Latin name:

(Linn.) Wettst., Herpestis monnieria (Linn.) H.B. & K.Scrophulariaceae

Sanskrit/Indian name: Brahmi, Nira-Brahmi


General information:

Thyme-Leaved Gratiola is a nervine tonic that enhances learning, academic performance and improves mental ability. It acts as an anti-anxiety agent and is used to treat several mental disorders. It also calms restlessness in children. Thyme-Leaved Gratiola is used as a nootropic, a drug that enhances cognitive ability.


Therapeutic constituents:

Principal Constituents, The herb contains the alkaloids brahmine, herpestine, and a mixture of three bases. It also contains the saponins, monnierin ; hersaponin, bacoside A and bacoside B. Other constituents present in the plant are D-mannitol, betulic acid, ß- sitosterol, stigmasterol and its esters, heptacosane, octacosane, nonacosane, triacontane, hentriacontane, dotriacontane, nicotine, 3-formyl-4-hydroxy-2H-pyran, luteolin and its 7-glucoside. The presence of a-alamine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, and serine is also reported1.

The herb contains the alkaloids brahmine, herpestine, and nicotine. Hersaponin is reported to have cardiotonic and sedative properties. These constituents work synergistically to render the herb its pharmacological properties.



The saponin, hersaponin, is reported to possess cardiotonic, sedative and spasmodic properties. It produced a mild inhibitory effect on the respiration of rat brain tissue which was partially reduced by LSD-25 and potentiated by 5-HT. It was also found, as in the case of reserpine, to deplete nor-adrenaline and 5-HT content of the rat brain. An alcoholic extract of the plant, in a dose of 50mg/kg, produced a tranquilizing effect on albino rats and dogs but the action was weaker than that produced by chlorpromazine. An ethanolic extract (50%) of the plant exhibited anticancer activity against the Walker carcinosarcoma 256 in rats. The administration of an aqueous suspension of an alcoholic extract (40mg/kg, p.o.) for three or more days is reported to improve the performance of rats in various learning situations2.


Key therapeutic benefits:

The entire plant constitutes the well-known drug Brahmi. It is astringent, bitter and cooling, and, is reported to improve the intellect. It is used in indigenous systems of medicine for the treatment of asthma, hoarseness, insanity, epilepsy and as a potent nerve tonic, cardiotonic and diuretic. A clinical report showed that this drug is an anti-anxiety agent having the adaptogenic effect. It exhibits a barbiturate hypnosis-potentiating effect in albino rats. The leaves are also used as a diuretic and aperient. Thyme-Leaved Gratiola improves mental ability.As an adaptogenic, it increases resistance to stress and trauma.The herb is also a nervine tonic, which is used in mental disorders and treats restlessness.


Used in  Fem Org



  1. Chopra  al., ibid, 1967, 5, 84; Chatterjii et. al., ibid, 1963, 1, 212; 1965, 3, 24; Sastry et. al., Indian J Pharm, 1959, 21, 303; Kulshreshtha & Rastogi, Phytochemistry, 1973, 12, 2074; Chandel et. al., ibid, 1977, 16, 141; Kawai & Shibata, ibid, 1978, 17, 287; Schulte et. al., ibid, 1972, 11, 2649; Brown & Chakravarti, Bull Calcutta Sch trop Med, 1963, 11, 57
  2. Malhotra & Das, Indian J med Res, 1959, 47, 294; Dhalla  al., ibid, 1961, 49, 781; Ganguly & Malhotra, ibid, 1967, 55, 473; Malhotra et. al., J Pharm Pharmacol, 1961,13, 447; Aithal & Sirsi, Indian J Pharm, 1961, 23, 2; Bhakuni et. al., Indian J exp Biol, 1969, 7, 261; Singh & Dhawan, J Ethnopharmacol, 1982, 5, 205