Bacopa monnieri

Plant name:
Bacopa monnieri

Hawaiian Name: ‘AE’AE

Family: Scophulariaceae (Figwort family)

Status in Hawai’i: Indigenous

Where it grows in Hawai’i: Wetside

Part Used: Whole plant


  • Called brahmi in India, ‘ae’ae in Hawai’i, and otomeazene in Japan… most of its’ uses come to us from the indigenous medicine of India called “Ayurveda”. ‘Ae’ae is one of the most highly regarded plant medicines in the Ayurvedic tradition, having been used for the last 3000 years.

  • While having anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, sedative, antiepileptic, and analgesic properties, ‘Ae’ae is best known for use as a memory enhancer. Double blind studies confirm ‘ae’ae’s ability to enhance learning and memory. As a memory enhancer, ‘ae’ae can be combined with Ginko biloba, Centella asiatica (gotu kola / pohe kula) or ginseng.

  • Because the plant is known to modulate serotonin and acetylcholine levels in animals, some people believe that this explains its effectiveness in reducing anxiety.

  • Bacopa monnieri is an anti-oxidant that neutralizes free radicals in brain tissue. Thus it may prevent atherosclerosis by reducing plaque in the arteries.

  • Before writing was invented, the ancient Hindus had a remarkable oral tradition in which chants lasting days or even weeks were memorized. One of the reasons they were able to accomplish these feats of memory may be due to the use of ‘ae’ae.

  • The leaves are decocted for cough and rheumatism. Other uses include skin conditions, anemia, sprains, fractures, diabetes, hemorrhoids, and asthma. Used to increase fertility and prevent miscarriage, the Indian name “brahmi” means “creator” in Sanskrit. 

Cautions: Centella asiatica (gotu kola / pohe) is also sometimes called “brahmi” in India.