Bala – Country Mallow -Sida Cordifolia – Uses, Side Effects

Sida cordifolia or Country mallow is known as Bala in Ayurveda. The word Bala refers to strength. This herb is used to increase strength of body. Bala is an ancient Ayurveda herb, used widely in a variety of Ayurveda medicines and oils to improve strength of bones, muscles and joints. Its botanical name is Sida cordifolia, of Malvaceae family (Karpasa kula). Some use Sida retusa also in the name of Bala.

Vernacular names, Sanskrit synonyms

Names in different languages:
English name – Country mallow
Hindi name – khirainti, Bariyara
Telugu name – Chittamutti, Mattavapulagam, Tela Antis
Malayalam name – kurunthotti –  കുറുന്തോട്ടി
Tamil name – Kurunthotti, Paniyar Tuttul, Paniyar Tutti
Kannada name – Hettuti
Punjabi name – Kharayati

Vatyalika – Herb grows in waste places
Vatya – Stem is having strong fibres
Vinaya – Promoting strength
Sitapaki – Fruits ripens in winter season
Pitapushpi – Flowers are yellow
Bhadraudani – seeds are resembling Cereals

Sanskrit synonyms: Vatya, Vatyalika, Vatyapushpi, Vatyayani, Bhadraudani, Samanga, Kharayashtika, Mahasamanga, Audanika,


Sida cordifolia is an erect shrub. The whole plant is covered with soft white hair.
The stems are yellowish green.
Roots are strong.
Leaves are heart shaped, margins are serrated.
Flowers are yellow in color and solitary.
Fruits are moon shaped.
Seeds are smooth and grayish black in color.

Classical categorization

Charaka Samhita –
Brihmaneeya (group of herbs used to improve strength and nourishment. )
Prajasthapana – Fetus health promoting group of herbs
Madhuraskanda – a group of sweet tasting herbs.
Group of herbs used in Asthapana Basti (Decoction enema)
Sushruta Sahmita – Vatasamshana – group of herbs used to balance Vata. Ni – Guduchyadi varga

Chemical constituents

It contains Ephedrine, hypaphorine, vasicinone, choline, betaine, phytosterol etc.
The roots are a very well known source of Beta sitosterols and well known for its Immuno-modulatory effects.


Many species of Sida are taken as sources for bala across the country. In Kerala usually Sida rhombifolia Linn. Var. retusa is a commonly accepted source. Even Sida acuta, is used as a substitute (or adulterated) for S. retusa. Rheede’s Hortus malabaricus mentions Sida rhombifolia Linn. ssp. retusa to be the source of Bala in Kerala. In northern parts of India the accepted source is Sida cordifolia.

According to Bha pr. Ni and Kaiyyadeva Nighantu There are 4 types.
1. Bala
2. Atibala
4. Mahabala

Medicinal qualities, Uses

Taste – Madhura – sweet
Guna (qualities) –guru (heavy to digest), snigdha (unctuousness, oiliness), Picchila (sticky)
Vipaka – taste conversion after digestion – madhura (sweet)
Veerya – Cold potency
Effect on Tridosha – Balances all the three Doshas, especially Vata.
Action – Balya, Grahi, vrisya, Ojo vardhaka, Brimhana, Cardio tonic
Therapeutic indications – Vatavyadhi, Karsya, Diuretic, Ksaya, Raktapitta, Vatarakta, Mutrakrchra

Sida cordifolia uses

Bala – Country mallow uses:
Snigdha (unctuous, oiliness)
Hima – Cold
svadu – sweet in taste
Vrushya – natural aphrodisiac
Balya  – tonic, improves strength
Tridoshanut – balances Tridosha – vata, Pitta and kapha
Raktapittahara – relieves bleeding disorders
Kshayahara – Relieves emaciation
Ojovardhaka – improves immunity
Sheetala – Coolant
Grahi – absorbent
Kantivardhaka – improves skin texture and glow
Vatasrahara – Relieves gout
Kshatahara – useful in injuries
Pitta Atisaranashani – relieves diarrhea of Pitta origin.

External application:
Its paste is prepared with water and applied externally to relieve joint pain, headache and inflammation.

बला सांग्राहिक बल्य वातहराणाम् – च. सू. २५
Of all the herbs having absorbent, strength promoting and Vata pacifying actions, Bala is the best.

Part used, Dose

Part used: Root
Dose: juice extract – 10 – 20 ml, in divided dose per day.
Powder – 3 – 6 grams in divided dose per day.
Decoction – Kashaya – 50 -100 ml in divided doses per day.

Sida cordifolia

Side effects

This herb is banned in the USA due to a very small content of ephedrine in it. Because ephedrine is associated with high blood pressure, heart attack, muscle disorders etc. the US FDA attributes all those side effects to this herb.
But it is just a myth. The ephedrine content in country mallow is very very low to bring about any such side effects even in a dose of 6 grams of this herb in a day.
It is safe to use during lactation and in children. Seek medical advice for its use during pregnancy.

Adverse effects

Bala is known as Indian Ephidra because it contains 0.8 – 1.2 % of Ephidrine. The continuous use of his product with Ephidrine can cause health hazards.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.


Antibacterial activity

Important Ayurvedic formulations

Bala Tel
Ksheerabala 101 Thailam – a famous herbal oil of Sida cordifolia, used in neurological conditions.
Balarishta – an Ayurvedic fermented preparation.

Sugandha Bala
Question: I read about Sugandha bala(Pavanonia odorata) oil and Bala(Sida Cordifolia) as vata pacifiers and to strengthen joints. I want to know whether Bala is heated up in some base oil(sesame or coconut) with aromatic ingredients and is called Sugandha bala?

Answer: Sugandha Bala is entirely different herb than Bala.  To prepare bala oil, bala root is processed (often along with milk) in sesame oil base.

Patanjali Bala Churan – manufactured by Patanjali Ayurved Limited.

Scientific classification

Kingdom – Plantae
Division –
Class –
Order –
Family –
Genus –
Species –  
S. cordifolia

Sthanika Karma (Systemic Action)

External use

Reduce pain and inflammation. External application is indicated in inflammatory wounds and in eye disorders

Internal administration-
Nervous system – Strengthen the nerves. pacifies vata dosha. indicated in facial palsy, paralysis, etc.
Digestive System – Absorbent. Indicated in malabsorption syndrome
Excretory System – Indicated in bed wetting
Circulatory system – Indicated in bleeding disorders, chest injury etc.
Reproductive system – Aphrodisiac, Garbhaposhaka (gives nourishment and promote fetal growth). Indicated in Sukrameha, Leukorrhea etc.
Tapakrama –Indicated in jvara
tvak – indicated in skin disorders
Satmikarana – Indicated in general debility, weakness etc. (ojo vardhaka)

35 comments on “Bala – Country Mallow -Sida Cordifolia – Uses, Side Effects

  • Radhakrishna Rao

    09/05/2014 - 1:25 am

    Any side effect from this herb… I read some internet content tells it gives nervousness n high bp. I bring this to your cocern because some racket to degrade our holy ayurvedic medicine. So pls clarify,,,,,

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      12/08/2014 - 9:15 pm

      Personally I have prescribed many formulations containing this herb to many patients with neuralgia, migraine, etc. But none have noted any side effects. This herb is banned in USA for its ephedrine content. But the ephidrine percentage is very very low in this. It is almost negligible.

      Reply to comment
  • Carolyn

    01/11/2014 - 5:48 pm

    Is it ok to use this herb while nursing? My daughter has narcolepsy and is having trouble staying awake

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      07/11/2014 - 8:17 pm

      It can be used while nursing.

      Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    30/07/2015 - 7:43 pm

    Hi, better not to use it in your seven month old. However, Ksheerabala taila massage oil can be used for your son for massage before bath.

    Reply to comment
  • sharan

    03/08/2015 - 4:26 pm

    Are there any side effects in using this for weight loss???

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      06/08/2015 - 11:02 am


      Reply to comment
      • sharan

        06/08/2015 - 11:53 am

        Can you let me know the process of using that product, means how I have to use that daily for losing weight

        Reply to comment
        • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

          02/09/2015 - 9:05 pm

          It is not commonly used for losing weight.

          Reply to comment
      • sharan

        08/08/2015 - 7:13 pm

        sir can u explain how to use this product

        Reply to comment
        • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

          03/09/2015 - 9:52 pm

          Its Kashayam, and oil – Ksheerabala oil is available for oral consumption.

          Reply to comment
  • Erika

    08/09/2015 - 2:34 am

    Hello Dr. Hebbar, Bala and Kasheerabala oils come from the same herb root “sida cordifolia”?

    Reply to comment
  • Erika

    08/09/2015 - 8:18 pm

    Thanks you very much, you are clarify my doubt. I will check the links you sent me. Blessing.

    Reply to comment
  • Harish

    28/10/2015 - 11:16 am

    Sir, Can ksheerbala capsules be taken along with cow’s ark. Please advise.


    Reply to comment
  • rupinder

    13/12/2015 - 8:04 pm

    is that helpful in treat ment of paralysis attack of paraplegia…………..

    Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    09/04/2016 - 10:43 pm

    Hi, Ksheerabala oil is useful. Please consult an Ayurveda doctor for right dose and method of taking.

    Reply to comment
  • shanbalakrishnan

    27/08/2016 - 8:46 pm

    sheerabal 101 and another balarishtam 101 are very powerful and immensly effective for many dieseases such as stomach intestineal coiling,nerve coiling, bulging of legs and hands etc.generally all diseases which from prolonged conditions like indigestion, constipation etc can be cured with this. the specialty is it has immediate effect.high fast acting. old aged persons should keep this at home and can be served twice in a week if there is not much problems or daily as prescribed by doctor.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      05/09/2016 - 9:16 pm

      Thanks for value addition. 🙂

      Reply to comment
  • Dr sushma

    23/11/2016 - 9:17 pm

    KBL (Ksheera Bala Taila) is one of the best medicine to alleviate vata doshas which mainly responsible, leading to many diseases such as neurological Conditions may be cervical, lumbar spondylitis etc

    Reply to comment
  • harsha vardhan

    13/04/2017 - 7:54 pm

    Can Bala powder be used in bathing powder?

    Reply to comment
  • shavinder pal singh

    03/05/2017 - 9:41 am

    some websites say bala is guru or heavy to digest. what is your opinion?

    Reply to comment
  • sharanya

    11/07/2017 - 10:30 am

    I have low digetion power and anxiety and body pain fatigue white tounge.I took balarishtam and is very helpful i get instant energy.But i get constipation.pls suggest any medicine to relieve constipation so that i can continue take long i can take it

    Reply to comment
  • Dhavan

    28/08/2017 - 12:47 am

    Can Bala thailam ( purchased from Kerala Ayurveda) be used for regular body massage to improve muscle and bone strength and reduce inflammation?

    Reply to comment
  • Dhavan

    28/08/2017 - 12:49 am

    Also can Bala thailam be applied to the hair / head massage or will it have any side effects? Please advice.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      31/08/2017 - 4:58 pm

      It can be used for head massage as well.

      Reply to comment
  • Shekhar Singh

    01/02/2018 - 12:25 pm

    Hello Sir
    Ksheerbala 101 or Dhanwantaram 101 – which one os better for vata related diseases. What is the difference between them in terms of effect. how long should these be taken? and lastly can both of these be taken? thanks

    Reply to comment
  • Vigneshwaran Rajendran

    21/02/2018 - 6:45 pm

    I need Bala root for child. But I don’t know the place to get. Kindly give me the address in Tamil Nadu

    Reply to comment
  • Athena

    12/06/2018 - 2:27 pm

    I am 32 weeks pregnant. I was advised to take milk boiled with dried roots of kurunthotti( bala) before bed for normal delivery. But after taking once I suffered insomnia and diarrhea. Can this be the side effects of Kurunthotti? Should I stop taking it.?

    Reply to comment
  • Misbah

    26/08/2020 - 1:22 pm

    Hello sir,
    You said you prescribe bala for migraine may I know how to use please

    Reply to comment
  • Varun N

    11/01/2021 - 11:11 pm

    Hello Doctor,

    Regarding the ephedrine content, you have said Bala is safe even when consumed 6 grams per day.

    I am curious about Ksheerabala 101, where Bala decotion is concentrated 100 times. Each capsule can contian upto 30grams of the herb.

    So is the ephedrine content in Ksheerabala 101 large enough to make it concerning??


    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      12/01/2021 - 4:43 pm

      During Ksheerabala 101, every time The bala decoction is added to the oil and heated and not the bala root itself. The amount of bala in a kashaya (decoction) will be much less, when compared to bala root.
      This puzzle will be solved if we do an ephedrine content test on market available sample.

      Reply to comment
  • VS Viswanaath

    24/03/2021 - 1:55 pm

    Dear Dr. the tamil name for this herb is “Kurunthotti” too. Kindly add to your site

    Reply to comment

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