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. 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

Synonyms: Vatyalika, Vatya, Vatyayani, Vatyapushpi, Bhadraudani.

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 stem are yellowish green. Roots are strong. Leaves are heart shape, margins are serrated. Flowers are yellow in color and solitary. Fruits are moon shaped. Seeds are smooth and greyish 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 – group of sweet taste herbs.
Group of herbs used in Asthapana Basti (Decoction enema)
Sushruta Sahmita – Vatasamshana – group of herbs used to balance Vata.

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.

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.

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 diarrhoea 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 USA due to a very small content of ephedrine in it. Because ephedrine is associated with high blood pressure, heart attack, muscle disorders etc, 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.

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 of the 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 pacifier and to strengthens 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

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

  1. 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,,,,,

    • 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.

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

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

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

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

  10. 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

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

  12. 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.?

    • 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.


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