The Health Benefits of Brahmi Oil

This oil mixture is traditionally used to support skin and hair health

In Ayurvedic medicine, both bacopa and gotu kola might be called brahmi. Ayurveda is a traditional Indian medical system. While both bacopa and gotu kola might be referred to as brahmi, these plants are not the same.

Bacopa is an herb from the figwort family, and its scientific name is Bacopa monnieri (B. monnieri). Gotu kola is a plant from the parsley family with the scientific name Centella asiatica (C. asiatica).

Although bacopa and gotu kola are different plants, both have active plant chemicals, like saponins. These plant substances are likely responsible for how brahmi oil works.

This article will cover more on what you should know about bacopa and gotu kola in brahmi oil, including its potential uses, side effects, and interactions.

brahmi oil in a bottle
mirzamlk / Getty Images

Unlike drugs, dietary supplements are not regulated in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement tested by a trusted third party, such as U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), ConsumerLab, or NSF.

However, even if supplements are third-party tested, they are not necessarily safe for all or effective in general. Therefore, talking to a healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and checking in about potential interactions with other supplements or medications is important.

Supplement Facts

  • Active ingredients (s): Bacopa and gotu kola, containing many active plant chemicals—like saponins
  • Alternative name(s) for bacopa: Bacopa, Bacopa monnieri, B. monnieri, Bacopa monniera, B. monniera, brahmi
  • Alternative name(s) for gotu kola: Gotu kola, Centella asiatica, C. asiatica, centella, hydrocotyle, Indian pennywort, luei gong gen, marsh pennywort, brahmi
  • Legal status: Legal in most U.S. states
  • Suggested dose: May vary according to the part of the plant, dosage form, and medical condition
  • Safety considerations: Possible side effects and medication interactions, as well as special considerations regarding its use in children, pregnant people, and breastfeeding people

Uses of Brahmi Oil

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.

Like many natural products, more extensive research is necessary. But people might use the bacopa and gotu kola–containing brahmi oil for various reasons, usually for cosmetic purposes relating to skin and hair health.

Blood Circulation

Gotu kola may have potential phlebotonic effects. This means that gotu kola might be able to tone the blood vessel walls in conditions such as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).

CVI is a medical condition that affects the valves in your legs. With this condition, your blood vessels have trouble circulating (moving) blood back toward your heart. So, you may have some swelling as the blood pools in your legs. People with CVI may also experience ulcers.

In one systematic review of multiple studies, phlebotonics—like gotu kola—slightly relieved swelling compared to a placebo (a substance without medication). But gotu kola didn't seem to heal any ulcers. Still, by reducing swelling, it's possible that gotu kola in brahmi oil may cause skin to appear tighter.

Because most of the studies reviewed were short-term studies, however, well-designed clinical trials with longer-term data in a larger group of people remain necessary.

Wound Healing

A small skin-related clinical trial compared gotu kola to silver sulfadiazine (SSD), a topical antimicrobial cream, in study participants with burn wounds. In this study, gotu kola was in an ointment dosage form called Centiderm.

Results from this clinical trial suggest that Centiderm may benefit people with burn wounds. But this study only tested burn wounds that covered less than 10% of the total body surface area (TBSA) and appeared only on the limbs (arms or legs). Moreover, the burn wounds were only 48 hours old or less.

In another small study, herbal creams—like gotu kola—didn't seem to prevent or delay radiodermatitis, a skin reaction to or side effect of radiation treatments. The study participants received radiation in this clinical trial as part of their breast cancer treatment.

These studies garnered mixed results. Larger and better-designed studies are needed to assess gotu kola's potential effects on healing damaged skin.

Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

For bacopa, a meta-analysis analyzed a collection of studies to assess bacopa's effects on people with Alzheimer's disease (AD).

While this article's main focus was on AD, it mentioned a study that looked into a bacopa-containing herbal mixture's effects on inflammation (swelling) and oxidative stress. In general, oxidative stress is a condition in which there aren't enough naturally occurring antioxidants in your body to attack agents known as free radicals. Free radicals are substances that can damage body systems, like DNA, which carries genetic material.

From this study, it is difficult to determine if bacopa was directly responsible for the results. But findings suggest that the herbal mixture led to fewer markers (substances in the blood) that point to inflammation and oxidative stress. These effects happened in people with AD and without AD.

Although this may seem unrelated, inflammation and oxidative stress can be linked to skin and hair issues. So, by decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress, it's possible that bacopa in brahmi oil can help relieve skin and hair problems.

Although these results were positive, additional high-quality, extensive research is necessary. These future clinical trials should also assess the effects of each component (ingredient) in the herbal mixture.

What Are the Side Effects of Brahmi Oil?

While there is little information about brahmi oil's side effects, data do exist on  the side effects of bacopa and gotu individually.

Common Side Effects

For bacopa, common side effects are:

Side effects of gotu kola are rare, but the following may result at higher doses:

Since brahmi oil often is used on the skin and hair, skin-related reactions from bacopa and gotu kola are more likely than these systemic (throughout the body) side effects.

Severe Side Effects

There is little information on the safety of bacopa and gotu kola. But referring to the meta-analysis mentioned earlier, no serious side effects were seen with bacopa.

However, potentially severe side effects for bacopa or gotu kola may include the following:

Severe allergic reaction: A severe allergic reaction can occur with any medication. Symptoms can include breathing difficulties, swollen airways, itchiness, and rash.

Metal toxicity: According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), some Ayurvedic products may have toxic amounts of metals, such as lead and mercury.

The NCCIH referred to a survey that showed high blood levels of lead in 40% of people using Ayurvedic products—with some also having high levels of mercury. Moreover, this survey showed that nearly 25% of Ayurvedic products tested high for lead, and roughly 50% tested high for mercury.

Arsenic poisoning: While rare, according to the NCCIH, arsenic poisoning is possible with Ayurvedic products.

Call 911 and get medical help immediately if you're having a severe allergic reaction or any of your symptoms feel life-threatening.


A healthcare provider may advise against using brahmi oil if any of the following applies to you:

Allergic reaction: Avoid if you are allergic to brahmi oil or its components (ingredients or parts).

Pregnancy or breastfeeding: There are likely no bacopa or gotu kola product labels for pregnant or breastfeeding people. Moreover, there is little information about the effects and safety of bacopa and gotu kola while pregnant or breastfeeding. For this reason, reach out to a healthcare provider to discuss the benefits and risks before taking brahmi oil.

Children: There are likely no bacopa product labels for infants, but there are a few for children. One article found few, if any, side effects of bacopa in children and teenagers. If there were side effects, they were mild and temporary. But in these studies, bacopa was combined with other herbs.

As for gotu kola, most product labels are for adults—not infants or children.

In general, Ayurvedic products can contain high levels of toxic substances. Have a conversation with a healthcare provider if you're considering bacopa for your child, discussing the risk of lead or arsenic exposure.

Adults over 65: While older adults participated in some clinical trials, additional, extensive research is necessary. Moreover, some older adults may have a higher likelihood of side effects from medications. For this reason, use brahmi oil with caution.

Dosage: How Much Should I Use Brahmi Oil?

Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage are appropriate for your individual needs.

There is limited information about dosages for brahmi oil. For this reason, there are no guidelines on the appropriate dosage of brahmi oil for any condition.

If you choose to use brahmi oil, follow a healthcare provider's recommendations or the product label instructions.

What Happens If I Use Too Much Brahmi Oil?

There is limited information about brahmi oil toxicity and overdoses in humans. Symptoms of overdoses with brahmi are likely similar to bacopa's and gotu kola's potential common and serious side effects but much more severe.

Depending on the specific formulation, brahmi oil may contain additional ingredients. What's more, Ayurvedic products have been found to contain high levels of toxic substances. So, toxicity or poisoning from these substances is also possible.

If you suspect you're experiencing life-threatening side effects, seek immediate medical attention.


There is little information about potential medication interactions with brahmi oil. If you use it just on your skin and hair, however, interactions are less likely.

The following is some information about possible interactions for bacopa and gotu kola as separate ingredients.

It is essential to carefully read a supplement's ingredients list and nutrition facts panel to learn which ingredients are present and how much of each ingredient is included. Please review this supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications. 

Bacopa Interactions

Use caution when taking bacopa with the following medications:

Alzheimer's disease (AD) medications: Bacopa may have effects on memory and brain function. For this reason, bacopa might interact with other medications that have effects on these functions, including having additive effects (compounded effects of taking two similar drugs together) with AD medications such as Aricept (donepezil). This can raise the likelihood of side effects.

Anticholinergic medications: Acetylcholine is a naturally occurring substance in your body. In people with AD, there is a low level of acetylcholine.

Anticholinergic medications—like Ditropan XL (oxybutynin) for overactive bladder (OAB)—might make this problem worse and work against AD medications. Since bacopa may help improve AD symptoms, anticholinergic medications might also work against bacopa.

Anti-inflammatory medications: Bacopa may have some effect on inflammation (swelling). For this reason, bacopa might interact with other medications that have effects on inflammation. For example, bacopa might have additive effects with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as Advil (ibuprofen).

Mood medications: Bacopa might have some effect on mood. For this reason, when used with other mood-altering medication such as antidepressants, additive effects may result, increasing the risk of adverse effects.

Gotu Kola Interactions

Use caution when taking gotu kola with the following medications:

Cholesterol medications: Gotu kola may change cholesterol levels. For this reason, talk to your healthcare provider before using gotu kola if you take cholesterol medications such as Lipitor (atorvastatin).

Diabetes medications: Gotu kola might lower blood glucose (sugar) levels. For this reason, gotu kola may have additive effects with diabetes medications, like insulin or metformin. Symptoms of low blood sugar include sweating, tremors, and excessive tiredness.

Diuretics (water pills): Gotu kola may help you eliminate excess water through your urine. But combining gotu kola with water pills—like Lasix (furosemide)—may result in too much water loss. This can lead to abnormal levels of different electrolytes (salts) in your body.

Medications with potential effects on the liver: Using gotu kola might result in liver damage. This is more likely if you combine gotu kola and other medications that have similar side effects. For this reason, you may want to avoid high doses of Tylenol (acetaminophen) when taking gotu kola.

Sleep-inducing medications: Gotu kola may have slowing effects on the brain. Medications with similar effects include medications that relieve anxiety symptoms and sleep problems. But combining gotu kola with these medications may increase the likelihood of side effects. Examples of these medications are Valium (diazepam) and Ambien (zolpidem).

How to Store Brahmi Oil

Since storage instructions may vary for different natural products, read the directions and packaging label on the container carefully. Keep your medications tightly closed and out of the reach and sight of children and pets, ideally locked in a cabinet or closet. Store in a cool, dry place.

Discard after one year or as indicated on the packaging. Avoid putting unused and expired medicines down the drain or in the toilet. Visit the FDA website to learn where and how to discard of unused and expired medicines. You may also find disposal boxes in your area. Or, ask a pharmacist or healthcare provider how to dispose of your medications or supplements.

Similar Supplements

People may use brahmi oil for various reasons, but usually for cosmetic purposes relating to skin and hair health. Other, potentially similar supplements include:

Amla oil: Based on a small study, results suggest that an amla-containing formulation might help with hair growth and hair thickness. It may also help reduce thinning hair. But more studies are needed.

Bhringraj: A rat study compared a topical (on the skin) version of bhringraj to Rogaine (minoxidil). The results suggested bhringraj may help promote hair growth. But human studies are needed to draw a firm conclusion.

Fish oil: Some evidence supports using fish oil for psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition.

Grape seed extract: People may use grape seed extract for several reasons, like to tone blood vessels in CVI. This effect might reduce swelling and make the skin appear tighter. But the evidence supporting grape seed extract for CVI isn't strong.

Tea tree oil: According to the NCCIH, tea tree oil might help relieve acne symptoms. But there isn't enough evidence to draw any conclusions.

In general, don't combine multiple natural products until you first talk with a healthcare provider or pharmacist. Checking in can help you avoid possible interactions and side effects and ensure you're giving these supplements a fair trial at appropriate doses.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the most common dosage form of brahmi oil?

    Brahmi oil is likely only available in a liquid oil form.

  • Is brahmi oil available from manufacturers in the United States?

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) dietary supplement label database does not list any brahmi products manufactured in the United States. Check the label to see where your product is made.

    The label will also indicate whether the brahmi oil product was tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLab, or NSF. Every brahmi oil product contains different ingredients. So, buying products tested by a trusted third party can give you confidence about what's in your product.

  • How do I use brahmi oil safely?

    In general, to safely use natural products—like brahmi oil—inform a healthcare provider and pharmacist about all medications you take. This includes over-the-counter (OTC), herbal, natural medications, and supplements.
    Doing so can help prevent possible interactions and side effects. Your provider can also ensure you’re giving brahmi oil a good trial at appropriate doses.

Sources of Brahmi Oil & What to Look For

There are several different sources of bacopa and gotu kola that are in brahmi oil.

Food Sources of Bacopa and Gotu Kola

Bacopa is naturally available as an herb. You may also find bacopa in the following items:

  • Biscuits
  • Cereals
  • Drinks, such as tea
  • Jellies
  • Syrups

Gotu kola is naturally available as a plant from the parsley family. Gotu kola juice can be added to milk. This plant can also be cooked in fat (e.g., butter).

Brahmi Oil Supplements

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) dietary supplement label database lists no brahmi oil products manufactured in the United States.

Brahmi oil is likely available only in liquid oil form. Every product, however, is different and some may have additional ingredients to bacopa or gotu kola. So, each product might work a little differently. The best product for you will depend on your preference and what you hope to get in terms of effects. Following a healthcare provider's recommendations or label directions is important.


In Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional Indian medical system, "brahmi" is a term associated with both bacopa and gotu kola. And while both bacopa and gotu kola are referred to as brahmi, they're different plants with varying potentials.

Brahmi oil has cosmetic value and is used for skin and hair health. But similar to many medications and natural products, side effects and medication interactions are possible. There is also very little data on brahmi oil. So, high-quality clinical trials remain necessary to assess the effectiveness and safety of brahmi oil.

Before using brahmi oil, be sure to consult with a pharmacist or healthcare provideron safety and effectiveness.

29 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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Additional Reading
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By Ross Phan, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP, BCPS
Ross is a writer for Verywell with years of experience practicing pharmacy in various settings. She is also a board-certified clinical pharmacist and the founder of Off Script Consults.