Spatial Mapping of Ethno Medicinal Knowledge with Specific Reference to Bacopa monnieri (L.) Pennell in India

Sainuddin, Kakkara, Vasundharan, Parambath, Rajan, and Raghunathan: Spatial Mapping of Ethno Medicinal Knowledge with Specific Reference to Bacopa monnieri (L.) Pennell in India




Primordial literatures in India have cited the potential uses of medicinal plants to treat various human ailments. Traditional knowledge associated with herbal medicine is considered as the basis of all systems of traditional remedies in India. Most of the medicinal plants of India are extensively used in the preparation of Ayurvedic, traditional and tribal systems of medicine. Bacopa monnieri is a highly valuable creeping herb belongs to Scorphulariaceae family. It is widely distributed in the wet and marshy lands throughout India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, and Hawaii.[1] The herb has been mentioned in several ancient Ayurvedic treatises including the Charaka Samhita since sixth century AD. The plant is recommended for curing different mental disorders including anxiety, poor cognition and lack of concentration, as a diuretic and as an energizer for the nervous systems. B. monnieri is locally known as Brahmi[2] in India. The widespread distribution across different habitat, it is often recognized by different names in different regions and languages. Brahmi is a small creeping perennial with numerous branches and small, oblong, relatively thick leaves which are arranged opposite to each other on the stem.[3] The present study introduces a GIS based method to collect and analyze available information reported on ethno medicinal uses and distribution of B. monnieri in India.[4] Compilation of traditional knowledge database and integrating with GIS will be easy to store and accessible for quick analysis. However, the potential application of GIS in traditional knowledge mapping of B. monnieri has been under explored in India. In view of the wide spread utilization of B. monnieri by various ethnic groups this study is an effort to compile the available information reported on its ethno botanical uses with the aid of GIS.

Materials and methods


The present study was carried out by collecting the primary data on ethno medicinal uses of B. monnieri from internet through Google search engine facility by means of specific search word as “B. monnieri”. The literatures includes articles published by government and non-governmental agencies, publishing houses of national and international scientific journals etc. The information relating to region, vernacular name, ethno-groups, parts used and types of uses were extracted from each article and compiled it together. Later the ethno botanical uses of B. monnieri among various indigenous communities in India were geo- tagged on a Quantum GIS 2.1.0 ‘Pisa’ (Q.GIS) platform. The database created during this study was converted as kml file and for data visualization it was integrated with Google Earth.

Results and discussion


Mapping of traditional knowledge of B. monnieri (Figure 2 and 3) in India has compiled the diversified ethno botanical utility of the species. Utilization of different plant parts such as leaves, stem, tender shoot, fruits, roots and whole plant of B. monnieri are reported for more than thirty ailments by communities in different regions of India. In addition to this it is also used for culinary and cosmetics purposes. Table 1 summarizes the ethno medicinal uses of B. monnieri practiced by various ethno groups reported from different regions of India. Hundred and twenty one communities inhabits in fifty three localities identify B. monnieri by twenty two different vernacular names. The present study intends to bring together all the available information on ethno botanical uses of B. monnieri in single platform. Documentation helps to protect such valuable traditional knowledge from endangerment and Biopiracy.[5] Figure 1 depicts the distribution status of B. monnieri in different parts of India.

Table 1.

Ethnic medicinal uses of Bacopa monnieri by various indigenous communities in India

SNState/RegionStudy RegionLocal NameEthnic groupsParts UsedType of Uses
1Andhra PradeshRayalaseemaBrahmiYanadis, Chenchus, Irulas, Yerukalas, Sugalis, Koyas, Reddi Dhoras, Konda Kapu, Kattunayaka, Manne Dora and GodabasWhole plantNeurotonic[6]
2Andhra PradeshPolavaram forest areaBrahmiKonda Reddy and KoyaWhole plantAsthma[7]
3Andhra PradeshSriharikotaBrahmiYanadiLeaves, whole plantWhole plant as diuretic, leaves use to get relief from urinary problems’[8]
4Andhra PradeshSiddeswarm sacred groovesNeerisam braniaku, BrahmiYanadisWhole plantPowder is given for nervous debility and as brain tonic’[9]
5AssamBajali sub-divisionBrahmiKalita, Koch, Boro, Kosari, Rajbonshi, Nath, BrahminAll parts of plant, leaf juiceAll parts of plant is used as blood purifier, leaf juice is used as memory booster’[10]
6AssamUpper AssamBrahmiAhomLeaves and stem juiceBlood purifier’[11]
7AssamNalbari districtBrahmiWhole plantEpilepsy, asthma, ulcers, tumors, ascites, enlarged spleen, indigestion, inflammations, leprosy, anemia and biliousness’[12]
8AssamBaksa districtThiphu, BramhiBobo, Rabha, GaroTender shootLeaf and shoot as vegetable and extract taken to treat liver complaints’[13]
9AssamSonitpur districtBrahmiMishingWhole plantBrain tonic[14]
10AssamKaziranga national parkBhahmiMishingWhole plantTonic for nerves, mental diseases, and brain tonic; leaf juice is given to infants in bronchitis; leaves used as vegetables’[15]
11AssamKamrup districtBrahmi haag/Bami-belaiBoro, Rajbonghi, Khoronia Kochari and NepaliWhole plantDiabetics’[16]
12ChhattisgarhDurgBrahmi-sakWhole plantNerve tonic, asthma, snake bite[17]
13ChhattisgarhJashpur districtBrahmiKanwarLeavesLeaves are eaten as vegetable’[18]
14ChhattisgarhDeogudi sacred grove, Bastar districtBrahmiGond, Murias, Halba and MariaLeavesFever[19]
15Chhattisgarh, Madhya PradeshAchanakmar Amarkantak biosphere reserveBramhiBaigaLeaves, fruits & stemHair growth’[20]
16Himachal PradeshBhattiyatBramiGaddis, GujjarRoot, shootBilious disorders, chronic and acute liver disorders associated with hepatomegaly’[21]
17Himachal PradeshChambaBrahmiGaddis, GujjarLeavesNervous tiredness’[22]
18Jammu & KashmirManjakoteJal-neemGujjar ft BakerwalLeavesStomachache’[23]
19Jammu & KashmirJammu provinceJal-neemGujjars, Bakerwals, Gaddis, Sipis and PaharisWhole plantPoor production of milk in cows[24]
20Jharkha ndHazaribagBrahmi-sakLocal inhabitantsWhole plantNerve tonic, asthma, snake bite[25]
21Jharkha ndWildlife Sanctuary Topchanchi, DhanbadBrahmiMunda, Santhal, Oraon, Kharia, Gond, Kol, Kanwar, ft SavarLeavesSkin diseases’[26]
22KeralaNoolpuzhaBrahmiMullu kurumaWhole plantAsthma, epilepsy[27]
23KeralaMalappuram districtBrahmiKattunaikkansWhole plantEpilepsy’[28]
24KeralaAttappadyBrahmiIrular, Mudugar, Kurumbar and DhodugarLeaves, stemEnhance memory’[29]
25Madhya PradeshNimar RegionBrammiKol, Karku, Sahaiya, Baiga, Bhil, Bhilala, Barela, Tadvi, Banjara, Grond, Korku and MankarLeavesMemory[30]
26Madhya PradeshBadwani DistrictBramhiGond, Bhaiga, Korku, Bhil, Halba, Kaul, PawaraLeavesTo cure back-ache after delivery[31]
27Madhya PradeshHoshangabad and Sehore districtsBrahmiBhil, Bhilala, Gond and KorkuWhole plantJaundice[32]
28Madhya PradeshBalaghat DistrictBrahmi Gond and BaigaWhole plantTo increase sexual power[33]
29Madhya Pradesh ChhattisgarhAchanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve (AABR),BrahmiBaiga, Gond, Bharia, Bhils, Oraon, Kol, Kanwar and UikeyLeavesEpilepsy’[34]
30MaharashtraMula river valley region of Ahmednagar district.BrahmiBaragaon, Nandur, Daradgaon, Chikhalthana, Sakur, GhargaonWhole plantBone fracture, improvement of mental functions, promotes memory and urinary disorders, diuretic, blood purifier and laxative’[35]
31MaharashtraMarathwadaBrahmiAndh, Bhil, Pardhi, ThakarLeavesTo prevent hairfall’[36]
32MaharashtraArmori, Wadsa, Kurkheda, Korchi forest range of Gadchiroli DistrictBhramimarrhGond and MadiyaWhole plantEpilepsy, fever, Brain Tonic, rheumatism, Diarrhea, Abdominal diseases’[37]
33MaharashtraPurandhar districtBramhiDhangars and GowlisLeavesMenstrual disorder[38]
34MaharashtraNundurbar, Dhule and Jalgaon district.BrahmmiBhills, Garits, Kokanis, Mavschis, Valvis, PawrasLeavesTo cure nephrotoxicity/ kidney problems[39]
35MaharashtraKanher and Mahadare Reservoir from Satara district,Nir BrahmiKetkadi, Bhoi, Mahadev Koli, Pradhan, Tambat and BhavsarWhole plantAstringent, bitter used in digestive, antinflammatory, cardiotonic, epilepsy, leprosy, lephantiasis, fever and general debility condition’[40]
36MaharashtraAmba-barwa wild life sanctuaryBrahmiBhil,Bhilala, Nihal, Tadvi BhilWhole plantPlant extract on skin itching[41]
37OdishaKhurdaBramhiSavarasLeavesAgainst malaria[42]
38OdishaSouth OdishaBrahmiBhumia, Bonda, Dangaria Kandha, Didayi, Gadaba, Kandha, Koya, Kuti Kandha, Langia-Saura, Paika, Paraja, Sabara, SauraYoung shootsAs vegetable’[43]
39OdishaJaipur DistrictBraahmiKolha, Munda, Bonda and SantalLeavesMemory power, to treat chickenpox[44]
40Tamil NaduKolli hillsNeerbramiMalayali tribalsWhole plantPaste of the whole plant applied
41Tamil NaduPalamalaiNeer brammiMalayali tribalsWhole plantexternally for dog bite’[45] Memory power’[46]
42Tamil NaduServarayan hillsNiirbrahmiMalayali tribalsWhole plantEpilepsy, memory power, mental disorder, nervous weakness’[47]
43TelanganaPocharam Wildlife SanctuaryBrahmiYerukalas and the LambadisWhole plantCooling effect, tonic’[48]
44TripuraKanchanpur, Gandacherra, Baramura, Twidu, Amarpur, KarbookBramhiTripuri, Jamatia, Halam, Santhal and nontribal community.LeafJaundice’[49]
45UttarakhandDehradun, Haridwar, Pauri and Udham Singh NagarNiirbrahmi/BrahmiGujjarLeavesEpilepsy’[50]
46UttarakhandHaridwar, Dehradun and Pauri.Nir-brihmi/BarmiGujjarWhole plantWhole plant crushed and applied externally on eczema’[51]
47UttarakhandTehri GarhwalPan-BrahmiGujjars and BhotiyasLeavesTo cure flatulence in children’[52]
48Uttarpr adeshAligarh, Bulandshahr, Budaun, FarrukhabadBrahmiLocal peopleWhole plantSpermatorrhoea’[53]
49West BengalHili, Panjul, Dhalpara, Jamalpur and BinsiraBrahmiSanthals, Oraon and MundaWhole plantNerve tonic, asthma, insanity, diuretic, tranquilizer’[54]
50West BengalMaldah districtBramhiSantal, Oraon, MalpahariasTender shootVegetable’[55]
51West BengalBamangola blockBrahmi-saagSanthal, Oraon, Munda, Baskey, and HembramYoung ShootGreen vegetable’[56]
52West BengalPaschim Medinipur districtBrahmiLodhaWhole plantGonorrohea’[57]
53West BengalBirbhum DistrBrahmisak, BarambSantal, Kora and OraoWhole plantImprovement of intelligence ft memory, youthful vitality’[58]
Figure 1.

Reported distribution status of Bacopa monnieri in different regions in India
Figure 2.

Traditional Knowledge Mapping of Bacopa monnieri in India
Figure 3.

Pop up of Noolpuzha (Table 1: SN 22)



The present study provides a new vista for ethno botanical studies. Traditional knowledge mapping associated with B. monnieri in India has provided geospatial information on the distribution of B. monnieri which will be useful for effective conservation of the plant species.


Authors are highly grateful to Prof. Gopinath, Director, IIITM-K for continuous encouragement support towards successful completion of the study.


[1] Supported by SOURCE OF SUPPORT



[2] Conflicts of interest CONFLICT OF INTEREST

None declared


None declared Faseela VS did literature survey and data acquisition from various sources. Athira K contributed to GIS based analysis and design. Saroj KV contributed to conceptualization of the topic and manuscript editng. Sooraj NP contributed to GIS based analysis. Sajeev CR contributed to data analysis and GIS based analysis. Dr. Jaisanker R contributed to intellectual content and design.



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