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Insufficient reliable information available. PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING

• Brahmi is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for several thousand years as a brain tonic, to enhance intellect, treat psychiatric illness, epilepsy, insomnia and as a mild sedative.

• Evidence of cognitive activator activity from animal models of learning is positive and clinical studies have produced generally encouraging results.

• Brahmi has potent antioxidant activity, which appears to be a result of both direct free-radical scavenging activity and increasing endogenous antioxidant systems in the brain and liver.

• Anticholinesterase, antidepressant, antiulcer, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activity has been demonstrated in animal studies. Elevated T4 levels have also been observed.

• Overall, large controlled studies are not available to determine the clinical significance of these effects.

ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will this herb do for me?

Brahmi has a long history of use as a brain tonic. Results from scientific studies suggest that it may enhance memory and cognitive function and reduce anxiety with long-term use.

When will it start to work?

Studies suggest that 12 weeks' continual use is required for benefits on cognitive function to become apparent.

Are there any safety issues?

Information from traditional sources suggests that brahmi is well tolerated at the usual therapeutic doses, but scientific investigation has yet to establish safety and whether drug interactions exist.

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