Bacopa Monnieri, also commonly known as Brahmi or pennywort, is the latest craze amongst health conscious naturopaths who are interested in giving their memories an all natural boost. Recently, an Australian study determined that a daily dose of this aquatic plant can significantly improve your brain function and relieve your anxiety. In fact, people in South and Southeast Asia have been using Bacopa as a brain booster for hundreds of years. The plant is just starting to gain traction in the United States. You can find Bacopa supplements in pill form online or at health food stores, but you'll get more bang for your buck if you buy your Bacopa fresh. Look for fresh Bacopa at health food stores, Asian markets, and farmer's markets. Just make sure that you're buying the right herb, since the name "pennywort" is used for several different plants.
Bacopa is a bitter, leafy green that is perfectly safe to eat fresh. You can use it as a substitute for any other bitter green, like arugula or escarole, or you can make your very own, traditional Burmese Bacopa salad at home. Just wash and chop a bunch of fresh Bacopa leaves. Toss them with freshly squeezed lime juice, garlic turmeric oil, toasted sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, fish sauce, dried shrimp, and chili. You can adjust all of the ingredients to suit your own tastes. This salad pairs exceptionally well with grilled fish or chicken.
Believe it or not, Bacopa is also rumored to promote the growth of strong, healthy hair when applied topically. In India, both men and women rub Bacopa oil into their hair or scalps on a regular basis. You can buy Bacopa oil at some Indo-Pak groceries, or you can make your own supply in your kitchen. Just deep fry two cups of Bacopa stems and leaves in two cups of coconut oil until the Bacopa is nice and crispy. Scoop out and discard the crispy Bacopa, and mix a pinch of camphor into the hot oil. Cool the oil and store it in your refrigerator. You can expect the coconut oil to solidify into a paste which is easy to massage into your hair and scalp. Just make sure that no one ingests the oil, since camphor should not be eaten. If you don't like the scent of camphor, you can substitute a few drops of any scented oil in this recipe.
You can buy cans of pennywort tea, soda, and juice at any Asian supermarket, but these drinks are usually chock full of sugar or artificial sweeteners. If you can get your hands on fresh Bacopa, it's easy to make your own Bacopa sweet tea at home. Just boil four cups of chopped Bacopa leaves in four cups of water. Add two tablespoons of lime juice, one to two tablespoons of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Cool the mix in your refrigerator and serve over ice. Of course, you can adjust the amount of lime juice and sugar in your recipe and you can even substitute honey for the sugar.