The Health Benefits of Brahmi Oil

A Natural Oil That May Improve Dandruff and Other Conditions

woman scratching her scalp with fingers
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Brahmi oil is a natural substance used in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. Typically massaged into the scalp, it is made from extracts of the herbs bacopa monnieri or gotu kola (usually combined with sesame oil or coconut oil). Proponents claim that brahmi oil can treat certain health conditions, as well as improve hair and skin.

Health Benefits

In Ayurvedic medicine, brahmi oil is thought to soothe pitta, one of the three doshas. Knowing your dosha can help you understand what activities, foods, and lifestyle elements can support and nurture your health and what can cause imbalance.

According to the principles of Ayurveda, excess pitta can contribute to inflammation, difficulty sleeping, skin problems, gastrointestinal disorders, and stress-related issues such as high blood pressure.

Some consumers use brahmi oil is to help treat health problems including:

  • Alopecia areata
  • Anxiety
  • Dandruff 
  • Epilepsy

Brahmi oil is also thought to strengthen hair and promote hair growth. Despite the long history of brahmi oil use, however, there is currently a lack of research supporting these benefits.

There have been limited studies investigating the two primary ingredients of brahmi oil.

Gotu Kola

Clinical research has shown that applying a gotu kola cream improves burn healing burns by about seven days compared to traditional treatments. The cream also helps to reduce dryness, itching, irritation, and scar severity.

It may also help to improve poor circulation that can lead to varicose veins and other conditions. Several studies have found that taking gotu kola orally for up to eight weeks may improve measures of circulation and decrease symptoms such as edema in patients with venous insufficiency.

Bacopa Monnieri

Several studies have shown that bacopa may help preserve memory and enhance cognitive function. There are also studies suggesting that bacopa may help alter the activity of certain enzymes involved in the stress response, suggesting that bacopa could allow the brain to be prepared to cope under stress. However, more studies are needed to fully evaluate the role of bacopa monnieri in providing these benefits.

Possible Side Effects

Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of using brahmi oil on the skin, including the scalp. Used topically, gotu kola is probably safe for most people for up to 12 months. However, you may experience itchiness and redness when using this herbal ingredient.

Also, keep in mind that the safety of natural products (including brahmi oil) has not been evaluated in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions.

Dosage and Preparation

Brahmi oil is generally massaged into the skin or the scalp. Some people use the oil in a diffuser or apply a few drops to a warm bath. Brahmi oil is not meant for oral consumption so it should not be used in food or taken internally.

There is not enough evidence to establish a recommended dose of brahmi oil.

What to Look For

Widely available for purchase online, brahmi oil is also sold in some natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in self-care products.

When choosing a brahmi oil, some experts advise that you look for an organic oil base (such as organic coconut oil or organic sesame oil) produced without the use of harmful chemicals. Store brahmi oil away from sunlight to extend the life of the product.

Common Questions

Are there any alternatives to brahmi oil for stress or sleeplessness?

A number of natural remedies may offer health effects similar to the purported benefits of brahmi oil. For example, herbs like valerian and kava may help alleviate anxiety and promote healthy sleep, while such herbs as rhodiola, ashwaghanda, and Panax ginseng may help shield the body from the negative effects of chronic stress.

What are the best Ayurvedic alternatives for improved hair health?

Remedies like tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and biotin may help treat dandruff.

Another popular ayurvedic remedy said to improve and strengthen hair is amla oil. While research on amla oil's health effects is lacking, practitioners of Ayurveda suggest that it can help condition the hair, treat dry scalp, promote hair growth, and retard prematurely graying hair.

What are other ways to soothe pitta energy?

Some practitioners of Ayurveda recommend strategies such as consuming cooling foods (including cucumbers and melons), undergoing a massage, practicing stress management techniques, and using neem oil. Additionally, certain yoga poses (including standing forward bends and inversions) are said to calm pitta energy.

A Word From Verywell

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend brahmi oil as a treatment for any condition. It's important to note that self-treating a serious health condition with brahmi oil may have harmful consequences. If you're considering the use of brahmi, make sure to consult your physician first.

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