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Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri), is a perennial herb that has been recently reclassified into the Plantaginaceae family from the Scrophulariaceae or Figwort family. Bacopa is a small, creeping succulent and water loving herb, which grows in ponds, tidal lands, and wetlands in tropical and semitropical areas. The flowers have 5 petals, are white or whitish-blue, and grow on short pedicels at the axils of the leaves The whole plant can be dried and used medicinally, or the aerial parts can be eaten fresh. Native to India & Sri Lanka, but now naturalized in the southern coasts of the U.S, & Australia, its growth habits can be a challenge for finding pure sources. Given its ability to thrive and absorb the moisture of its environment, Bacopa is notorious for also absorbing the pollutants of its environment, such as pesticides, microbes, and heavy metals.
Bacopa shares the common name Brahmi with another herb significant in Ayurvedic medicine, Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica). The term ‘brahmi’ originates from the Hindu god Brahma, which refers to the feminine aspect of Brahman. Brahman is the divine ‘essence of source from which all created things emanate, or with which they are identified and to which they return at the time of dissolution’ . Brahman is also referred to as the ‘cosmic consciousness’ , leading Bacopa to be associated with knowledge, learning, memory, and concentration*. Energetically, Bacopa is a cooling bitter that is thought to pacify all doshas (vata, pitta, & kapha), or constitutions in the Ayurvedic tradition. Some use Bacopa to increase concentration and devotion to support a spiritual practice, and it is believed that ancient scholars utilized Bacopa as a nootropic to memorize extensive hymns and scriptures.
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