The Health Benefits of Brahmi Oil

This natural oil that may improve dandruff and other conditions

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 and is usually combined with sesame oil or coconut oil. Proponents claim that brahmi oil can treat certain health conditions, including alopecia areata, as well as improve hair and skin.

brahmi oil in a bottle
mirzamlk / Getty Images

Health Benefits

In Ayurvedic medicine, brahmi oil is thought to soothe pitta, one of the three doshas. In the Ayuervedic tradition, 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 use brahmi oil to help treat health problems including:

  • Alopecia areata
  • Anxiety
  • Dandruff 
  • Epilepsy

Brahmi oil is also thought to strengthen hair and promote hair growth.

But despite the long history of brahmi oil use, there is currently a lack of research supporting these benefits. There have been limited studies investigating the two primary ingredients of brahmi oil.

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.

Gotu Kola

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

It may also help improve poor circulation that can lead to varicose veins and other conditions. For example, 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 help the brain be better prepared to cope under stress.

However, more studies are needed to fully evaluate the role and efficacy of bacopa monnieri.

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, though you may experience itchiness and redness.

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. It does not need to be diluted in a carrier oil, though it can be and is often sold as such.

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 amount of brahmi oil per use.

What to Look For

Widely available for purchase online, brahmi oil is also sold in some natural-food 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, ashwagandha, and Panax ginseng may help temper the negative effects of chronic stress.

What are some other alternative remedies for improved hair health?
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 slow the premature graying of hair.

What are other ways to soothe pitta energy?
Some practitioners of Ayurveda recommend strategies such as consuming cooling foods (including cucumbers and melons), getting a massage, practicing stress management techniques, and using neem oil.

Certain yoga poses (including standing forward bends and inversions) are also said to calm pitta energy.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Saeidinia A, Keihanian F, Lashkari AP, et al. Partial-thickness burn wounds healing by topical treatment: A randomized controlled comparison between silver sulfadiazine and centiderm. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017;96(9):e6168. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000006168

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  6. Pazyar N, Yaghoobi R, Bagherani N, Kazerouni A. A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology. Int J Dermatol. 2013;52(7):784-90. doi:10.1111/j.1365-4632.2012.05654.x

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Additional Reading
  • Incandela L, Belcaro G, De sanctis MT, et al. Total triterpenic fraction of Centella asiatica in the treatment of venous hypertension: a clinical, prospective, randomized trial using a combined microcirculatory model. Angiology. 2001;52 Suppl 2:S61-7.

  • Saeidinia A, Keihanian F, Lashkari AP, et al. Partial-thickness burn wounds healing by topical treatment: a randomized controlled comparison between silver sulfadiazine and centiderm. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Mar;96(9):e6168. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000006168

  • Calabrese C, Gregory WL, Leo M, Kraemer D, Bone K, Oken B. "Effects of a standardized Bacopa monnieri extract on cognitive performance, anxiety, and depression in the elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial." J Altern Complement Med. 2008 14(6):707-13.
  • Chowdhuri DK, Parmar D, Kakkar P, Shukla R, Seth PK, Srimal RC. "Antistress effects of bacosides of Bacopa monnieri: modulation of Hsp70 expression, superoxide dismutase and cytochrome P450 activity in rat brain." Phytother Res. 2002 16(7):639-45.
  • Limpeanchob N, Jaipan S, Rattanakaruna S, Phrompittayarat W, Ingkaninan K. "Neuroprotective effect of Bacopa monnieri on beta-amyloid-induced cell death in primary cortical culture." J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 30;120(1):112-7.
  • Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, Nathan PJ. "The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects." Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 156(4):481-4.
  • Uabundit N, Wattanathorn J, Mucimapura S, Ingkaninan K. "Cognitive enhancement and neuroprotective effects of Bacopa monnieri in Alzheimer's disease model." J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 8;127(1):26-31.
  • Wattanathorn J, Mator L, Muchimapura S, Tongun T, Pasuriwong O, Piyawatkul N, Yimtae K, Sripanidkulchai B, Singkhoraard J. "Positive modulation of cognition and mood in the healthy elderly volunteer following the administration of Centella asiatica." Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2008 5;116(2):325-32.

By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.