Bacopa Monniere - Papait, Brahmi or Waterhyssop
Bacopa Monniere - Waterhyssop
Having glossy green leaves, this creeping perennial plant prefers being in a sunny location in wet soil but tolerates part shade areas as well. And with the name giving the hint, waterhyssop is a water loving plant making this a good choice in water gardens and aquariums, with the later reminding me of a relative who has a water fountain outside his yard with waterhyssop. This small herbaceous plant can be found growing by the riverbanks, even in empty fields from my childhood memory as I tag along to my mom harvesting bacopa monniere growing wildly in an empty field where we lived in a farm in the Philippines.
The sleek green leaves are small, oval in shape with green stems that cascades down when planted in a pot. Waterhyssop flowers in a slender pedicel measuring about 1/2 inch. The tiny flowers have five petals that are white to light purple that only lasts for a day.
Young stems grow by the base of its succulent leaves measuring 4-6 mm, and branches out again once the stem matures.
Common Names for Bacopa Monniere
Jia fan lu
Herb of Grace
With my parents love of gardening, or papait as we call it is a garden favorite as it doesn't require much attention and caring. Living in a limited space isn't an excuse for not having one and that resulted to having container garden with the available space we have with bacopa monniere in pots. bacopa monniere
So how do you plant more waterhyssop or bacopa monniere? If you live in the province where it wildly grows, you are lucky. But if you want to have them around so you can harvest some whenever you feel like including them in your meal, soak papait stems in a glass of water and watch them grow roots and transplant them. Or just plant them directly on the soil through cuttings.
Growing bacopa monniere is easy that anyone can successfully grow more from cuttings. To grow more, take cuttings preferably those with roots and plant them to damp, fertile soil, covering the stems and pressing it lightly before watering. Place the pot in a shady place for the first couple of days. Introduce them to sunny area once they have adapted.
This year, I started growing more waterhyssop from five cuttings with roots. Watch video below for reference on how I did it. The first five cuttings already adapted to the new planter.
Trimming the plant means a fresh harvest for a healthy meal and one way to enjoy waterhyssop is eating it with fried or broiled fish, steamed with slices of tomatoes and fish sauce or with fermented fish called bagoong. Some prefers soy sauce with few drops of lemon juice and adding a little extra like diced green mango. Just a heads up though that waterhyssop tastes bitter.
Another way this plant is consumed is being stir fried with one's choice of veggies. It can be used as well as a substitute to bitter melon in the Filipino dish tinola, although these veggies are not the usual ingredient for the mentioned dish. A relative loves having bitter melon on tinola with either the leaves or fruits and my mom would substitute waterhyssop sometimes when we don't have enough greens to add. Papait can also be added to mung beans.
Despite the bitter taste, some people enjoys sauteed papait with tomatoes and ground meat.
Health Benefits and Uses
Bacopa monniere or water hyssop is used to treat anemia, worm infestation and even malaria.
The juice is used to sooth itchy skin, and herb is also used in Mali for inflammation and intestinal parasites.
Eating papait or sarsalida can help on lowering blood sugar level.
More Photos of Bacopa Monniere
Summer season means greener water hyssop and as these plants continously grow, they make a beautiful potted plant with tiny flowers. Having bacopa monniere, it withstands cold weather such as winter season in the 50's here in CA but without further growth. It is when the weather becomes warm in the spring season to early summer that this sun and water loving creeper shows growth once again, turning greener with new stems cascading down the pot as they grow.