and cleanses the body, a tonic for the brain that improves mental activity and memory, strengthens the immune system, improves blood circulation, regulates blood pressure, nervous system, relieves anxiety, heals skin diseases, treats ulcers and scars , strengthens hair and hair follicles, stimulates hair growth, prevents hair loss.
Phytochemistry: The composition of Centella asiatica includes a complex of biologically active substances: triterpene saponins (asiaticosides (24-44%), madecassosides (34-66%), derivatives of triterpenic acids (asiatic, madecassic, centyl, centoyl), derivatives of R1-barrigenol, polyacetylene compounds, glycosides (funkfuniside, isofankfuniside), flavonoids (rutin, campfrol, quercetin, anthocyanins), tannins, alkaloid hydrochotin, triterpenoids (ursolic, 2α, 3β, 20,23-tetrahydroxyurs-28-tin, 11,12-pomegranate, 11,12-pentrude Korosoleva, 2α, 3α-dihydroxyurs-12-en-28-tins I and 3-epimasilic acid), rosmarinic acid, centellin, centellicin, phenolic acids (irbic, 3,5-di-O-caffeine quinine, 1,5-di-O-caffeine quinine, 3,4-di-O- quinyl caffeine and 4,5-di-O-cinchine quinine), chlorogenic and isochlorogenic acids, minerals (iron, potassium, copper, zinc, calcium, sodium, manganese, magnesium, cobalt), chlorophyll, vitamins (A, C) , essential oil (0.1%), starch, thymine, asparagine, isoginetine.
Gotu kola and Brahmi are the most powerful brain tonics in Ayurveda. These two plants are extremely similar to each other in appearance and properties. Both are used in Ayurveda as the two most powerful tonics for the brain and cosmetic formulas for the skin of the face and body and, especially, for hair.
They are perfectly combined with each other. Both plants are powerful antioxidants that cleanse the blood, enhance immunity, tone the entire body, treat a range of diseases, including skin diseases, and perfectly heal wounds and ulcers. At the same time, Brahmi has a cooling effect by regulating Vata and Kapha dosha, and Gotu Kola – warming, normalizing the Pitta dosha. Thus, together they perfectly balance all three doshas, the whole organism. Both herbs are taken inside as a medicine and are part of numerous cosmetic preparations. Brahmi is used more for dietary supplements and face and body skin care products, and Gotukola is used in face and hair cosmetics, but this is a very conditional distinction.