Since the time of Vedas, Brahmi, a perennial creeping plant (Bacopa monnieri) has been in use as a nerve tonic for rejuvenating mental health and for enhancing memory. This plant, found extensively in wet, marshy and damp areas, has been mentioned by ancient sages, medical men in almost all social, medical and religious treatises. Ayurveda, the ancient science of life has more than one reference of the plant for the enhancement of memory and mental agility of mankind. The famous Charaka Samhita written in the 1st century refers this plant for curing mental retardation leading to psychosis. Pharmacological properties of this plant have been clearly mentioned as having properties of cognitive enhancement and anxiolytic effect. The other treatise Sushruta Samhita makes this more explicit and describes Brahmi to be effective in memory loss.
Initially, CDRI's interests in Brahmi were prompted by its effect on learning and memory described in ancient Ayurvedic treatises. The early systematic studies carried out at the institute were very encouraging and therefore, it was taken up for detailed investigation of active plant component and pharmacological and other studies. Subsequently, it was decided to develop the plant as a herbal remedy. As a result, a quality herbal preparation has been developed from B. monnieri which has been standardised in terms of its bacosides contents.
During efficacy and safety studies in rodent and non-rodent models, the Brahmi extract was found safe and efficacious. Preclinical neuropharmacological studies demonstrate that both the standardised extract and bacosides improve short-term and intermediate memories, thus , improving the long-term memory. The bacosides also significantly enhance protein synthesis in those regions of the brain which are implicated in the memory formation, a possible explanation for its memory improving effect.
Double blind cross over clinical studies have been carried out in children, elderly persons and normal healthy volunteers. Studies carried out in normal healthy volunteers, elderly subjects with age associated memory impairment and children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have shown that the drug is safe, well tolerated, efficacious and devoid of any side effects. Study on children with ADHD has shown that the preparation , after 12 weeks of its use, significantly improves sentence repetition, logical memory and paired associate learning.
This standardised preparation has been licensed to M/s Lumen Marketing Company, Chennai,
who have recently launched the product under the brand name Keen Mind.